GIRLS SWIMMING 2017: It’s no idle claim; numbers show Boyer is Cheshire’s best ever

GIRLS SWIMMING 2017: It’s no idle claim; numbers show Boyer is Cheshire’s best ever

Record-Journal
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Cheshire's Elizabeth Boyer rules the pool in Ram Land Wednesday at Cheshire Community Pool in Cheshire Sep. 6, 2017 | Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal

CHESHIRE — There are questions reporters are compelled to ask and are all but assured of getting an uncertain answer.

This is expected when a coach is asked, “Is this athlete the best in program history?”

Not so with Cheshire swim coach Dan Mascolo. When asked about the career of all-everything senior Liz Boyer, he is definitive in his response.

“I feel confident she’s probably the best all-around swimmer to come through the Cheshire High School swim program,” Mascolo said. “I’ve continued the practice of the previous coach of tracking an overall top 10 list of Cheshire swimmers and she took over first place this past season.”

The successes of Cheshire girls swimming and diving over the past generations under Ed Aston have been well-chronicled. The program is flooded with multiple state champions and All-Americans. It set a national record with 281 straight dual meet victories. According to points records kept since the beginning of the program, Mascolo said Boyer now heads the list. She overtook Sarah Bowman, who was the standard since graduating in 1999.

“It means a lot to me with all of the great swimmers that came here before me, with all of the history that his program represents and being a part of it,” Boyer said Wednesday. “So many amazing names are up there like Sarah Bowman and Kim Jerome. It’s so great to have my name up there with them. It’s exciting.

“We swim for the ‘C’ on our cap; we are Rams,” Boyer added. “There are so many people rooting for the team that helped built this program up. Hopefully, I made some kind of impact on the younger girls here. To be a part of this program is so cool. This program has been successful through so much hard work. It’s really cool to be a part of that.”

The remainder of the Cheshire Top 10 features Carolyn Bowman, (No. 3, 2001), Emily Struck (No. 4, 1991), Cassie Novak (No. 5, 2000), Wendy Whitcomb (tied No. 6, 1999), Melanie Veazey (tied No. 6, 1995), Lia Sgambato (No. 8, 2005), Lindsay Smalec (No. 9, 2014) and Katie Rock (No. 10, 1998).

“Liz has done it with her versatility,” Mascolo said. “She is in the Top 10 in seven events in the (school’s) all-time list.

“It’s really a testament of how hard she has worked,” the coach added. “A lot of times you have girls that just want to work on one or two events. She has worked on everything. She has gotten better in all strokes. The 100 fly was never something that’s been on the radar and she’s won the state title the last two years. She broke the state record in 200 free this past year. She is so versatile and such a hard worker that wants to be good at everything. That doesn’t come through your door every year.”

Boyer owns three individual school records:

■ 100 butterfly (55.85, 2015).

■ 100 breaststroke (1:03.73, 2014).

■ 200 freestyle (1:50.97, 2016).

She shares the breaststroke mark with Jerome, a 2009 grad.

Boyer isn’t done. With a full year left at her disposal, she has more points to add to her school-leading total and a few more records in her sights.

“She is mentally tough,” Mascolo said. “She’s a smart swimmer and is smart in the classroom and she has a high swimming IQ. In addition to that, she’s always working to get better each day in practice and thinking about ways to get better in a different skill each day to be a better swimmer. She’s also been very lucky to have a great group of swimmers that have trained with her over the years. They’ve pushed each other every day in practice.”

Boyer started early with state titles. She won the breaststroke in Class L and at the State Open as a freshman. She won the Class L butterfly crown as a sophomore.

As a junior, Boyer defended her Class L title in the fly and also won the 200 freestyle championship. Plus, she swam a leg in the 400 free relay squad that took home a state crown.

“I like to be put in a lot of different events because it shows how good our training is,” Boyer said. “There’s a lot of versatility on this race. We are always well prepared for each race.”

Individual accomplishments have never been the goal for Boyer and the Rams. It’s been all about scoring points. Mascolo deploys his swimmers in the best way to maximize team success.

“Liz is so versatile,” Mascolo said. “We would see the strengths in our lineup and where we needed a big swim and we would move Liz around. She won the 100 breaststroke as a freshman and didn’t swim it the next year. It’s been all about where she can contribute the most.”

Boyer’s top two events are the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.

“She’s never swam the 200 IM at states,” Mascolo said. “I’m sure that’s something she wanted to do at some point and I would like to see her do that. She’s done such a great job of three years of being so selfless that I would like to reward her if I can.

“She is so selfless and will swim whatever event at any meet, to matter what,” Mascolo said. “It’s how she can contribute best to the team. Right now, she has five different scenarios in her head in how we can be better. She’s great at looking at the big picture and how she can we support the team and score the most points at the end of the day.”

Mascolo has pulled all of the right strings with a talented group. The current Cheshire senior class has never lost a dual meet. The Rams ride a winning streak of 33 into the 2017 season.

They are also serious contenders for a state crown on an annual basis. This year is no exception, with a strong crop of returners and a handful of talented freshman ready to contribute.

“Before I came to the high school team, I always thought of myself as more of a breaststroker,” Boyer said. “But here it’s more about what you can do to contribute to the team. I think I’ve branched out a little bit because that is what we do here. Our training is also very versatile as well.”

Boyer is coming off of a big summer for the Cheshire Sea Dogs. She won the 100 breaststroke at the YMCA Long Course National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. in August.

“That was one of the best races I’ve seen her have. That was years of hard work culminated in that performance,” Mascolo said. “I’m excited to see her build off the summer season and to see her have the senior year she wanted since she got here as a freshman.”

As for her future in the sport, Boyer has narrowed her college search to a handful of Division I schools, but is not close to a decision.

“This year, I’m trying to have the most fun I can,” Boyer said. “It’s my last season and I want to make it the best one and that’s going to be tough because we’ve had some really fun, enjoyable seasons.

“It’s going to be really weird that I won’t be swimming with these girls next year. I enjoy it so much. Hopefully, wherever I go in college, it will be similar to this environment because I love it a lot.”


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