Greenwich’s girls swim team moved one step closer toward achieving an undefeated season.
The Cardinals did so by defeating visiting Fairfield Ludlowe, 93-81, on Wednesday, in a meet that saw numerous athletes excel.
“We’re at the point of the season where we’re training hard every day, so we have to push the mental fatigue along with the physical fatigue,” Greenwich coach Brendan Heller said. “We’re setting our sights on the FCIAC Championships coming up, that’s what we’re working towards, so we’re putting in the work right now. The fact that we can come out and continue to win each meet is a positive thing.”
Freshman Michelle Weissler won two individual events and was part of a first-place relay, sophomore Payton Foster placed first in the 500 freestyle, led off the winning 200-yard medley relay and anchored the 200 freestyle relay (first place) and junior Daisy Decker had the meet’s top time in the 200 freestyle to pace the 8-0 Cardinals.
Foster, Weissler, junior Caterina Li and sophomore Sofia Wang combined to win the 200 medley relay in 1:50.98 for Greenwich. Decker registered a winning time of 2:03.15 in the 200 freestyle, while GHS teammates Samantha Ings (2:08.86) and Evangeline Norman (2:14.42) were second and third, respectively. The Cardinals have been training hard for the rapidly approaching postseason, which includes the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open championships. They close out their regular season Wednesday with their toughest dual meet of the season – a showdown against rival Darien.
“Practices have been more challenging than last year,” Decker said. “I’m a junior, so I get the upperclassmen feel on the team. We have great practices every day and it’s such a great team environment.”
Indeed, Decker has enjoyed the process, as the Cards’ round into postseason form.
“It’s so fun being at these high school meets with these teammates, who some I have known for years, because we have been on other teams together,” Decker said. “In and out of the pool, it’s been a great experience. It’s been fun in the pool racing, helping my teammates on the sideline, or cheering for my teammates after the races.”
Foster touched the wall first in the 500 freestyle, clocking in at 5:04.70, then came right back and anchored the team’s winning 200-yard freestyle relay, which included sophomore Tess Furno, senior captain Emma Robinson and Li. Decker took second in the 500 freestyle (5:31.88), followed by teammate Anabelle Guarnera, a sophomore (5:44.35).
“I definitely was a little tired, but it’s always good to have your teammates pushing you,” Foster said. “They’re the reason why I get up and try my hardest. I’m having so much fun, I always say that this is my favorite part of the year.”
The 500 freestyle is an event Foster has excelled at each meet.
“It’s a really tough race, but it’s fun seeing my teammates helping me and swimming with my teammates who push me so hard,” Foster said.
Weissler posted a winning time of 2:15.64 in the 200-yard individual medley, then was victorious in the 100 butterfly (1:03.40). Freshman Sena Bozkurt was second in the 200 IM (2:18.06), while senior Sophia Sichnik took third (2:19.39) for the Cardinals. In the 100 butterfly, sophomore Natsu Nishizawa was the runner-up (1:02.29) and senior Daniela Pompa finished third (1:07.43).
“I don’t usually do butterfly, it’s kind of my off stroke, but I think I did well,” said Weissler, who looks forward to competing for the Cardinals each day. “This is a really good experience for anyone that’s on the team. It’s a really good bonding experience and I enjoy being on this team. We all motivate each other, everyone picks each other up – it’s a good environment.”
Ludlowe was led by Kate Murray, who won the 50-yard freestyle race with a time of 24.75 seconds and touched the wall first in the 100 freestyle in 54.10. Li finished second in the 50 freestyle (25.20), followed by Cardinals teammate Sydney Jee, a sophomore (26.48). Wang was second in the 100 freestyle (54.91) and Jee finished third (57.97).
Greenwich was again sparked by its strong divers. Junior Javiera Garcia won the 1-meter diving event for Greenwich and teammate Annie Bingle, a senior, finished second. The duo have led the Cardinals on the board throughout the season.
Greenwich swam exhibition from the 200 freestyle on, but senior captain Isabella Malchow had the meet’s best time of 1:01.67 in the 100 backstroke, while Bozkurt clocked in at 1:01.80. Sichtnik had the top time in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.64) and Guarnera, Jee, Decker and Wang combined to swim a 3:49.41 in the 400 freestyle relay.
“My performances were there, I have been training extra hard every day,” Decker said. “We had a long day at school, we took the PSAT today and I came here and competed my heart out and I’m happy with my times with what they are. I can’t wait for FCIACs and go for it.”
The portion of the season that high school swimmers and divers wait for rapidly approaching.
“I’m really excited, last year my first year, we didn’t have it, but it’s really competitive and I think our team is going to have a great time,” Foster said of the FCIAC Championships.”
Said Heller: “Darien, Ridgefield, New Canaan, Wilton are good, so we’re going to try to bring our best for the FCIAC Championships and get ready for the state championships.”