Greenwich Academy

Sacred Heart Greenwich places fourth at NEPSAC Division I Swimming Championships; Greenwich Academy takes fifth at the ultra-competitive meet

Contributed photo: Sacred Heart Greenwich’s swimming/diving team gathers prior to going to the NEPSAC Division I Championships this past weekend. The Tigers turned in a strong performance at the championship meet.

Sacred Heart Greenwich and Greenwich Academy each concluded standout seasons with highly impressive performances at the NEPSAC Division I Swimming Championships, held at Phillips Academy Andover on Saturday and Sunday.

After flourishing in this past Saturday’s preliminaries, Sacred Heart Greenwich posted a fourth-place finish in the team standings out of 10 teams at the NEPSAC Division I Championships, amassing a team score of 209 points. Greenwich Academy placed fifth (201 points) at the championship meet, which saw Phillips Exeter Academy win the team title (389 points) and host Phillips Academy Andover finish second (296.5).

Sacred Heart coach Keegan Reed witnessed outstanding teamwork from her squad throughout the competitive weekend – a characteristic the team displayed all season.

“Even though swimming is mainly individual races, our team works together and has a strong community that motivates each other throughout the season and especially at NEPSACs,” Reed said. “When one of our team members would be in the pool racing, the rest of the team would be by the side of the pool cheering them on.

“With positive and exciting energy running through the team, we were bound to have great swims and we definitely did,” Reed continued. “Out of the 29 individual swims on Saturday and dives on Wednesday, we had 26 season or lifetime-best performances.”

Contributed photo: Sacred Heart Greenwich’s 400 freestyle relay took the fourth-place medal at the NEPSAC finals.

Senior Alexandra Bastone helped pace Sacred Heart to its strong fourth-place finish at the championship meet – its best showing since it also finished fourth in 2006. Bastone won the 200-yard freestyle at the NEPSAC Division I Championships with a pool record time of 1:49.38, which also established team and personal-records.

“As a senior on the team, I am so incredibly proud of how well we performed and finished our season this weekend at the NEPSAC Division I Championships,” Bastone said. “There was really great competition at this meet and our preparation both in and out of the pool played a huge role in helping us manage our nerves and gain some confidence.”

In the 500-yard freestyle, Bastone produced an All-American time of 4:50.63 on her way to capturing the gold medal in the race. She also set pool and team records in the event for the Tigers. Greenwich Academy sophomore Rory Keller finished fifth in the 500-yard freestyle (5:06.97).

“It was so exciting to break the pool records in both the 200 and 500 on Saturday and I loved cheering on all my teammates,” Bastone said.

The NEPSAC Division I finals began with Greenwich Academy posting a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. Sophomore Bryce Gold, senior Charlotte Milligan, senior Brielle Gold and Keller combined for a time of 1:47.55 for GA. Sacred Heart placed ninth in the 200 medley relay, with junior Julia Pujadas, sophomore Victoria Mordaunt, freshman Lauren McCauley and freshman Irene Robredo registering a time of 1:54.95.

Contributed photo: Bryce Gold of Greenwich Academy won the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke at the NEPSAC Division I Championships, held this past weekend.

Keller had Greenwich Academy’s best finish in the 200-yard individual medley, clocking in at 2:11.08. Loomis Chaffee junior won the event in 2:05.22. The 50-yard freestyle finals saw Brielle Gold finish fifth for GA, touching the wall in 24.19 seconds. Mordaunt was sixth for SHG (24.88), while teammate Jane Cary, a junior, took 11th (24.88 B final). Mena Boardman from Phillips Exeter Academy won the race in a pool-record time of 22.67.

In the 100 butterfly at the Division I finals, GA’s Bryce Gold earned the silver medal, posting a time of 57.17. Mordaunt gave Sacred Heart a fourth-place finish (58.97), while McCauley came in seventh place (1:00.29). Brianna Cong (Phillips Exeter, 54.97) had the top time.

Jane Cary led the Tigers in the 100 freestyle finals with a time of 54.62 (seventh place). Reed mentioned a number of personal-best performances the Tigers accomplished at the NEPSAC meet during the finals and preliminaries.

“Emma Robredo broke two minutes in the 200 freestyle for the first time with a time of 1:59.96 and made it back to swim in finals on Sunday,” Reed noted. “Jane Cary got a lifetime best in the 100 free, as did her sister Laurel Cary. Aitana Ross dropped seven seconds off of her 200 IM. Laura O’Connor dropped five seconds in her 100 free and Lilly Dallesandro did a 28 in her 50 freestyle. At finals, Julia Pujadas did a lifetime best in her 100 back. Victoria Mordaunt, Lauren McCauley, Jane Cary, and Alexandra Bastone all made it back to finals in two events which was a huge help for the team.”

Mordaunt, Emma Robredo, Jane Cary and Bastone teamed up for a stellar sixth-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay (1:41.12) for the Tigers. Bryce Gold claimed the NEPSAC Division I title in the 100 breaststroke, recording a time of 1:04.10 and her sister Brielle was fourth (1:05.83).

Sacred Heart Greenwich senior Alexandra Bastone won two individual events, helped the team earn medals in relay races and earned the NEPSAC Division I 2023 Robertson Award for her great season.

Sacred Heart capped its fourth-place finish at the championship meet by finishing fourth in the final race of the meet – the 400 freestyle relay. McCauley, Robredo, Jane Cary and Bastone produced a time of 3:37.34.

“Lauren, Jane, Emma and I not only broke the school record again, but we were able to hold onto fourth place overall and secure our best school finish in history,” Bastone noted. “Finishing with such a memorable race was an amazing feeling and I am so proud of every member of the team and I know that next year they will have the best time.”

Keller, eighth-grader Jane Lamberton, Brielle Gold and Bryce Gold were seventh for GA in the 400 freestyle relay finals (3:39.25).

Following the meet, Bastone was presented with the prestigious NEPSAC Division I 2023 Robertson Award.

“Every year, for the Robertson Award, coaches vote at the championships for outstanding student-athletes in each division who best exemplify the values of New England Prep School Swimming and Diving,” Reed explained. “I’m so proud and grateful that Alexandra received the Robertson Award. Her dedication to swimming, paired with her strong core values and love for the sport and for Sacred Heart are inspiring for our team and other members of our community. I think all these factors are what pushed Alexandra over the edge for the Robertson Award in the competitive field of athletes up for this award. In the 47 years of the award being given out, Alexandra is the first Sacred Heart swimmer to receive it.”

Said Bastone of receiving the award: “It was such a memorable moment and one that I will carry with me throughout my college swimming experience. Representing Sacred Heart swimming is an honor and one that I will never forget.”

Contributed photo: From left to right: Junior Catherine O’Brien, senior Victoria Zacco and freshman Emma Beatty placed 10th, 12th and fourth, respectively, for Sacred Heart Greenwich at the NEPSAC Division I Diving Championships, recently.

Reed, whose squad went undefeated during the regular season and won the FAA championship meet by one point over Greenwich Academy, recognized her seniors for all they put into the program.

“As the seniors of the team, Laura O’Connor and Alexandra embody everything that I want our team to stand for,” Reed said. “As a captain, Laura provided support and guidance for the team throughout the season. She started swimming for varsity in eighth grade and has been a pillar on this team for five years. With both Laura and Alexandra graduating, there is going to be a big hole to be filled on our team, but we are thankful for the guidance and dedication they have both shown during their time on our team.”

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