Darien girls swimming and diving captures FCIAC title
GREENWICH — Fittingly, Tuesday night’s FCIAC Girls Swimming Championships ended with Darien winning the 400-yard freestyle relay — an event that takes a team effort.
It takes an ultimate team effort for a squad to win a championship swim meet and that’s exactly what the Blue Wave received on Nov. 5 before a packed house at Greenwich High School.
Where each competitor places in her respective race, is especially significant in a meet like the FCIAC finals and Darien got the finishes it needed.
Showcasing its depth, Darien swam away with the FCIAC championship, totaling 335 team points. Greenwich, which won the team title the previous two seasons, was the runner-up (303), followed by Staples (288), New Canaan (241) and Wilton (229).
“We certainly weren’t expecting this,” Darien coach Marj Trifone said. “We didn’t talk about this at the beginning of the season as one of our goals. This was a huge team effort for us, since we only had one individual first-place finish in the meet. But we had a lot of people in those consolation heats and they all counted and we did well last night (Monday night) in diving too.”
Said Blue Wave junior Kendall Luecke, one of the team’s top swimmers on Tuesday: “It’s really exciting, because at the beginning of the season, we didn’t think we would be in this position, so it’s so much fun to watch the team grow and become super close this season. I’m so proud of our team.”
The victory marked the first time Darien won the FCIAC team title since 2014. The Blue Wave captured the FCIAC title three straight years (2012-2014).
“It was a great meet and super competitive,” Cardinals coach Lorrie Hokayem said. “It’s awesome to have three, or four teams in the mix today, all competing. Darien had a fantastic meet, Saturday, through the diving and through today. They definitely earned it today.”
Lexi Punishill was involved in all three Blue Wave victories at the swim finals. She was first in the 100-yard freestyle (52.82), and led off the winning 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays.
“It feels so great to win the 100 freestyle, especially since last year I finished fifth,” Punishill said. “I had to come back from a shoulder injury and a back injury the past year, so it’s rewarding. We received a huge team effort tonight.”
In the 200 freestyle, Punishill was followed by Lily Bradbury, Natalia Ferranto and Luecke, as the team finished in 1:37.28.
In the 400 freestyle, Punishill teamed with Maggie Sedlak, Olivia Golden, and Luecke to win in 3:33.4.
One of Darien’s best events was the 50-yard freestyle, as two Wave swimmers were in the top three. Natalia Ferranto was second in 24.22, with Punishill third in 24.23.
Luecke was third (1:54.67) and Golden sixth (1:57.47) in the 200 freestyle; Golden was fifth (58.01) in the 100 backstroke; and Spataro was sixth (5:15.73) in the 500 freestyle.
Emma Mansourian was seventh (2:14.80) in the 200 individual medley, and eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.87).
The Blue Wave’s 400 medley relay team of Golden, Mansourian, Hope Murray, and Ferranto took fifth place with a time of 1:49.76.
The FCIAC diving finals took place at the New Canaan YMCA on Nov. 4, with three Darien divers finishing in the top 16: Lily Wurm in fifth (408.10), Lana Schmidt in 13th (374.50), and Emma Hunter in 16th (355.20).
FCIAC Swimming & Diving Championships
Team Scores: 1 Darien 335; 2 Greenwich 303; 3 Staples 288; 4 New Canaan 241; 5 Wilton 229; 6 Ridgefield 227; 7 Trumbull 202; 8 Norwalk-McMahon 122.50; 9 Fairfield Warde 90.50; 10 Westhill-Stamford 88; 11 Fairfield Ludlowe 80; 12 St. Joseph 59.
Darien’s individual finishes: 200 medley relay - 5. Darien (Olivia Golden, Emma Mansourian, Hope Murray, Natalia Ferranto), 1:49.76; 200 freestyle - 3 Kendall Luecke, 1:54.67; 6 Olivia Golden, 1:57.47; 10 Maggie Sedlak, 1:56.93; 200 individual medley - 7 Emma Mansourian, 2:14.80; 10 Meg Erickson, 2:15.06; 13 Gracie Spataro, 2:17.00; 50 freestyle - 2 Natalia Ferranto, 24.22; 3 Lexi Punishill, 24.23; 10 Lily Bradbury, 24.89; 15 Sloane Latimer, 25.39; Diving - 5 Lilly Wurm, 408.10; 13 Lana Schmidt, 374.50; 16 Emma Hunter, 355.20; 100-yard butterfly - 10 Hope Murray, 59.58; 12 Maggie Sedlak, 1:00.11; 100 freestyle - 1 Lexi Punishill, 52.82; 10 Lily Bradbury, 54.67; 12 Natalia Ferranto, 55.14; 13 Sloane Latimer, 55.25; 500 freestyle - 6 Gracie Spataro, 5:15.73; 9 Kendall Luecke, 5:15.61; 10 Meg Erickson, 5:17.83; 12 Hope Murray, 5:21.83; 200 freestyle relay - 1 Darien (Lexi Punishill, Lily Bradbury, Natalia Ferranto, Kendall Luecke), 1:37.28; 100 backstroke - 5 Olivia Golden, 58.01; 100 breaststroke - 8 Emma Mansourian, 1:08.87; 400 freestyle relay - 1 Darien (Lexi Punishill, Maggie Sedlak, Olivia Golden, Kendall Luecke), 3:33.4.