MIDDLETOWN — The tone was set and the message sent from the very first event Wednesday night at the CIAC Class L girls swimming championship at Wesleyan University.
Cheshire lined up in Lane 4, smack-dab between perennial power New Canaan and six-time defending champion Darien for the meet-opening 200 medley relay and not only won the race, but won it in state-record style.
The Rams were off and kicking. Two hours later, they had officially kicked over Darien’s dynasty, unseating the champs and winning their first state team championship since 2009. Cheshire piled up 854 points and Darien was second with 665, a reversal of last year’s 1-2 finish.
The Rams turned the tide with a wave of first-place finishes and state and/or school records. They were led by old and young. Senior Liz Boyer won the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Freshman Sophie Murphy swept the freestyle sprints. Another freshman, Ali Tyler, won the backstroke in 56.98 seconds and broke a Class L record (57.71) that had been on the books since 1993.
The Rams, who also won all three relays, did a considerable bit of rewriting Wednesday night at the Freeman Athletic Center.
Boyer, Murphy and Tyler teamed with sophomore Julia Stevens to open the show with a state-record 1:43.99 in the 200 medley. Stevens went on to win the 500 freestyle in 4:59.07.
Boyer, the potential All-American, took the 200 IM in 2:02.86. That broke Sarah Bowman’s Cheshire record, set in 1996, by two seconds on the nose. Boyer later returned to the pool to win the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.35.
Murphy took center stage in between. The freshman won the 50 freestyle in 23.76, clipping Emily Struck’s school mark of 23.78, which had stood since 1991. Murphy followed with victory in the 100 free. Her time there was 51.51.
Murphy also swam anchor on the winning 200 freestyle relay. She was joined by Samantha Grenon, Jordyn Deubel and Esther Han. The quartet clocked in at 1:38.13.
Led by Sarah Beverage, Kristie Driscoll, Nicole Cislo and Faith Gambardella, Lyman Hall placed fifth in the Class M meet at SCSU.
The quartet finished second in the medley relay.
Individually, Beverage was fourth in the 50 freestyle and Gambardella was fourth in the 500 free. Cislo came in fifth in the breaststroke. Driscoll placed seventh in the backstroke.