The Darien Blue Wave had more than two weeks off since their last dual meet and then, just to spice things up a bit, they squared off against a strong New Canaan team in their return to the pool.
Pressure, anxiety, a challenge — call it what you will. It didn’t seem to faze Darien.
The Blue Wave picked up eight event wins and rolled to a 95.5-85.5 victory over rival New Canaan Wednesday afternoon at the Darien YMCA. It was a stunning performance, as the Wave led by 35 points before swimming the last two races as exhibitions.
As far as head coach Marj Trifone was concerned, this was the meet when everyone on her team hit their stride.
“We swam really well,” Trifone said. “We pulled it together as a team. I swam around a little bit in some events and we had to count on a good, strong group of freshman, who really had a great meet and pulled through. I told them just worry about places not times today, and race, and we all just came together as a team. It’s the first meet that everyone really hit the bell on.”
Darien had terrific performances up and down the lineup, with six individuals and one relay team striking gold.
Freshman Kelly Dolce was a double-winner, finishing first in the 200 freestyle and the 100 freestyle.
The Wave (4-1) also had wins from senior co-captain Cassie Maroney in the 100 butterfly, juniors Lexi Punishill in the 50 freestyle, and Julia Servas in diving, and freshman Kaitlyn Holmes in the 200 individual medley.
Sophomore Kendall Luecke won the 500 freestyle in 5:28.05 as part of a Wave sweep of the top three places in that event. Freshman Maggie Sedlak was second (5:33.52), and senior Caroline Haddad was third (5:35.83).
New Canaan (4-2) picked up two victories, with sophomore Alex Pastushan winning the 100 backstroke (1:00.10), and the 200 freestyle relay team of Skylar Mascarinas, senior co-captain Solo Marynovych, senior Alex Yee, and sophomore Maddie Haley winning in 1:44.48.
The Rams were competitive throughout and while they didn’t get the meet victory, head coach Kat Munson was happy with many of their times.
“Having a meet that is this competitive in the middle of the season is hard because you’ve got to get up and race tired,” Munson said. “While it isn’t ideal to lose, I was really happy with the times the girls swam, with how broken down they are right now. We’re didn’t back off at all in this meet and we’re not backing off at all going into Greenwich (on Friday). I told the girls you’ve got to learn to get up and swim tired.”
The Wave had a 9-7 edge when Wednesday’s swimming began, after the Darien divers took first, fourth and fifth in their competition on Tuesday at the New Canaan YMCA.
Servas was first for Darien, followed by New Canaan’s Charlotte Frank and Olivia Quinn in second and third, respectively. Wave divers Lana Schmidt and Emma Hunter took the next two spots to put Darien ahead.
Darien then opened Wednesday’s swimming with a victory in the 200 medley relay, as senior co-captain Lauren Picard, Holmes, sophomore Emily Fischer and senior co-captain Kelsey Vrooman won in 1:53.33.
For the Rams, Pastushan, freshman Kate Hunter, sophomore Alex Mehos and senior Nicole Vanderlee were less than a second behind, finishing in 1:54.32 to take second place.
The pool area was loud, as members of the Darien football team were in attendance to cheer on the Wave swimmers. Add in the fact that the meet was a rivalry clash, and was being carried live by the Darien Athletic Foundation, and there was some intensity in the air.
“There’s a little more anxiety with this meet,” Trifone said. “It was the first time in was video taped in my 20 year career, so that was a big thing, and then the football team was here, so there was a little more excitement on the deck. That all adds to the atmosphere because swimming is off site and we don’t usually get as many spectators. So this was a nice environment.”
Dolce won the 200 freestyle in 1:56,72, with Haley, picking up the first of her two second-place finishes with a time of 1:57.65.
Holmes (2:13.17) and Darien senior co-captain Cassie Maroney (2:17.20) went one-two for the Wave in the 200 individual medley, with junior Sophia Yee (2:21.90) leading New Canaan in third place.
Punishill (25.40) won the 50 freestyle, with Ram senior Nicole Vanderlee (25.67) close behind in second place, and Darien’s Vrooman (26.55) third.
Maroney (1:00.72) was first in the 100 butterfly, with New Canaan junior Alex Mehos (1:01.05) second; and in the 100 freestyle, Dolce (54.83) was the winner, with New Canaan’s Haley and Darien’s Punishill tied for second at 55.57.
The Wave then swept the 500 freestyle race to essentially put the meet out of reach for the Rams.
The competition doesn’t ease up anytime soon for the Wave, which will face Wilton on Tuesday and is just a few weeks away from the postseason.
“We had great swims across the board for the most part, so it was good. I wasn’t expecting the
places that we got in some places, but they all rose to the occasion,” Trifone said. “We’re at a point in the season where we feel tired, but we’re swimming well and still enthusiastic. I feel good about that.”
Darien 95.5, New Canaan 85.5
Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Darien YMCA
200 Medley Relay
1 – Darien (Lauren Picard, Kaitlyn Holmes, Emily Fischer, Kelsey Vrooman), 1:53.33
2 – New Canaan (Alex Pastushan, Kate Hunter, Alex Mehos, Nicole Vanderlee), 1:54.32
3 – Darien (Mae Unlacke, Jennifer Chen, Hope Murray, Kelsey Olvany), 1:56.70
1 – Kelly Dolce (D), 1:56.72
2 – Maddie Haley (NC), 1:57.65
3 – Kendall Luecke (D), 2:02.30
4 – Maggie Sedlak (D), 2:02.54
5 – Alex Pastushan (NC), 2:02.74
200 Individual Medley
1 – Kaitlyn Holmes (D), 2:13.17
2 – Cassie Maroney (D), 2:17.20
3 – Sophia Yee (NC), 2:21.09
4 – Alex Mehos (NC), 2:21.80
5 – Gracie Spataro (D), 2:23.84
1 – Lexi Punishill (D), 25.40
2 – Nicole Vanderlee (NC), 25.67
3 – Kelsey Vrooman (D), 26.55
4t – Alex Yee (NC), 26.68
4t – Skylar Mascarinas (NC), 26.68
Diving (Held Tues., Oct, 10, at the New Canaan YMCA)
1 – Julia Servas (D), 261.05
2 – Charlotte Frank (NC)
3 – Olivia Quinn (NC)
4 – Lana Schmidt (D), 226.25
5 – Emma Hunter (D), 219.50
1 – Cassie Maroney (D), 1:00.72
2 – Alex Mehos (NC), 1:01.05
3 – Emily Fischer (D), 1:01.92
4 – Bridget Haley (NC), 1:04.33
5 – Gracie Spataro (D), 1:04.50
1 – Kelly Dolce (D), 54.73
2t – Lexi Punishill (D), 55.57
2t – Maddie Haley (NC), 55.57
4 – Alex Yee (NC), 58.33
5 – Sloane Latimer (D), 58.57
1 – Kendall Luecke (D), 5:28.05
2 – Maggie Sedlak (D), 5:33.52
3 – Caroline Haddad (D), 5:35.83
4 – Alexa Carillo (NC), 5:41.20
5 – Tyler Liffman (NC), 5:43.12
200 Freestyle Relay
1 – New Canaan (Skylar Mascarinas, Solo Marynovych, Alex Yee, Maddie Haley), 1:44.48
2 – Darien (Emily Fischer, Hope Murray, Sloane Latimer, Maggie Sedlak), 1:48.37
3 – Darien (Jennifer Chen, Kelsey Olvany, Caroline Haddad, Kendall Luecke), 1:48.82
1 – Alex Pastushan (NC), 1:00.10
2 – Lauren Picard (D), 1:03.73
3 – Cathy Steinberg (NC), 1:04.38
4 – Olivia Golden (D), 1:05.04
5 – Audrey Adl (NC), 1:08.30
1 – Kaitlyn Holmes (D), 1:09.57
2 – Jennifer Chen (D), 1:11.81
3 – Nicole Vanderlee (NC), 1:12.04
4 – Emma Mansourian (D), 1:14.92
5 – Kate Hunter (NC), 1:15.99
400 Freestyle Relay
1 – Darien (Lexi Punishill, Cassie Maroney, Kaitlyn Holmes, Kelly Dolce), 3:41.98
2 – New Canaan (Maddie Haley, Alex Mehos, Alex Pastushan, Nicole Vanderlee), 3:45.04
3 – Darien (Maggie Sedlak, Sloane Latimer, Kelsey Vrooman, Kendall Luecke), 3:55.89