PREVIEW: Area girls swim teams lost plenty of top swimmers, but still have much talent returning

Published on Sunday, 8 September 2019 21:06
Written by RYAN CHICHESTER

@ryanchichester1

Four area girls swimming and diving teams are getting ready to jump back in the pool for the new season, and there is plenty of top talent to be replaced across the board.

The 2018 season saw seniors compete in the State Open and set school records, and the teammates that watched their success will look to replicate it this season.

Despite the departing talent, all four local teams boast potential impact swimmers and divers that will compete at the state level this fall.

Here is a closer look at each of the teams.

BERLIN

Head coach: Andrea Gallo

Last year: 6-6

Key losses: Alina Whiteside, Nadia Humen

Key returnee: Kelly Chmielewski (junior)

Outlook: The Redcoats will feel their greatest loss on the diving board this year, with Alina Whiteside graduating following a third straight all-conference campaign and a sixth-place finish at the Class S meet, which helped Berlin finish 11th overall.

Kelly Chmielewski will be an impact swimmer for the Redcoats following an all-conference season and a ninth-place finish in the 100-meter backstroke at the Class S meet as a sophomore last season.

Berlin should be in good hands this season with a number of underclassmen like Chmielewski that competed at the state level last season, including Julia Raynock and Kaitlyn Nielsen.

NEWINGTON

Head coach: Crystal Connery (3rd season)

Last year: 5-4

Key loss: Julia Mazur (distance freestyle)

Key returnees: Amber Rocheleau (senior), Lindsay Weaver (senior), Sarah Nadratowski (junior), Gabriela Targonska (junior), Erin Abrams (sophomore), Christine Nguyen (sophomore)

Newcomer to watch: Julia Remiszewski (freshman)

Outlook: The Indians appear poised for another winning season with the returns of all-conference winners in Amber Rocheleau (200-meter freestyle) and Lindsay Weaver (100-meter butterfly).

Head coach Crystal Connery is excited for continued growth in her third season at the helm, and she has the personnel to pull it off.

Rocheleau, also a part of the 400-meter freestyle relay team that broke the school record last season, will be looking to take down multiple individual records as well, including besting the two she already holds.

Sarah Nadratowski, Lindsay Weaver and Christine Nguyen made up the rest of the Redcoats’ record-breaking team, and they will look to compete at the state level individually this season as well.

SOUTHINGTON

Head coach: Evan Tuttle (11th season)

Last year: 8-2

Key losses: Julia Duszak, Julia Hollan, Abby Lo Presti, Lidia Prusak

Key returnees: Gianna Perugini, Hannah Lasbury, Sarah Meade, Anny Moquete-Volquez, Kelly Bergland, Meghan Hammarlund, Maddie Symecko, Andie Nadeau.

Outlook: Julie Duszak represents a devastating loss for the Blue Knights, as the former team captain is a school record holder and was a finalist in last year’s State Open.

However, State Open finalists Meghan Hammarlund, Maddie Symecko, Gianna Perugini and Andie Nadeau will do their best to fill the void, and given how much team success the group had last year (including six conference champions and seven all-conference selections), the new season will likely bring more wins in the pool.

Head coach Evan Tuttle watched his group break six school records last year, and he isn’t expecting anything less from this year’s team. Tuttle is hoping for another push at the State Open and another big splash on the postseason stage.

PLAINVILLE

Head coach: Chris Zagorski

Last year: 5-5

Key losses: Morgan Rogers, Lydia Weinberg,

Key returnees: Emma Miller, Isabella Samperi

Outlook: It will be awfully tough for the Blue Devils to replace Morgan Rogers, who finished in the top 10 at the Class S meet in two difference events, including a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke.

Rogers, now a swimmer at Fairfield University, leaves a big hole for Plainville to fill, and that hole increases with the departure of all-conference swimmer Lydia Weinberg, who was a finalist in four events at last year’s Class S meet.

The Blue Devils do return a pair of all-conference winners in Emma Miller and Isabella Samperi, who were teamed up with Rogers and Weinberg on Plainville’s medley relay team that finished first in CCC South competition. They will look to carry over that success this year, only this time in the leadership role after learning from Rogers and Weinberg in 2018.

Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or rchichester@newbritainherald.com



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, Newington, Plainville, Southington on Sunday, 8 September 2019 21:06. Updated: Sunday, 8 September 2019 21:08.