Ridgefield claims first State Open girls swim championship

NEW HAVEN — The known factor for the Ridgefield girls swimming and diving team at the start of the season was talent. How far that could take the team was the unknown.

Now, the Tigers rule the Connecticut swimming jungle.

Ridgefield won four events, set a new state relay record and amassed 478 points to capture the first CIAC State Open championship in program history Sunday at Yale’s Kiphuth Pool.


The victory gave the Tigers a postseason trifecta, as they followed an unbeaten dual meet season with FCIAC, Class LL and Open titles.

“If someone had told me this at the beginning of the year, I wouldn't have believed them,” Ridgefield coach Paul Marchese said. “It still feels weird, but it’s nice to know that it’s finally over and we did exactly what we needed to do.”

“(Assistant coach) Ronnie (Vaughan) and I are super-proud of them and they’ve worked really hard for this.”

The Tigers are winning now, and are built for the future as well, with a large group of sophomores and freshmen and a few more elite swimmers on the way up.

Two of those sophomores gave Ridgefield individual wins. Lily Archibald’s time of 54.57 seconds won the 100-yard butterfly, and Riley McGerald’s time of 1:05.76 won the 100 breaststroke.

Archibald, Madeline Muncy, Bridget Kelly and Keira Giles, all sophomores, won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:35.48, breaking their own state record of 1:35.62, which they set at the Class LL meet.

“It’s super-exciting,” Archibald said. “We’ve all worked really hard for this and every single one of us deserves this. We make each other better.”

“We just all just work together as a team,” McGerald said. “And we pulled through today and at every other meet we’ve had.”

Darien, the Class L champ and FCIAC runner-up, finished second at the Open with 388.5 points, followed by Cheshire (342), Glastonbury (320) and Staples (303) in the top five.

For the Wave, which was also unbeaten in dual meets, it was both a learning experience and a good-bye for a solid corps of seniors.

Darien’s team of senior Margaret Erickson, junior Miller Ward, and seniors Emily Kalvaitis and Natalia Ferranto won the 200 medley relay, the leadoff event, in 1:47.04.

“It’s a very great senior group,” Darien coach Marj Trifone said. “But we didn’t have a lot of experience, so you learn from all of these meets. This meet is a hard meet to swim in. It was hard to go up against at team that was undefeated, won the states and of course they wanted the triple crown and they went for it.”

Staples’ sophomore Annam Olasewere continued to tear apart the record books, setting a pair of State Open marks in freestyles.

She won the 200 freestyle in 1:48.20, breaking the old mark of 1:48.53, set by Daniel Hand’s Kristen Frost in 2005.

Olasewere then swam 50.07 to win the 100 freestyle, breaking her own Open record of 50.21 set last season.

Cheshire junior Julia Barto was a double champion, winning the 200 individual medley (2:03.05) and the 100 backstroke (56.57) to lead the SCC champion Rams to third place.

Bacon Academy freshman Riley Anderson won the 50 freestyle (23.07); and Hall senior Meghan Tiernan won the 500 freestyle (4:58.17).

With the final team standings already decided, the Tigers put the exclamation point on the championship when Archibald, Kelly, freshman Ava Ward and Giles closed the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay (3:28.56).

When Ridgefield’s championship was announced, the swimmers leapt into the pool, followed by their coaches.

Marchese had belly-flopped into the pool at the FCIAC meet, so how did the Open leap compare?

“I think this one was special,” McGerald said with a smile, while Archibald added “It was much better.”


“You always hope that you’ll do well and you do the best that you can. The team and the sportsmanship and the respect between all of them really grew this to the maximum potential for them. The most important thing for us is that they’re having fun. With having fun, the energy is always there and that’s why they swim fast.” - Ridgefield coach Paul Marchese


at Kiphuth Pool, Yale

Team Scores: 1. Ridgefield 478; 2. Darien 388.5; 3. Cheshire 342; 4. Glastonbury 320; 5. Staples 303; 6. Greenwich 281; 7. Seymour 222.5; 8. Amity 213; 9. Ludlowe 177; 10. Wilton 176; 11. Westhill-Stam. 166; 12. Hall 158; 13. New Canaan 153; 14. Weston 143; 15. Wethersfield 133; 16. Southington 126; 17. Fitch/Ston/NL 120; 18. Conard 110; 19. Pomperaug 105; 20. Guilford 99; 21. Newtown 93; 22. St. Joseph 91; 23. Bethel-Immaculate 81; 24. Bacon Academy 78; 25. Woodland Reg. 76; 26. North Haven 57; 26. Trumbull 57; 28. Lauralton Hall 56.5; 29. Joel Barlow 56; 30. Lyman Hall 51; 31. Farmington 48; 32. Brookfield 43; 33. Maloney-Platt 41; 34. Masuk 34; 35. East Hartford 31; 36. New Milford 29; 37. Rockville 27; 38. Daniel Hand 24; 39. Middletown 21; 40. E.Haven-Cross-Hillhouse 19; 41. Norwalk-McMahon 13; 42. Warde 11.5; 43. Ansonia 9; 44. Foran 7; 45. Oxford 5; 46. Manchester 3.

Individual results

200-yard medley relay: 1. Darien (Margaret Erickson, Miller Ward, Emily Kalvaitis, Natalia Ferranto), 1:47.04; 2. Cheshire (Natalia Gajecki, Julia Barto, Julianna Tyler, Avery Potyrala), 1:47.57; 3. Amity (Elizabeth Bodie, Marea Li, Amanda Ford, Grace Mahon), 1:48.44; 4. Greenwich (Anabelle Guarnera, Sydney Jee, Melissa Geiger, Daisy Decker), 1:49.34; 5. Seymour (Sophia Velleco, Alyssa Toman, Kylie McKirryher, Katrine Oleary), 1:50.34; 6. Ridgefield (Mazie Pelusio, Riley McGerald, Elissa Egerton, Madeline Muncy), 1:50.84; 200-yard freestyle: 1. Annam Olasewere, Staples, 1:48.20* State Open record; 2. Avery Kudlac, Glastonbury, 1:49.01; 3. Bridget Kelly, Ridgefield, 1:52.34; 4. Ava Ward, Ridgefield, 1:52.62; 5. Sophia Velleco, Seymour, 1:53.26; 6. Avery Potyrala, Cheshire, 1:54.49; 200-yard individual medley: 1. Julia Barto, Cheshire, 2:03.05; 2. Miller Ward, Darien, 2:03.62; 3. Meghan Tiernan, Hall, 2:03.75; 4. Julianna Tyler, Cheshire, 2:07.80; 5. Olivia Herbert, Bethel-Immaculate, 2:08.88; 6. Marea Li, Amity, 2:08.99; 50-yard freestyle: 1. Riley Anderson, Bacon Academy, 23.07; 2. Riley Kudlac, Glastonbury, 23.50; 3. Ayaan Olasewere, Staples, 23.89; 4. Natalia Ferranto, Darien, 23.92; 5. Kathleen Murray, Ludlowe, 24.07; 6. Audrey Gil, Joel Barlow, 24.23; 100-yard butterfly: 1. Lily Archibald, Ridgefield, 54.57; 2. Avery Kudlac, Glastonbury, 55.08; 3. Miller Ward, Darien, 55.61; 4. Julianna Tyler, Cheshire, 57.09; 5. Grace Mahon, Amity, 57.60; 6. Kylie McKirryher, Seymour, 57.61; 100-yard freestyle: 1. Annam Olasewere, Staples, 50.07* State Open record; 2. Riley Kudlac, Glastonbury, 51.01; 3. Ayaan Olasewere, Staples, 52.82; 4. Audrey Gil, Joel Barlow, 52.85; 5. Mia Hatzis, Brookfield, 53.00; 6. Avery Potyrala, Cheshire, 53.37; 500-yard freestyle: 1. Meghan Tiernan, Hall, 4:58.17; 2. Virginia Hastings, Wilton, 5:03.21; 3. Bridget Kelly, Ridgefield, 5:04.04; 4. Sophia Velleco, Seymour, 5:05.40; 5. Kathleen Murray, Ludlowe, 5:07.77; 6. Margaret Erickson, Darien, 5:07.87; 200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Ridgefield (Lily Archibald, Madeline Muncy, Bridget Kelly, Keira Giles), 1:35.48* State record; 2. Staples (Annam Olasewere, Carly Waldman, Libby Turner, Ayaan Olasewere), 1:36.59; 3. Glastonbury (Avery Kudlac, Isabelle Christensen, Annika Paluska, Riley Kudlac), 1:36.67; 4. Darien (Liisa Jalakas, Lily Voigt, Lily Bradbury, Natalia Ferranto), 1:37.96; 5. Ludlowe (Ella Gussen, Kathleen Murray, Tatum Murray, Lily Malone), 1:38.48; 6. Wethersfield (Milena Brodowicz, Sabrina Schuster, Olivia Krout, Jilian Pitchell), 1:39.04; 100-yard backstroke: 1. Julia Barto, Cheshire, 56.57; 2. Lily Archibald, Ridgefield, 57.22; 3. Elise Richardson, Lyman Hall, 58.75; 4. Natalia Gajecki, Cheshire, 58.84; 5. Emelia Bailey, Weston, 59.00; 6. Delaney Reck, Fitch/Ston/NL, 59.51; 100-yard breaststroke: 1. Riley McGerald, Ridgefield, 1:05.76; 2. Jocelyn Niemczyk, Rockville, 1:06.53; 3. Marea Li, Amity, 1:06.58; 4. Abigayle Bleil, New Canaan, 1:06.91; 5. Sydney Jee, Greenwich, 1:07.08; 6. Ella Nadeau, Southington, 1:07.59; 400-yard freestyle relay: 1. Ridgefield (Lily Archibald, Bridget Kelly, Ava Ward, Keira Giles), 3:28.56; 2. Glastonbury (Riley Kudlac, Brooke Sowka, Annika Paluska, Avery Kudlac), 3:31.91; 3. Cheshire (Julianna Tyler, Natalia Gajecki, Avery Potyrala, Julia Barto), 3:33.44; 4. Staples (Ayaan Olasewere, Danielle Schwartz, Libby Turner, Annam Olasewere), 3:33.62; 5. Darien (Lily Bradbury, Margaret Erickson, Emily Kalvaitis, Miller Ward), 3:34.13; 6. Greenwich (Wesley Wales, Daisy Decker, Melissa Geiger, Anabelle Guarnera), 3:37.88.