Friday marked the first of five consecutive home meets for the Greenwich High School girls swimming team, which will be tough to defeat at its home pool, or anywhere else this season.
From the first event to the last, the Cardinals were indeed, impressive against visiting Fairfield Warde on Friday. Winning each event, Greenwich raised its record to 2-0 with a 100-73 win in an FCIAC meet.
The meet commenced with Greenwich’s Bella Malchow, Michelle Weissler, Sofi Wang and Emma Robinson combining for a speedy, first-place time of 1:52.08 in the 200-yard medley relay. Also in the 200-medley relay, Payton Foster, Sydney Jee, Sena Bozkurt and Anabelle Guarnera posted a second-place time of 1:52.57 for the Cardinals – quite a way for the team to start the meet.
“We had two teams go 1:52, so I split two teams evenly and I wanted a good race and that’s what we got, which was awesome,” Greenwich first-year coach Brendan Heller said. “We have a group of people who are passionate about swimming. They are passionate and get excited about going fast.”
In the 200-yard freestyle, senior captain Caterina Li gave Greenwich a first-place finish in 2:00.07. Teammate Sabrina Hobert, a sophomore, placed second with a time of 2:02.45, followed by junior Daisy Decker, who clocked in at 2:04.71.
“The 200 free I haven’t swam that in a while,” Li said. “I’ve actually never swam it in a dual meet, so it was good to get back to racing as one of my events and it was a good time. I was happy to race everyone.”
Said Heller: “Caterina has been focusing on her underwater kicking in practice and it’s paying dividends. Her butterfly was great today and she’s working hard on all the little things.”
The 200-yard individual medley saw Foster, a sophomore, touch the wall first (2:11.01). Sydney Jee, a sophomore, finished second in 2:14.04 and right behind her was Weissler, a freshman, who finished the race in 2:14.39.
“It was a tough one, but it was great to have my teammates there,” Foster said of the 200 IM. “Altogether, it was a great race for everyone.”
The 50-yard freestyle was a close race won by Cardinals senior captain Emma Robinson (25.44). Mary Ryan a Warde junior, was the runner-up in 25.81.
On the 1-meter diving board, Greenwich’s Javiera Garcia took top honors. A junior, Garcia posted a score of 230.90 points over six rounds for the victory. Senior captain Esme Merrill took second with 204.35 points.
“Everyone was doing so well, all the dives were so good, the scoring was perfect,” Garcia said. “The swimmers are doing so well and working so hard and you can tell that so much effort is put into these meets. The divers are working so hard, we come to practice every day looking to improve.”
Sparking Garcia’s winning score was an 8 she earned on one of her inward dives.
“That’s one of my best dives and I love doing it,” Garcia said. “Esme and Mackenzie (Newi) dove so well today. You can see their hard work is showing.”
Li gave GHS six points by winning the 100 butterfly with a time of 59.31 seconds. Sophomore Nashu Nishizawa, a sophomore, was second for Greenwich (1:03.52), followed by Decker (1:05.32). Wang won the 100-yard freestyle (55.49), followed by Robinson (56.56) and Ryan of the Mustangs (56.62).
“We have a lot of incoming freshman and our depth is really good, even though we lost a lot of seniors like Meghan (Lynch, All-American performer) and Sammy (Ennis). We still have a really hardworking team and I’m happy to see what’s coming next.”
The 500-yard freestyle is one of Foster’s best events and she proceeded to win the race in 5:06.15. Bozkurt took second (5:34.29).
“The 500 was fun I had my good friend Senna there too, so it was fun,” Foster said.
“Payton likes to compete and race fast,” Heller said. “It’s nice to see her go out and race so well.”
Greenwich swam exhibition following the 500 freestyle, meaning Warde was awarded the remainder of the points for the meet. But Hobert, Weissler, Wang and Robinson combined for the top time in the 200 freestyle relay and Malchow, a senior captain, had the meet’s best time in the 100 backstroke (1:01.81). Weissler posted a time of 1:08.64 in the breaststroke for the Cardinals, who improved their record to 2-0. In the 400-yard freestyle, Nishizawa, Julia Costello, Malchow and Sophia Sichtnik combined for a time of 3:54.19.
“We have a great community here, the fans are back in the stands watching us and they are having fun,” Heller said. “I want to see them having fun and getting after it.”
Said Foster: “This team is amazing and if we keep training how we are training now, we are going to be awesome and I’m excited to see how we can do. If we keep training how we are now and taking it step-by- step, we are going to get to where we need to be.”
Up next for Greenwich is a meet against visiting Norwalk/McMahon on Friday. The Cardinals will host Ridgefield on Sept. 29.
“I want the team to be the best it can be,” Li said. “We are excited to race. In the FCIAC, there are a lot of good swimmers, so it’s going to be a fun season.”