Trumbull team earns high marks
The Trumbull High girls swim team continued to excel at the postseason swim meets, as the rebuilding Eagles swam to a middle-of-the-pack finish at the Class LL championship meet.
Greenwich won the Class LL title, scoring 804 points, with the usual suspects Amity of Woodbridge finishing second at 513 team and Glastonbury placing third with 500.
Trumbull at 3-6 on the season under first-year head coach Bill Strickland and diving coach Rob Devine, wasn’t considered to be a threat but the Eagles put up a solid performance to land in the eighth spot out of the 18 teams in the field.
Trumbull also made some noise at the State Open, finishing 29th out of the 57 teams that qualified by racking up 49 points.
Darien was the Open champion, scoring 497 points with New Canaan claiming the second spot at 411.
Trumbull was led by senior captains Jessica Komorowski, Alexa Bragg, Tara Merkle and Maddy Collins. The Eagles struggled at the start of the season, but came on to reach peak performance as the season came to a close.
“The season really went by fast,” said Strickland. “There wasn’t a whole lot of time to prepare, and my senior captains did a tremendous job bringing this team together from day one.
“They were an inspiration and a great example for the younger girls. It was a learning experience but it was an awful lot of fun along the way. I’m proud of the effort these girls showed in the postseason swims.”
At the State Open, the Eagles proved to be competitive against the large field of teams.
The 200 medley relay team of Bragg, freshman Delaney Walsh, junior Mollie Coleman and Merkle swam to a time of 1:55.86 scoring 10 team points by placing 20th out of the 24 teams that qualified for the event.
Coleman broke into the top 10 with a ninth-place finish in the 100 butterfly with an effort of 59.23, racking up 18 team points for the Eagles. She also swam to a 20th-place finish in the 500 freestyle, putting up a time of 5:18.36.
Bragg pulled in a 13th-place showing in the 100 backstroke at 1:00.48, and in a surprise for Trumbull freshman Clare Hampford scored a solid 282.95 in diving to place 21st.
“I thought we did extremely well at the State Open,” said Strickland. “With two individual swimmers, a relay team and a diver I thought we represented Trumbull well.”
It was at the Class LL meet that the 200 medley relay foursome of Bragg, Coleman, Walsh and Merkle swam to a sixth-place finish in 1:55.15.
Coleman had a sensational meet, swimming to a fifth-place finish in the 500 freestyle with a solid 5:17.06, and then landing a sixth-place showing in the 100 butterfly with a 1:00.10.
Sophomore Sarah Dwyer made her presence felt, scoring 32 team points with a 10th-place finish in the 200 freestyle at 2:00.21 and a 17th-place effort in the 100 freestyle at 55.52.
Bragg swam to a sixth-place finish in the 100 backstroke at 1:00.45, Merkle added an eighth-place finish in the 50 freestyle at 25.20, and Hampford scored a diving total of 322.05 to land in fifth place, as the three solid performances garnered the Eagles 68 team points.
The 200 freestyle relay squad of junior Elianna Gerb, senior Madeleine Collins, freshman Victoria Batchelor and Merkle swam to an 11th-place finish in 1:46.85.
The 400 freestyle relay foursome of Dwyer, freshman Samantha Werner, freshman Noelle Pedersen and Bragg raced to a 10th-place finish with an effort of 3:51.86.
Other top finishers for the Eagles were junior Divya Ganugapati, who posted seasonal-best times in her individual events; she placed 18th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:05.21 and 19th in the 100 back putting up a time of 1:04.61.
Junior Tara Oliver was 19th in diving scoring a 274.45, sophomore Skyler Marini was 13th in the 100 butterfly at 1:03.14 and sophomore Stephanie Chow was 18th in the butterfly at 1:03.28.
Throughout the season Trumbull has made tremendous progress with a large group of young swimmers, who continued to improve with each meet.
Juniors Chiaki Santiago, Amanda Daigle and Katie Denicola all contributed to the Eagles success this season, along with sophomores Maddie Weinstein, Halley Shambra and diver Caitlyn Briganti.
A strong freshman class of Theresa Nguyen, Sejal Kabre, Natalia Ignatov and Emma Roca, along with Emma Gorton, Tess Gorton and Bridget Nusom, will give Strickland plenty of options to go to next season.
“Going into the season I had very little time to find out what I had and where this program was going,” said Strickland.
“But the relationships from the seniors right down to the freshman developed very quickly and we became a real tight-knit team.
“We have a great group of freshman and sophomores that are improving everyday. We have a solid core of juniors who will lead the way next season.
“They can’t wait for the start of next season and neither can I.”
Notes: Trumbull competed in FCIACS finals in Greenwich, with the Eagles coming in eighth overall. Senior Alexa Bragg placed fourth in the 100 backstroke and 16th in the 200 freestyle. Senior Tara Merkle placed fourth in the 50 freestyle. Junior Mollie Coleman placed fifth in the 500 freestyle and eighth in the 100 butterfly.
Sophomore Sarah Dwyer placed eighth in the 200 freestyle and 15th in the 100 freestyle.