Even with an impressive dual meet record the Weston High girls swim team knew the South-West Conference championship would be a different affair last week.
It is not unusual for teams to fare better in head-to-head competition in dual meets than in larger ones, which feature an all-inclusive scoring format. The Trojans, who went unbeaten at 10-0-1 during the regular season, found that out at they scored 335 points to finish fourth in a field of 12 at Pomperaug High on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Brookfield was the winner with 439. Lauralton Hall, which Weston tied during the season, was runner-up with 424. Newtown was third with 376.
“They worked hard and pushed through,” said Weston head coach Tom Grace, who was not surprised by his team’s finish. “It was a good opportunity to get in a competitive race.”
The team was without one key swimmer as Brenna Nimkoff was sidelined with the flu. Had she been there Weston would have scored more points but not enough to catch Newtown, according to Grace.
The Trojans were not only represented in every event but scored in each as well. They captured several medals, one coming in the 200-yard medley relay at the start of the meet. Kiersten Daly, Olivia Clark, Alex Edgar and Katie Johnson took the silver to finish second behind Lauralton Hall in one minute, 58.94 seconds.
Claire Kerns scored Weston’s points in the 200 free, swimming a 2:09.47 for 14th overall. Daly earned points in the 200 individual medley with a fourth-place time of 2:20.76 and Clare Murray was 14th here in 2:31.98.
Several scored for the Trojans in the 50 free, which featured Johnson swimming a 26.16 for fourth. Less than a second later was Dacia Gross in 27.09 in ninth and Edgar was 13th in 27.50.
Weston’s first championship points actually came a day earlier at the diving finals at Masuk. Such also produced their first two medals with Hannah Schroder winning the event with a score of 329.65 and Keturah Sarno finishing as runner-up with 312.70.
“Hannah did great,” said Grace. “That was a championship meet for her. Keturah did very well. She’s been working really hard.”
Also scoring for Weston, Maren Panizier scored a 234.35 for 11th and Andrea Janis was 13th with 228.50.
In the 100 butterfly Julia Clark finished in 1:07.89, good for 10th. Edgar was 13th in 1:10.20.
Johnson was one of several Weston swimmers to score in four events, including the 100 free, which featured a sixth-place time of 56.61. Kerns was 16th under a minute in 59.67.
Olivia Clark had a big day for Weston, winning two gold medals. Her first was in the 500 free, which she won in 5:13.74. Murray was 16th here in 5:56.13.
For the 200 free relay Weston had Jill Kleban, Gross, Kerns and Edgar finish in 1:51.32, just 0.04 second behind Bunnell and in eighth overall. Daly took sixth in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.61 and Frances Kleiner was 11th in 1:06.93.
Olivia Clark’s second gold medal was in the 100 breaststroke, featuring a winning time of 1:11.33. Also scoring were the Watson sisters with Olivia in 11th (1:18.80) and Lucy two places later (1:19.29).
The final event brought Weston the bronze medal. Kerns, Gross, Daly and Johnson combined to swim a 3:55.55 in the 400 free relay.
Weston will next direct its attention to the state Class S finals. Once again, the defending champs will most likely battle Lauralton Hall for supremacy.
“We’re set up pretty good,” said Grace, confident of the lineup for the meet. “It’s going to be a dogfight.”