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Swimmers Make Big Splash, Set Records In Championships



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It was quite a performance — one full of record-setting efforts, in fact — by the Newtown High School girls’ swimming and diving team in the South-West Conference championships this fall. With each team competing at its home pool due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions, this marked one more opportunity for the Nighthawks to break pool records, and they certainly cashed in by setting six of them on November 10.

The Hawks, who came in second as a team with 446 points to Weston with 533, had to wait nearly a week after swimming to find out their results since Weston was required to compete on November 14 following coronavirus quarantine. There was plenty of reason for the Nighthawks to celebrate even before knowing their outcome, and despite not having that true competitive atmosphere provided when every conference team races at the same venue and athletes are surrounded by competitors in each lane.

“This year, they had to dig deep and really find it themselves. They stepped up and I could not be prouder. It was really an amazing way to end a tumultuous season,” Newtown Coach Becky Osborne said. “When you do the lineup a week in advance you put everybody where you think that they’re going to shine and cross your fingers and hold your breath. After that, it’s up to them.”

Newtown’s team members certainly made their coach proud, led by Sofia Doersch, Brianna Deierlein, Cate Fischer, Norah Kolb, Payton Bradley, and Caroline Mahoney, who combined for those individual and relay records. NHS also took home a one-two-three finish in the 100 yard freestyle and claimed first in the 200 free relay event.

“This is one of those walk out with your heads held high moments,” Osborne said.

“It was crazy. I thought everyone did so well. It was a testament to all the hard work we put in,” said Mahoney, adding that the Hawks had lots of support along the way.

“I think we had to make adjustments in the beginning,” said Mahoney, whose team was divided into two cohorts for shorter practice sessions only a couple of days per week early on in the season.

In the championships, Newtown’s 200 yard medley relay team of Mahoney, Fischer, Doersch, and Bradley not only set the pool record but also broke a team record with a time of 1:52.65, good for second place in the meet. All told, the Hawks set eight records this season. The 200 freestyle relay of Mahoney, Bradley, Kolb, and Deierlein set the pool record earlier in the season, finishing in a time of 1:41.84.

Deierlein had a pair of individual championships; she set the 200 free pool mark in the championships by clocking in at 1:56.28, and set a new standard in the 100 free, with a time of 53.80. Kolb was second in the 100 in 55.31, and Diellza Limani came in third in the event with a time of 56.83.

Mahoney broke the record in the 50 free in 24.81 and set the 100 backstroke mark by making her final touch in 59.70.

Newtown’s 400 free relay of Mahoney, Doersch, Kolb, and Deierlein broke the pool record in a time of 3:43.33.

Ella Seaver, Izy Cadoff, Grace Fischer, and Elise Barricelli raced in the 200 medley relay event and finished in 2:02.51.

Shayna Millard was Newtown’s second-fastest swimmer in the 200 free race with a time of 2:02.34.

Limani was Newtown’s fastest in the 200 individual medley event in 2:20.77. Bradley finished the 50 in 25.27.

Diver Julia Calabrese had a score of 206.60.

In the 100 butterfly, Doersch clocked in with a time of 1:02.88. Kolb finished the 100 in 55.31, and Limani was next in 56.83.

Bradley was Newtown’s fastest to complete the 500 with a time of 5:26.44.

Millard, Kolb, Bradley, and Deierlein won the 200 free relay in 1:42.79.

Millard was Newtown’s second-fastest finisher in the 100 backstroke in 1:05.39.

It was a competitive heat in the 100 breaststroke event as Cate Fischer edged out sibling Grace Fischer; the sisters had times of 1:10.08 and 1:10.69, respectively.

In the 400 relay race, Limani, Maura Daly, Millard, and Anna Shew combined to finish in 3:56.07.

On November 11, the diving competition took place at Masuk High in Monroe, where the swimming events usually unfold as well. One of Newtown’s divers had to sit out the championships because of protocol due to possible coronavirus exposure in the classroom.

Osborne said Weston either went into its races either well-rested or at a disadvantage from time out of the water — something that can impact different swimmers in a variety of ways — and Stratford High found out only the day before it was scheduled to compete that things had to be shut down due to the impact of the coronavirus in Stratford.

“My heard just goes out to them. These kids train so hard all season,” Osborne pointed out.

This was a challenging season for swimmers in and out of the water, but a finish the Hawks can enjoy.

“It’s really exciting for them and it’s a great way to end the season,” Osborne said.

Nighthawk team members, all of whom qualified for the SWC meet are: Rachel Arena, Elise Barricelli, Payton Bradley, Riley Burns, Isabel Cadoff, Julia Calabrese, Maura Daly, Brianna Deierlein, Sofia Doersch, Cate Fischer, Grace Fischer, Emma Fonck, Bridget Gogliettino, Daniella Guerrieri, Ella Hall, Amelia Hufschmied, Gabby Jimenez, Norah Kolb, Diellza Limani, Emily Longo, Caroline Mahoney, Noelle Marrazzo, Peri Meeker, Anna Metzker, Shayna Millard, Olivia Nikolis, Camille Paradis, Ella Seaver, Anna Shew, Lauren Smiley, Alexa Unger, and Maddy Watson.

Nighthawks who set pool records during the SWC championships are, from left: Sofia Doersch, Brianna Deierlein, Cate Fischer, Norah Kolb, Payton Bradley, and Caroline Mahoney. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Brianna Deierlein was one of Newtown’s pool record-setters in the SWC championships.
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