MIDDLETOWN — The Southington girls swim team finished a strong season with some impressive performances at the Class LL championships at Wesleyan University on Tuesday night.
After a 9-1 regular season and the team title at the CCC West postseason meet, Southington finished sixth overall in Class LL behind champion Greenwich.
It was the best finish in the 15-year tenure of Southington swim coach Evan Tuttle. It was also the most swimmers he’s sent to states; 13 Blue Knights were in the pool at Wesleyan.
“It’s a really good team finish for Class LL against the best teams in the state,” said Tuttle. “It was the best team finish as long as I can remember. Every girl in the pool today did her job and that’s why we finshed so well.”
The Blue Knights were led by Ella Nadeau. The senior placed fourth in both the 200-yard individual medley (2:08.12) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.62). Both times are new school records.
Nadeau narrowly missed All-State in both events. (The top three get that recognition.)
“Ella had a hell of a meet,” Tuttle said. “She’s a fierce competitor and there was no way she was not going to compete and post career-best times.
“She’s probably the best athlete here to not be All-State,” Tuttle added. “No one is more deserving. She competes and inspires her teammates.”
Nadeau opened the night on Southington’s 200 medley relay, which finished fifth with a time of 1:51.36. Nadeau was joined by fellow seniors Julia Laszewski and Veronica Okurowski and sophomore anchor Alexandra Szczepanik.
Okurowski, seeded eighth in the 100 butterfly, delivered a fifth-place finish in 59.82, a mark that will likely get her a spot in Sunday’s State Open at Yale.
Southington held its position in the 200 free relay, placing fourth with junior Mariam Labadze, Okurowski, senior Kyra Nguyen and Szczepanik (1:43.79).
Finishing off the meet for the Blue Knights were Laszewski, Nguyen, Labadze and Nadeau. They were sixth in the 400 free relay in 3:42.91.
The Knights have been led all season by seniors Jillyann Brush-Shulthiess, Amelia Cieslik, Julianne Darling, Sara Flynn, Alexa Henderson, Ella Mackenzie, Emily Morales, Victoria Korczak, Laszewski, Nadeau and Nguyen.
“The senior class is a very talented group and have been leading our program for four years,” Tuttle said. “It’s not a mystery why we have gotten better every year. Our year isn’t over. We will be competing at Opens, but this was a great meet for us.”
Individual Class LL champs included Greenwich teammates Payton Foster (200 IM, 2:01.80 and 500 free, 4:59.11) and Sena Bozkurt (100 backstroke, 57.41).
Manchester Co-Op teammates Riley Anderson (50 free, 22:81 and 100 free, 50.50) and Jocelyn Niemczyk (100 breaststroke, 1:03:62) also captured gold, as did Fairfield Ludlowe’s Kathleen Murray (100 fly, 53.98).
The opening 200 medley relay went to Greenwich’s Julia Kozma, Sydney Jee, Sena Bozkurt and Sofie Wang (1:45.73). The Cardinals also took the second 200 freestyle relay in 1:35:02 with the team of Wang, Kensie Worden, Wesley Wales and Foster.
The final relay was won by Ridgefield. The Tigers took the 400 freestyle with the team of Lily Archibald, Bridget Kelly, Keira Giles and Ava Ward (3:29.10).