Darien edges Greenwich in a dual of two undefeated girls swim teams
Two undefeated swim teams producing impressive performances before a loud, enthusiastic crowd — sounds like another dual meet to remember between rivals Darien and Greenwich High School.
The Cardinals held a four-point lead over three-time defending State Open and FCIAC champion Darien after the 100-yard freestyle event, but the Blue Wave gained a slight advantage in the 500 freestyle, then did what most powerhouse squads do: they built upon it.
Finishing strong, Darien kept its perfect season going, recording a 102-83 victory over host Greenwich in a key FCIAC meet. The Blue Wave (6-0) received two individual wins from Lauren Rutledge and Phoebe Slaughter en route to placing first in 10 of the 12 events. Darien also had some important second and third-place finishes, helping them gain points on Greenwich as the meet progressed.
“It was a really good meet against a very good team,” Darien coach Marj Trifone said. “We just went up against New Canaan and our team is always psyched for that, so coming into another big meet off that was tough. I was proud of how our team hung in there and stayed tough.”
“I am nothing but pleased with today’s meet,” said Greenwich coach Lorrie Hokayem, whose squad placed second behind Darien at last season’s State Open Championships. “They are a great team that is very well coached. Our team always swims great against Darien, New Canaan and Ridgefield. I am very happy with the way we swam and especially, dove, today.”
Darien’s Rebecca Maroney, Leigh Harrison, Maggie Orem and Lauren Rutledge won the 200-yard medley relay (1:53.11). Senior Belle Stobbie gave the Blue Wave a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:58.07), edging Greenwich’s Sophia Jahan (1:58.88). Slaughter won the 200 individual medley, while GHS senior Brooke Collins was the runner-up (2:12.50) and Montesi placed third (2:14.00).
“The 50 was a nice victory for me,” said Rutledge, a senior. “In that event, you just put your head down and go. Once you are at the turn, you have two more breaths and then you are done breathing. It was a really good race.”
The Cardinals took a 41-37 lead, courtesy of their divers. Sophomore Kate Russack was a standout on the one-meter diving board, earning a winning score of 244.75. Freshman Annabelle Pollack of Greenwich placed second (232.05), followed by Darien’s Jenny Schrenker (222.2).
“Today, we knew we had to step up our game against Darien, because we knew it was going to be a close meet,” Russack said. “We got first and second, which brought up our score in the meet a lot.”
Montesi (59.34) and Lilly Clisham took first and third, respectively, for the Cards in the 100 butterfly, then Darien placed first and second in the 100 freestyle. Rutledge was first in 53.59 and Belle Stobbie was second (55.27).
“We definitely did well in the 100 freestyle, we weren’t expecting to go 1-2, that was really exciting,” Rutledge said. “Coach is telling us we are the hunted team, so everyone will swim their best against us. We knew this was going to be a close meet and I feel that it was almost for the best that they were up a little bit. That’s what gets us going and fires us up.”
In one of the most exciting races, Kate Murray of Darien was the 500-yard freestyle winner (5:16.16), with Jahan placing second (5:16.26) and Carly Rutledge of the Blue Wave finishing third. The 1-3 finish gave Darien a 64-62 lead.
“Greenwich swam awesome tonight, they were right there with us and made it a great meet for us,” Trifone said.
Slaughter took first in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.11, while Maroney was third (1:01.47), giving the Blue Wave an 85-71 edge. Samantha Scott was the runner-up for GHS (1:00.24). Harrison touched the wall first in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.64), with Collins finishing second (1:10.61) and teammate Riley Ennis taking third (1:13.60).
“We did really well today,” said Collins, who posted season-best times in the individual medley and breaststroke. “Darien is a really tough team with a lot of depth and their depth beat ours. They have fast girls and depth.”
Said Ennis: “We were supportive of each other and everyone swam their hardest. Darien’s a good team that’s fun to compete against.”
The Blue Wave also won the 200 and (1:41.41) 400 freestlyle relay (3:41.94).
“We knew this was one of our biggest dual meets of the year and we looked at it as one more challenge we had to face,” GHS senior Sarah Bellamy said. “We are looking forward to a championship season and we feel we have a lot more left in us.”
DARIEN 102, GREENWICH 83
200-yard medley relay — 1. Darien (Rebecca Maroney, Leigh Harrison, Maggie Orem, Lauren Rutledge) 1:53.11; 200-yard freestyle — 1. Belle Stobbie (D) 1:58.07; 200 individual medley — 1. Phoebe Slaughter (D) 2:10.73; 50 freestyle — 1. Lauren Rutledge (D) 24.73; Diving — 1. Kate Russack (G) 244.75; 100 butterfly — 1. Kelly Montesi (G) 59.34; 100 freestyle — 1. Lauren Rutledge (D) 53.59; 500 freestyle — 1. Kate Murray (D) 5:16.16; 200 freestyle relay — 1. Darien (Belle Stobbie, Phoebe Slaughter, Isabel Blaze, Lauren Rutledge) 1:41.41; 100 backstroke — 1. Phoebe Slaughter (D) 1:00.11; 100 breaststroke — 1. Leigh Harrison (D) 1:09.64; 400 freestyle relay — 1. Darien (Belle Stobbie, Carly Rutledge, Maggie Orem, Phoebe Slaughter) 3:41.94.
Records: Darien 6-0; Greenwich 5-1.