A meet that featured a large field of teams soon became a contest between the Weston High girls and one opponent in particular at the state Class S swimming finals.
Right from the opening event the Trojans battled South-West Conference rival Lauralton Hall for supremacy. It was not until later in the meet that Lauralton’s depth allowed it to pull ahead with a winning score of 801 points and unseat the two-time defending champ Trojans, who were runners-up with 772.5 on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Southern Connecticut State University.
Both teams were far ahead of the rest of the competition. East Catholic of Manchester was a distant third with 292.
“They had nothing else left,” said Weston head coach Tom Grace, noting an exhaustive effort by his team. “I was happy about that.”
The Trojans also captured a number of medals, including those for first places. One came in the 200-yard medley relay with Kiersten Daly, Olivia Clark, Alex Edgar and Katharine Johnson leading the field in one minute, 51.95 seconds, beating their seed time by more than two seconds.
Four scored for Weston in the 200 medley relay. The bronze medal went to Claire Kerns with a third-place time of 2:01.74. Brenna Nimkoff, who missed the SWC meet due to illness, was back and took fourth in 2:03.98.
Ninth went to Julia Clark in 2:07.48 and Jill Kleban was 18th in 2:11.16. Both also improved upon their seed times.
Daly led the way for Weston in the 200 individual medley in 2:15.35, good for fifth. Clare Murray was 14th in 2:24.33, 0.04 second after Woodland Regional’s Christine Leeper. Also scoring points for Weston, Lauren Solinsky was 19th in 2:29.93 and Ilana Berger was 21st in 2:33.96.
Weston’s first silver medal went to Johnson in the 50 free with a time of 25.21. Edgar also scored in the event with a seventh-place time of 26.18 and Dacia Gross was 10th in 26.53.
Four days earlier the Trojans competed at the diving finals at Plainville High. As in the case of the SWC championship, they won another gold medal. This time it went to Keturah Sarno with a score of 338.75.
“She had a great meet,” said Grace. “She did as well as we always expect of her.”
Hannah Schroeder took the bronze with 320.55. Also scoring for Weston, Maren Panzirer was 10th with 236 and Andrea Janis was right behind her with 228.95..
Lauralton Hall had a lot of speed in the 100 butterfly with three top-eight finishers. Julia Clark had Weston’s fastest time in 1:03.79, good for ninth. Solinsky was 11th in 1:08.23 and Anna West was 17th (1:09.55).
Getting her second silver medal of the meet, Johnson swam the 100 free in 54.18. Seventh went to Kerns in 57.24 and Gross tied Seymour’s Rose Washbrook for 12th, each in 58.87.
Weston’s best event was the 500 free, which produced 108 points courtesy of a first through fourth finish.
Olivia Clark, who won the event in the SWC, led the way again in 5:98.01, beating her seed time by nearly six seconds. Daly got the silver medal in 5:24.28 and Murray had the bronze in 5:36.09. Nimkoff took fourth in 5:36.31.
Lauralton captured first in the 200 free relay but Weston was not far behind with Gross, Frances Kleiner, Kerns and Edgar in second in 1:44.43. From that point on, however, the Crusaders earned the majority of the points.
“They had a lot of bodies in the top heats,” said Grace.
Edgar took seventh in the 100 backstroke in 1:05.97 and Kleiner was next in 1:07.48. Points also came from Emily Clark in 1:08.70 for 13th and Emily Olin in 21st (1:10.24).
Weston’s final victory was also Olivia Clark’s second gold medal, coming in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.21 and in the A final. Olivia Watson swam a 1:16.10 in the B final, good for 15th. Lucy Watson, who was in the C final, was 17th in 1:15.25.
By the time the 400 free relay arrived Lauralton Hall had clinched the meet. It also placed first one more time before Nimkoff, Daly, Olivia Clark and Johnson took the silver medal in 3:44.86.
For a few Weston swimmers the season continued at the State Open on Saturday. With a 97 points, it was tied for 17th with Lyman Hall in a field of 52 to score at Yale University.
Most of Weston’s points were in the relays. Daly, Olivia Clark, Edgar and Johnson finished 10th in the 200 medley relay in 1:53.68.
For the 200 free relay Gross, Kleiner, Kerns and Edgar swam a 1:45.82 for 24th. Daly, Nimkoff, Olivia Clark and Johnson formed the 400 free relay team that was 22nd in 3:49.54.
A few individuals also scored. Olivia Clark had her team’s highest finish here, taking seventh in the 500 free in 5:10.24. She was 10th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.79.
Johnson was 19th in the 100 free in 54.47 and Daly was 24th in the 200 IM in 2:19.01.