Swim Team Sets Records In Second-Place SWC Finish
Sparked by a record-setting performance by its 200 yard freestyle relay team, Newtown High School’s girls’ swimming and diving team placed second in the South-West Conference championships, which wrapped up with swimming events at Masuk High in Monroe on November 1.
Perennial powerhouse Pomperaug of Southbury won the competition with 581 points. Newtown scored 415 to beat out Weston (third place with 391 points) for the runner-up team finish. Brookfield was fourth and host Masuk was fifth in the 11-team championship.
Newtown’s 200 relay team of Mary Hufziger, Eliza Eggleston, Amanda Mele, and Amy Martinelli combined for a time of 1:40.30, which set not only a team record, but also a conference championship meet mark, Newtown Coach Zach Gauvin said.
The Nighthawks already had a record-breaking effort in the diving portion of the championships, which were held in Southbury on October 29. Kari Djonne, with 489.15 points, broke a five-year-old SWC record. Djonne led a one-three-five finish as teammates Gillian Eckwall, with a score of 392.20, and Emma Wolfman, with a score of 320.85, were third and fifth, respectively. Additionally, Newtown diver Sarah MacMullen was 12th with a score of 271.75. Collectively, the divers racked up big points – 63 to be exact – for the Nighthawks. Djonne earned 22 points, Eckwall contributed 18, Wolfman 16, and MacMullen seven.
The record-setting relay group, which scored 44 points, represented Newtown’s only first-place finish in the swimming events, but the Hawks had plenty of top-ten outcomes to pile up significant points.
Annika Fagerholm was second in the 100 breaststroke race, making her final touch in 1:14.21 for 19 points.
Newtown earned fourth place in the other two relay races as the 200 medley contingent of Megan McDonald, Fagerholm, Eggleston, and Mele had a time of 1:55.44 for 34 points in the opening event of the day, and the 400 free relay team of Hufziger, Bridget Duero, McDonald, and Martinelli had a time of 3:50.45, also scoring 34 points, in the final event of the afternoon.
McDonald came in seventh in the 200 individual medley race in 2:20.40 for 14 points. In the 50 yard freestyle event, the Nighthawks had four among the top ten. Mele was fourth in 25.48 for 17 points, Martinelli came in sixth in 25.73 for 15 points, Hufziger was seventh in 25.82 for 14 points, and Eggleston came in tenth in 26.37 for nine more points.
Eggleston finished seventh in the 100 butterfly race, completing the race in 1:04.25 for 14 points, and Julia DiMartino was tenth in the butterfly race, making her final touch in 1:04.99 for ten points.
Newtown notched another high point-getting performance in the 100 freestyle event with another effort that produced four finishers among the top ten. Martinelli was fourth in 56.06 for 17 points, Mele was sixth in 57.01 for 15 points, Emily Payne came in eighth in 57.04, good for 13 points, and Hufziger was ninth in a time of 57.32 for a dozen points.
In the 100 backstroke race, Payne was Newtown’s top finisher, placing fourth in 1:02.99 for 17 points, and McDonald placed eighth in 1:04.98 for 13 points.
Gauvin was very pleased with his team’s times and noted that Pomperaug swam especially fast in a meet that the coach noted was chockfull of fast times across the board. Newtown’s impressive times are even more exceptional given the circumstances.
“The girls swam well. Most aren’t rested or shaved down yet so for them to swim as well as they did gives us hope for great things to come for the state championships,” Gauvin said. “Our hopes are very, very high for the state season.”
The Newtown coach added that he’s hoping for a top-five finish in the Class LL state championships. The swimming portion is scheduled for November 12 at Wesleyan University in Middletown. The state diving championships will be held November 6 at Bulkeley High in Hartford.