Swim Team Defeats Brookfield Bobcats, Edges Pomperaug Panthers By One Point
Newtown High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team followed up a 96-85 win over Brookfield on October 11 with a 93-92 win over visiting Pomperaug of Southbury on October 15. The NHS-Pomperaug meet was a battle of 5-1 teams that had only lost to powerhouse Weston and was tightly contested, as was expected by the Nighthawks.
The teams traded one-point leads after the 200-yard freestyle relay, 100 backstroke, and 100 breaststroke, leaving the Panthers holding an 86-85 edge heading into the final competition of the meet, the 400 free relay.
Newtown claimed first in the relay to score eight crucial points and seal the win. Newtown’s and Pomperaug’s best relays were neck-and-neck through the first two legs of the race. The third Nighthawk swimmer, Mopsey Seaver, pulled away, and relay anchor Payton Bradley protected the lead. In the end, the NHS contingent of Olivia Renkert, Nora Kolb, Seaver, and Bradley won in 3:54.19, besting Pomperaug’s top relay time of 4:03.68.
Nighthawk Coach Becky Osborne noted that Seaver’s efforts were the turning point in the race and key to the meet victory.
“She stepped up and she came to play today,” Osborne said.
As much as one swimmer’s work was a huge difference-maker, it was a collaborative effort that led Newtown to the team victory. The Nighthawks were without one of their top swimmers with four-event competitor Shayna Millard temporarily sidelined. This reshuffled the lineup and resulted in some team members swimming events in which they do not usually compete, Osborne said. The Nighthawks stepped up and came through with seven first-place finishes and six second-place outcomes.
The Pomperaug Panthers had five firsts and five second-place finishes, winning the first two relay races of the meet to rack up significant points.
“Pomperaug’s a great team. They matched up with us really well,” Osborne said.
In the first event, the 200 medley relay, Newtown’s Caroline Mahoney, Renkert, Cate Fischer, and Bradley was second in 1:58.43, less than a second behind Pomperaug’s winning relay contingent.
Seaver and Kolb gave the Nighthawks a one-two finish in the 200 freestyle race with times of 2:05.51 and 2:09.57. Mahoney won the 50 free in 26.06.
Hannah Weatherby won the diving competition with a score of 195.8. The Hawks held a 39-38 lead heading into the break.
Renkert was second in the 100 butterfly race in 1:05.38, out-touched by the slimmest of margins as Pomperaug’s Emily Strickland finished in 1:05.25. Kolb placed second in the 100 free, completing the race in 58.72, just over a second behind Pomperaug’s winning time. The Nighthawks went one-two in the 500 free with Seaver clocking in at 5:39.11 and Bradley finishing in 5:45.34.
Newtown’s 200 free relay group of Mahoney, Fischer, Lianna Perazzo, and Kolb was second in 1:50.51.
Mahoney was first in the backstroke race, making her final touch in 1:03.96, exactly one second faster than Pomperaug’s top time, giving the Hawks a 78-77 lead.
Fischer was first in the breaststroke event in 1:14.47, less than a second better than Pomperaug’s runner-up time. The Panthers, by virtue of earning second, third, and fourth in the event, outscored the Hawks by two points in the race for an 86-85 lead. That set the stage for Newtown’s meet-deciding win in the 400 relay.
Osborne said it was good to see the swimmers perform well under pressure, but the coach half-joked that she prefers meets not being so close but that Assistant Coach Lisa Irving enjoys the nail-biters.
“Lisa loves them; I hate them,” Osborne said light-heartedly.
Against the Brookfield Bobcats, the Nighthawks sealed the team win after the 100-yard backstroke race and exhibitioned the last two events.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Mahoney, Renkert, Fischer, and Kolb was first in a time of 1:57.99. The team of Bradley, Isabel Cadoff, Lily van der Kroef, and Perazzo was third in 2:05.96.
Millard won the 200 freestyle race in 2:02.65, and Seaver placed third in 2:05.61. After Brookfield earned the top two spots in the 200 individual medley, with Renkert Newtown’s fastest with a third-place finish of 2:22.54, NHS earned first and second in the 50 free as Mahoney and Kolb finished in times of 25.74 and 26.60.
Hannah Weatherby was third, as the Bobcats had the top two diving scores and closed to within 42-36 heading into the 100 butterfly race. Renkert was second in the fly, clocking in at 1:04.03, and Barden came in third with a time of 1:12.32. It was a 51-43 Newtown with six events to go when the Nighthawks began to pull away.
Kolb, van der Kroef, and Perazzo went one-two-three in the 100 free with times of 58.54, 1:03.23, and 1:03.94.
Brookfield took first in the 500, but Seaver was second in 5:38.75, and Bradley placed third in 5:39.63.
Newtown’s 200 free relay contingent of Mahoney, Kolb, Perazzo, and Millard was first in 1:48.23. The team of Cadoff, Maura Daly, Natalie Barden, and Fischer was third in 1:56.92.
NHS had the top three competitors in the backstroke race as Mahoney clocked in at 1:03.91, Bradley was second in 1:10.79, and Grace Bertsche placed third with a time of 1:12.38.
Fischer had the second-fastest time in the 100 breaststroke, making her final touch in 1:14.80, and van der Kroef was third in the race with a time of 1:19.88.
In the 400 relay, the best time was turned in by Barden, Renkert, Seaver, and Bradley in 4:05.48. Rachel Arena, Bertsche, Daly, and Alexa Unger placed third in 4:30.65.
Newtown hosts New Milford on Senior Night, Friday, October 18, at 6:30 pm.