Trumbull swim and dive look to mirror success

Lauren Walsh leads a slew of strong swimmers.

Lauren Walsh leads a slew of strong swimmers.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

Featuring perennial powerhouse teams such as Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield and Staples, the FCIAC is always recognized as one of the most competitive girls swimming conferences in the state.

Last fall, Trumbull also made quite a splash, joining the impressive list of contenders in the FCIAC and state.

The Eagles earned a breakout 2018 season, placing fourth in the team standings at the CIAC Class LL Championships, finishing eighth at the State Open and taking fifth at the FCIAC finals.

“It was a huge step for our program,” Trumbull coach Bill Strickland said. “How the team jelled together at the end of the season was great to see. We set six school records — five swimming and one diving — and overall, our team did a tremendous job.”

Strickland received 2018 FCIAC Coach of the Year honors for Trumbull’s achievements.

“Cracking the top five at FCIACs, top four at states and top eight at the Open was so difficult, so we hope to keep that momentum we gained last year throughout this season,” Strickland said.

Standout distance swimmer Karina Walsh was one of the key graduates from last season’s squad, but the Eagles return a strong nucleus. Lauren Walsh, a sophomore, should spark the team in various events. She’s coming off a freshman season in which she placed sixth at the State Open Championships in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.70) and was second and third in the event at the Class LL and FCIAC finals, respectively.

Walsh also placed eighth at the 2018 State Open in the 200-individual medley (2:07.94), was third in the event at the Class LL competition and was part of the team’s 200 medley relay squad that placed fifth at the Open (1:48.91).

“Lauren is very strong at every stroke,” Strickland said. “Wherever you put her she is going to do well.”

Senior Mia Zajac brings speed to the 50 and 100 freestyle events, where she placed in the top-15 at the State Open last year and was sixth and fourth, respectively at the Class LL finals.

Ashleigh Piro, a senior, was a state qualifier in the 200 IM and butterfly events last season and senior Julia Nevins, who finished in the top-20 at the 2018 State Open in the 100-meter butterfly, should once again, ignite the squad in the butterfly and backstroke.

Senior Regan Ryan, a top-five finisher in the 200 freestyle and 100-meter butterfly at the Class LL finals a year ago, is currently sidelined with a foot injury. Trumbull hopes to see her back in action toward the end of the season.

Katelyn Cerulli, a senior, who placed sixth in the 1-meter diving event at the 2018 Class LL championships, leads the Eagles’ diving squad.

Unlike a lot of teams that’s had four or five meets so far, Trumbull has competed in just one — a loss to defending FCIAC, Class LL and State Open champion Greenwich.

“For the first meet of the season, we did extremely well,” Strickland said. “We put them into some events they don’t normally swim in and they responded well. That meet helped us gauge which areas we need to improve on.”

Trumbull’s schedule picks up this week. They visit Norwalk/McMahon Wednesday, before hosting Ludlowe and Darien on Friday and Monday.

“Competing in the FCIAC pumps us up for states and the Open,” Strickland said. “The success we get in the FCIAC boosts our confidence.”