Girls swimming has a deep history in the local area, particularly in the city of Bristol, meaning there are plenty of names to choose from when picking the most memorable area talents of all time.
As we continue our series of the best local teams and athletes of all time in every sport, girls swimming presents a great challenge in plucking from the many qualified athletes that have a case. We’ve narrowed it down to 10 swimmers and five divers, and here they are:
OLIVIA DEGROFF, BERLIN, 2016
One of the most dominant swimmers in Redcoats history, DeGroff set school records in the 100 breaststroke, 200 individual medley, 200 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay. A team captain as a senior, DeGroff earned three All-State nods during her unforgettable high school career, and was named all-conference all four years of her tenure.
DeGroff went on to compete at the University of Delaware after her time at Berlin, and was a conference champion in the 100 butterfly as a freshman. She just completed her collegiate career.
KIM HYLAN, ST. PAUL, 2016
Hylan was a force in the pool for the Falcons from the minute she arrived at the school, earning All-State honors all four years, as well as All-NVL nods. Hylan was at her best in freestyle and backstroke competition, and won the 200 freestyle at the NVL championships during her high school tenure.
She went on to swim at Sacred Heart, where she was a member of the 800 freestyle relay team that set a school record.
TAYLOR FRIEDMANN, BERLIN, 2009
Friedmann was All-State in the 100 butterfly when she was just a sophomore, and continued to improve from there, earning All-State honors in the 200 freestyle the following season and was All-State in the 200 and 500 freestyle events as a senior.
Friedmann was also a State Open champion and continued her swimming career at CCSU, where she won three events at the NEC championships, and picked up gold in the 500 freestyle again as a sophomore.
FAITH MARTIN, ST. PAUL, 2011
One of the best to ever do it in the local area, Martin was All-State and All-American all four years of her high school career. A CHSCA Swimmer of the Year three different times, Martin set school records in seven different events, and set eight state individual and relay records during her incredible career.
Martin never lost in the regular season from 2008 to 2011, and went on to swim at Harvard.
MOLLY MARTIN, NEWINGTON, 2010
One of the most accomplished swimmers in Newington history, Martin was all-conference all four years of her career with the Indians, and was All-State in breastsroke. She went on to compete at CCSU after her high school career.
Martin was also all-conference and All-State in lacrosse during her senior season at Newington.
MEGHAN SISSON, PLAINVILLE, 2007
Sisson was an All-State swimmer in the 500 freestyle as a senior, capping a successful high school career before moving on to swim at Springfield College. There, Sisson was a part of two conference championship teams, and went on to be a graduate assistant coach with the team after graduating in 2012.
STEPHANIE NIMAN, BRISTOL EASTERN, 2011
Niman was a four-time all-conference winner during her time with the Lancers, and was named All-State in the 50 freestyle in 2010. Named team MVP all four years of her high school tenure, Niman went on to swim at Roger Williams University, where she broke the school record in the 500 freestyle during her sophomore season and was named All-New England in four events. She would continue her sparkling collegiate career with a conference championship and was part of the 400 and 800 freestyle relay teams that broke the school record during her senior season.
DANIELLE ROCHELEAU, NEWINGTON, 2015
It’s hard to find an area swimmer as dominant as Rocheleau was during her time with the Indians. She was All-State all four years of her high school career, and set school records in eight of 11 swimming events, six of those records being in individual competition. She went on to compete at the University of Vermont, where she was named all-conference in the 200 backstroke and the 200 freestyle relay, the latter winning a conference championship in 2018.
LILLY MARTIN, ST. PAUL, 2014
Like her sister Faith, Martin was dominant during her time at St. Paul, earning All-State and all-conference honors while helping set school records in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. She continued her career at Southern Connecticut State University, where she helped the 400 medley relay team win conference championships three years in a row.
MEEGAN MARTIN, BRISTOL CENTRAL
Part of the Martin family tree that has dominated swimming in Bristol, Martin set numerous school records with the Rams, and was named All-American three years in a row. Martin went on to swim at the University of Miami and Texas A&M. After her college career, she became a legendary coach in the city before her passing last year.
Now let’s take a look at the top divers in area history:
KRISTY DOUGAN, SOUTHINGTON, 2007
Dougan arguably made her biggest mark on Southington High School in gymnastics, but her pedigree on the diving board cannot be overlooked. Dougan set the school record for 6 dives and 1 dives, was an All-American in 2006, and a two-time All-State selection.
Dougan won two State Open championships in 2005 and 2006, and was a Class LL champ in 2005. She won three straight all-conference nods through the final three years of her high school career, all while winning three State Open and five New England titles in gymnastics.
TAYLOR DICHELLO, BRISTOL EASTERN, 2013
You may notice DiChello on your televisions when you tune in to Fox 61, but before, that, she was dominating on the diving board with the Lancers, enough so that she went on to compete for Boston University, which led her to participate in diving competitions in Europe.
ZOE DICHELLO, BRISTOL EASTERN, 2018
DiChello set school records in six-dive and 11-dive events, and capped her career with a third-place finish at the Class L diving championships in 2017.
ALINA WHITESHIDE, BERLIN, 2019
After an injury derailed her gymnastics career, Whiteside moved to the diving board and was superb, placing third at the Class S state championships as a junior and placed in the top 25 at the State Open.
Whiteside earned all-conference honors for her diving efforts, and is now competing in diving at Union College.
ALYSSA MILLS, PLAINVILLE, 2011
Mills ended her Blue Devils career in style, breaking the school’s diving record that stood for 27 years, while winning the Class S state championships. Plainville’s only athlete to compete in the State Open her senior year, Mills placed seventh to cap off a high school career that wasn’t short on personal accolades.