SOUTHINGTON — The Southington swimming and diving team completed a perfect 5-0 season this fall.
Due to the pandemic, it was an abbreviated season for the Blue Knights. There will, however, be a considerable post-script for at least three of their number.
A trio of Southington swim seniors put pen to paper this week to formalize college commitments. Meghan Hammarlund (Sacred Heart) and Lizy Beaulieu (Fairfield) are staying in-state to compete in Division I, while Adessa Noyes is bound for Division III Keene State in New Hampshire.
Hammarlund and Beaulieu leave their names behind on the record board above the Southington YMCA pool deck. Hammarlund holds the program marks in the butterfly and backstroke, and as part of two relays. Beaulieu broke the Southington girls’ six-dive record last month.
Noyes, meanwhile, will be off to Keene State after overcoming some obstacles in her Southington career.
“The best way to describe Adessa over the last four years is pure grit and determination,” remarked Southington swim coach Evan Tuttle. “She works harder in pursuit of her goals than anyone I’ve ever met.
“I know she’s been dreaming of competing at the next level for as long as I’ve known her and maybe longer,” Tuttle added. “She’s attained that goal through a fair amount of adversity and battling injury along the way and she never gave up. If she continues to compete at Keene next year in the same manner of persistence and stubborn resilience that she had this year with us, she will continue attain more and more goals of hers.”
Noyes is the daughter of Matt and Melissa Noyes. She will study Special Education and Elementary Education at Keene State.
“This is an experience I have learned a lot from and I’ve been able to learn more about myself as an athlete,” Noyes said. “I’ve met many people that have taught me so much.”
Noyes best event is the 100-yard butterfly. She was slowed by a shoulder injury this season.
“My strengths as a swimmer are that I’m a hard worker and I push myself and my teammates in the pool,” Noyes said. “I like to win and I like to push it to the limit.”
One of the swimmers Noyes helped to push is Hammarlund, who departs as one of most decorated swimmers in school history. At last year’s State Open, Hammarlund posted the fastest times in Southington girls’ history in the 100 butterfly (58.19) and backstroke (58.90).
Hammarlund was also part of school-record performances in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. She was All-State in the butterfly.
“She’s been All-Conference every year and has won a number of individual conference titles,” Tuttlet noted. “She has a number of medal finishes in Class LL and at the State Open. She’s had an impressive and storied career here at Southington High School.
“Without a doubt, she will continue to reap the same success at Sacred Heart next year that she’s had with us the last four years.”
Hammarlund said signing with the Pioneers was a special moment. She also considered Providence, Fairfield, Assumption and Marist before deciding on Sacred Heart.
“I’ve been working hard my entire life and to able to sign and push my career even further makes me feel so good,” Hammarlund said. “I’m going to remember the family that was created with this team. We were all so close. I’m hoping to have a similar experience at Sacred Heart.”
Hammarlund, the daughter of John and Debbie Hammarlund, said finishing with an unblemished record was a big achievement for the 2020 squad.
“All of the hard work paid off,” she said. “We all worked so hard in and out of the pool and it was such a good accomplishment.”
Beaulieu was a key piece of that 5-0 run. With a score of 251.85 at the Maloney pool on October 28, Beaulieu demolished Southington’s six-dive record by more than 25 points.
“It’s one of the better diving performances that I’ve seen in my tenure of coaching,” said Tuttle. “She’s been with us all four years. When she first started, she was the only one on the diving board for the girls team and now we have six divers.”
“That’s a testiment to the diving program and our diving coach Jan (Zagorski), but also to Lizy,” Tuttle continued. “Her other peers and divers flock to her to compete with her. She’s done a phenomenal job not only improving her own standards of excellence, but also helping to elavate the standards of excellence for the entire diving program.”
That standard extends to academics — Beaulieu is the swim team’s Record-Journal Scholar-Athlete — and it extends to gymnastics, as well. Beaulieu was a member of Southington’s Class LL and State Open champion team in that sport.
Beaulieu said the six-dive record had been in her sights since she was a freshman.
“I knew I had to do it in my senior year,” Beaulieu said. “After that, I stopped worrying about the record and started diving like I know how to dive.”
Beaulieu went on to post an 11-dive score of 325.95 in the virtual meets that fed into the CCC postseason tabulations. That placed her fourth in the conference.
Beaulieu’s Southington teammate in both diving and gymnastics, Kelly Perrotti, had the top CCC 11-dive score with 361.10. Perrotti is going on to compete in gymnastics at Limestone University in South Carolina.
As for Beaulieu, she’ll be a Pre-Med student majoring in Biology at Fairfield.
“This is a huge accomplishment for me,” Beaulieu said. “I didn’t expect to be diving in college.”