Eagles' victories add to positive vibe
The Trumbull High girls swimming and diving team posted its first two wins of the season with a 100-71 victory over St. Joseph on Oct. 2 and 108-75 over Westhill of Stamford on Oct. 4.
The Eagles have been progressing well under the captaincy of seniors Alexa Bragg, Tara Merkle, Jessica Komorowski and Maddy Collins.
“It needs a different strategy to train high school teams because of how short the season is; but it has been a fun, learning experience,” said Bill Strickland, who is in his first season at the helm after training club swim teams for several years now.
He had to step right into the season and work with the girls’ strengths and weaknesses in different events in a very short time so that he could strategize the line-up for their meets.
The girls also had to quickly adapt to the new coaching style and lingo.
The Eagles have a great depth in the freestyle events with Merkle, Bragg, Mollie Coleman, Sarah Dwyer, and freshmen Sammi Werner and Victoria Batchelor.
The team has a surge of backstrokers consisting of Bragg, Divya Ganugapati, Amanda Daigle, Werner and Noelle Pedersen.
In the butterfly and individual medley events, the Eagles boast Coleman, Bragg, and sophomores Skyler Marini and Stephanie Chow.
A major drawback that the Eagles are facing this season is the breaststroke event. With the graduation of two breaststrokers, the void has been hard to fill.
Freshman Delaney Walsh, and juniors Coleman and Ganugapati have stepped up to fit into this role; thus earning points for the team in this event.
The depth of swimmers’ talents is shown in their winning two of the possible three places that can earn scores.
The Eagles have support from seniors Collins and Komorowski, along with juniors Elianna Gerb, and Chiaki Santiago.
On coming swimmers include sophomores Maddie Weinstein, Halley Shambra, and freshmen Bridget Nusom, Natalia Ignatov, Emma Roca, Sejal Kabre and Theresa Nguyen.
The diving team has been performing well under the tutelage of coach Rob Devine.
Junior Tara Oliver has teamed up with sophomore Caitlyn Briganti and freshman Clare Hampford to lead the diving team.
They are supported by freshmen Emma Gorton and Tess Gorton.
Katie Denicola has been a great support by serving double duty as team manager and swimmer.
The Eagles have stepped up their workouts to face the challenges of their upcoming meets.
Losses to Wilton High and Staples of Westport were marginal after fighting until the last event.
Merkle said: “Everyone is really positive; and even when someone doesn’t swim their best, we encourage them to try again.”
Bragg said: “Getting to know all of my teammates has been one of my favorite parts of the season; from singing on the bus to putting our best efforts in the meets. I will miss these girls so much.”
Strickland said: “The girls have really come together as a team to compete and support each other at every practice and meet. It really provides a great environment for them, in and out of the water. We look forward to continuing to build our team to the top levels of competition.”
The Eagles defeated Westhill of Stamford by a score of 108-75 on Oct. 4.
Mollie Coleman (100 butterfly and 200 IM), Sarah Dwyer (200 and 100 freestyle) and Alexa Bragg (100 backstroke and 500 freestyle) were double winners
Tara Merkle was first in the 50 freestyle.
Dwyer, Samantha Werner, Bragg and Coleman touched the wall first in the 400 freestyle relay.
Trumbull topped St. Joseph for its first win of the season on Oct. 2.
Coleman, Divya Ganugapati, Delaney Walsh and Dwyer led the way to the 100-71 victory with a first-place finish of 200.09 in the 200 medley relay.
Skyler Marini was best in the 200 IM (2:28.15) and the 100 butterfly (1:05.96).
Bragg won the 200 freestyle (2:11.78) and Tara Oliver was the best diver.
Merkle (50 freestyle), Dwyer (500 freestyle), Werner (100 backstroke) and Coleman (100 breaststroke) were all individual winners.
Merkle, Bragg, Victoria Batchelor and Coleman won the 200 freestyle relay (1:50.01) and Bragg, Ganugapati, Werner and Dwyer took the 400 freestyle relay (4:09.71).
Bragg was best in the 200 freestyle with a time of 203:15 versus Greenwich.
Merkle was first in the 50 freestyle (26.33) and Coleman was tops in the 500 freestyle (5:25.27).
Trumbull will host New Canaan at Hillcrest Middle School on Friday at 4 p.m. and Danbury comes to town to take on the Eagles on Wednesday at 4.