After two decades, with 15 state championships and 14 conference titles under her belt, Darien High girls swim and dive coach Marj Trifone knows potential — and that is exactly what she sees in her latest young, yet talented team.
Darien enters this coming season having lost 12 seniors from a squad that finished 6-3 overall and runner-up in states. But with the wealth of young swimmers in the pipeline, Trifone sees the Wave definitely keeping pace with the likes of powerhouses New Canaan, Wilton and Cheshire.
“We have a young team, but we have good swimmers coming up,” said Trifone, a three-time FCIAC Coach of the Year, a two-time Connecticut High School Coach of the Year and now a member of the FCIAC Hall of Fame. “If they buy in and work hard, considering the talent and depth, this team will definitely be in the mix. The goal is to be there in the end, to have that chance to win the title.”
By “buying in,” Trifone means that high school swimming is more about the competitions than individual times — as these young swimmers can become accustomed with other swim programs. The high school team is all about working together, realizing that each swimmer’s placement means points that lead to victory as a team.
“These swimmers come in driven, they work hard, and that’s always in my favor,” said Trifone. “But we have to get them to buy in to the fact this is a team. That falls on my six seniors to lead them. It will be a tough job, but I feel they are up to the task.”
Darien will be led by four senior captains — Rachel Stobbie (sprinter), Lauren Picard (back), Cassie Maroney (sprinter in the 50 and 100) and Kelsey Vrooman (top 25 in the fly at the State Open) — as well as fellow seniors Jennifer Chen (breast) and Caroline Haddad (500 free).
Trifone also expects solid results from sophomores Kendall Luecke and Kelsey Olvany (breast, free) and juniors Emma Mansourian (100 breast), Lexi Punishill (sprinter), Halle Spataro (500 free) and Julia Servas (diving).
The 31-swimmer squad also features nine freshmen, highlighted, according to Trifone, by Caitlin Holmes, Kelly Dolce, Gracie Spataro and Maggie Sedlak.
“In order to be in the mix, everyone has to swim fast, we obviously need everyone to improve, meet after meet,” said Trifone. “And it has to be a team effort. We have a positive outlook, good leadership. I think that will lead to a great season.”