Strong freshman classes are leading the teams for the 2017 girls swimming and diving season. Despite the experienced seniors, all teams are seeing big numbers from first-year students.
Southington High School looks for another season of success. Last year, the Lady Knights continued their success in the pool with a record of 8-2.
Just like the year prior, three school records were broken. Junior Olivia Fournier broke her own record in the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. She was part of the 200 free relay team with Julia Mularczyk, Kerry Buchanan, and Hannah Olsen that broke the school record.
The Knights enjoyed four conference championship titles, advanced to the Class LL state finals in eight events and further advanced three events to the State Open.
Hoping that the large freshman class will do their job, the Berlin Redcoats will have to fill the void of all-conference diver Hannah Lavio and all-conference swimmer Stephanie Humen.
Newington has welcomed Crystal Connery as its new head coach and she is looking forward to another winning season. Last year the Indians finished 6-5 in the regular season.
Here is a closer look at the local teams:
Head coach: Mike Cwirka (2nd season)
Last year: 4-6
Key losses: Hannah Lavoie, Stephanie Humen
Key returnees: Kailey Lacasse (senior), Gabby Pattavina (junior), Nadia Humen (junior), McKenna Evans (junior), Alina Whiteside (junior)
Outlook: “We have a large freshmen class that joined us this year with a lot of room and potential to grow over the next four years,” Cwirka said.
Newcomers to watch include Kelly Chmielewski, Madeline Palmese, Julia Raynock and Sadie Boye. The Redcoats will have to deal with the loss of all-conference diver Hannah Lavio and all-conference swimmer Stephanie Humen.
With the returning swimmers and new freshmen, the Redcoats have a very balanced team with lots of potential, although they must also deal with the loss of their top diver, Lauren Acey.
Head coach: Evan Tuttle (9th season)
Last year: 8-2, 3-2 conference
Key losses: Julianna Ferreri, Julia Mularczyk, Madison Osakowicz, Jess Piotrowski, Sam Sagnella, Kerry Buchanan, Katie Estell, Evelyn Holbrook, Hannah Olsen
Key returnees: Olivia Fournier (senior), Cheyanne Young (senior), Patrycja Zajac (senior), Jess Monte (senior), Gina Calo (senior), Kara Zazzarro (senior), Julie Duszak (junior)
Outlook: The Blue Knights will be led by a strong, veteran senior class. At the head of the pack are captains Olivia Fournier, Cheyanne Young, Patrycja Zajac, Jess Monte and Gina Calo. Returning to the pool this year is school record holder Kara Zazzarro. Also joining the fall team from the winter boys’ squad is Julie Duszak. They will be joined by a strong freshman core of Maddie Symecko, Meghan Hammarlund, Andie Nadeau, Kayla-Thanh Nguyen and Adessa Noyes.
“We will work tirelessly day in and day out to improve, and will not settle for less than our best,” Tuttle said.
The Lady Knights look to qualify as many athletes as possible into the postseason and make another push for the State Open.
Head coach: Crystal Connery (1st season)
Last year: 6-5
Key loss: Lindsey Mangiofico
Key returnees: Amber Rocheleau (sophomore), Julia Mazur (junior) and Maddie Jordan (sophomore)
Outlook: The Indians are looking forward to a successful season with personal best times as well as school record breaking times.
The Indians have a strong younger class who will lead the team for the next couple years. Sophomore Amber Rocheleau placed fifth in the State Open in the 200 IM and 12th in the 100 butterfly last year. Newington is also returning key junior Julia Mazur for the 500 freestyle and 100 butterfly and sophomore Maddie Jordan for the 100 breaststroke.
Freshman Sarah Nadratowski is expected to make key contributions in the freestyle events as well as the 100 breaststroke, while freshman Gabby Targonska is expected to make key contributions in the 100 backstroke.
Head coach: Chris Zagorski (5th season)
Last year: 2-9
Key losses: Audrey Gediman, Caitlin Erb, Lauren Acey
Key returnees: Lydia Weinberg (junior), Phoebe Gediman (sophomore) and Bella Bantz (senior)
Outlook: Plainville struggled last season with the loss of its senior class. The Blue Devils should be competitive in more meets this year.
Like last year, the Blue Devils lost quite a bit of talent in their graduating class, especially in their highest state finisher, Lauren Acey, who held down the top diving position for the past couple of years.
The Blue Devils have some strong incoming freshman, including Bella Samperi and Olivia Unwin, as well as other swimmers new to the team who have the potential to grow in the sport.
Head coach Chris Zagorski is excited to see how they look as the dual meet season gets into full swing.