Darien finishes as runner-up at FCIAC swim, dive championships

The senior class on the Darien swimming and diving team is relatively small, but it holds a big place in the heart of coach Marj Trifone.

For nearly 40 years, Trifone has been a coach with the Middlesex Club’s swim program. She taught many of her current seniors how to swim when they were younger and has known their families for many years.

So when Darien delivered a stellar performance while finishing as the runner-up at the FCIAC swim finals in Greenwich last Friday, it was an emotional moment for Trifone.

“I have a phenomenal group of seniors on my team this year and the really special thing is I taught most of them how to swim,” Trifone said. “So it’s kind of bittersweet with this being their last season.

“To be able to share this with them was really great.”

The Blue Wave was strong throughout, winning two of the first three events and maintaining the lead until Ridgefield took over in the final two races. The Tigers won with 375 points to Darien’s 335, and host Greenwich was a distant third at 264.

Darien started the meet by winning the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay, with senior Meg Erickson, junior Miller Ward, and seniors Emily Kalvaitis and Natalia Ferranto finishing in 1:47.21, just ahead of Ridgefield at 1:47.65.

Two races later Ward, gave the Wave another gold medal when she won the 200 individual medley in 2:06.10. Ludlowe’s Ella Gussom was second in 2:07.47.

Ward was also second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.54, just behind Ridgefield’s Lily Archibald (55.17), and teamed with senior Lily Bradbury, Erickson, Kalvaitis to take third in the 400 freestyle relay (3:36.13).

Ferranto was second in the 50 freestyle in 24.14, just behind Staples’ Ayaan Olasewere (24.11) and ahead of Westhill/Stamford’s Annie Edwards (24.64).

Erickson was third in the 500 freestyle (5:09.56) and fifth in the 200 IM (2:10.54); Bradbury was fourth in the 100 freestyle (53.65) and fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:54.52); and Kalvaitis was fourth in the 100 butterfly (57.86).

The 200 freestyle relay team of junior Liisa Jalakas, senior Lily Voigt, Bradbury and Ferranto was third in 1:38.53.

“We had a really good meet and we swam well,” Trifone said. “It was really nice to have a competitive meet and see what we could do.

Megan Hayes led the Wave’s diving squad, finishing fourth with a score of 376.55 at Westhill last Wednesday.

Darien held a 290-288 lead heading into the final two swimming events, but Ridgefield took over on the strength of a 47-13 advantage in the 100 breaststroke.

Darien will begin its Class L championship defense this week with SCC champion Cheshire the primary contender. The Wave has won two straight and eight of the last 10 titles, with Cheshire winning Class L in 2017 and 2018, and Class LL in 2019. 

Last season, Darien scored 807 points, and Cheshire was second with 555.

The diving finals are at Middletown at 5:30, Thursday, Nov. 10. The swim trials are 4:30, Saturday, Nov. 12, and finals are 6, Tuesday, Nov. 15, both at Cornerstone Pool in Hartford.

After the FCIAC meet, Trifone said Darien and Cheshire have matching strengths.

“Now we know what we’ve got to work on to get ready for Cheshire,” the coach said. “We’re very similar to Cheshire, so it will be a very interesting week for us.”

David.Stewart@hearstmediact.com; @dstewartsports

FCIAC swim finals at Greenwich

Team scores: 1 Ridgefield 375, 2 Darien 335, 3 Greenwich 264, 4 Staples 240, 5 Wilton 196, 6 New Canaan 184, 7 Ludlowe 171, 8 Westhill/Stamford 134, 9 (tie) Trumbull and St. Joseph 102, 11 Norwalk/McMahon 74, 12 Warde 55, 13 Danbury 16.

Darien’s individual results: 200-yard medley relay:1 Darien (Margaret Erickson, Miller Ward, Emily Kalvaitis) 1:47.21; 200 freestyle: 5 Lily Bradbury 1:54.52, 13 Lily Voigt 2:01.40; 200 individual medley: 1 Miller Ward 2:06.10, 5 Margaret Erickson 2:10.54; 50 freestyle: 2 Natalia Ferranto 24.14, 8 Liisa Jalakas 25.37; Diving: 4 Megan Hayes 376.55, 8 Annelise Enters 343.90, 14 Fiona Garfield 314.70, 17 Olivia Perkins 212.65; 100 butterfly: 2 Miller Ward 55.54, 4 Emily Kalvaitis 57.86, 10 Jasmine Ujkaj 59.93, 13 Lily Voigt 1:00.68; 100 freestyle: 4 Lily Bradbury 53.65, 6 Natalia Ferranto 53.83, 13 Bridget Moore 56.03; 500-yard freestyle: 3 Margaret Erickson 5:09.56. 7 Erin Luecke 5:22.61, 14 Olivia Stramandinoli 5:29.56; 200 freestyle relay: 3 Darien (Liisa Jalakas, Lily Voigt, Lily Bradbury, Natalia Ferranto) 1:38.53; 100 backstroke: 14 Liisa Jalakas 1:02.77; 100 breaststroke: 10 Emily Kalvaitis 1:11.41, 11 Erin Luecke 1:12.74; 400 freestyle relay: 3 Darien (Lily Bradbury, Margaret Erickson, Emily Kalvaitis, Miller Ward) 3:36.13.