Comeback falls short for Newington girls swimming in loss to Bristol Central

Published on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 22:34
Written by DAN ORENCOLE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL - In a back and forth meet between Bristol Central and Newington’s girls swim teams, the win was up for grabs and the last event would determine it all, the 400 freestyle relay.

With the crowd roaring and swimmers from each team hovering over the pool, it was the Rams’ team of Camille Attle, Mackenzie Pina, Sophia Gomez and Ailey Driscoll that took that final event, giving Bristol Central the 95-90 victory.

“When you feel all the stress of your teammates relying on you, it’s so much better and you can hear everyone,” Bristol Central freestyle swimmer Mackenzie Pina said. “You can’t hear them in any event except the relays.”

Newington was down, but had slowly been cutting its deficit against Bristol Central. Trailing 60-49 earlier on, the Indians brought the score within three points going into the final relay, 87-84.

“It was a very close meet and it came down to that final relay,” Newington coach Crystal Connery said. “We actually split our relay to try and tack on some more points, but Bristol came away with that first swim. It was the closest meet we had this season.”

Bristol Central was especially impressive in diving, led by Meghan Curtis. Another top diver for the Rams is Erin Petke. She was given the chance to compete in a different event as well against Newington.

“It was my first time swimming a 100 since last year,” Petke said. “It was really exciting to beat them by like 0.5 seconds.”

For the Indians, Amber Rocheleau finished first in the 200 IM and the 200 butterfly. Lindsey Weaver finished first in the 500 freestyle. Newington finished in first in the 200 freestyle relay with Gabriela Targonska, Talitha Featherstone-Alston, Lindsey Weaver and Gabby Aquino swimming.

Bristol Central received first place finishes in the 200 medley relay from Curtis, Driscoll, Mackenzie Pina and Attle. Driscoll finished first in the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Mackenzie Pina finished first in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Petke was first in diving and Curtis in the 100 backstroke.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” Bristol Central head coach Adrienne Bentley said. “I was sitting there looking at numbers saying, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ They’ve got some really good swimmers and just an all around good team.”

For both teams, the ending was exciting and the competitiveness shown by each group should bode well for the two the rest of the year.

“It’s a rush,” Weaver said. “I did the longest event, but it’s over before you know it. You want to do well not only for yourself, but for your team. Even if you don’t do well, your team is there to support you, so it’s very communal.”

With the win against a team the caliber of the Indians, the Rams are feeling good about their chances for the upcoming season.

“It’s very different from last year,” Petke said. “A different group of people, so it will be exciting to see what we can do.”

Newington will look to get better after coming out on the wrong end of the score sheet.

“It’s a learning experience,” Aquino said. “Anything we don’t do well in we use to push it as a learning experience and work hard in practice.”

The mutual respect both programs and coaches have for each other made the ending that much more intense.

“We didn’t expect to beat them,” Mackenzie Pina said. “We just hoped to, and that’s why it was so exciting.”

“They’ve got really strong divers, which is something we’re developing and looking to build in our own program,” Connery said.

Dan Orencole can be reached at  or  On Twitter: @OrencoleDan



Posted in New Britain Herald, General Sports, Newington on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 22:34. Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2017 22:36.