Pool Hawks cap school-best season

MIDDLETOWN — The Woodland girls’ swimming and diving squad put the lid on its most successful season in school history Saturday at the Class S state championships at Wesleyan University in Middletown.

After placing a school-record third in the Naugatuck Valley League championship Nov. 7 at Kennedy High, the Hawks sent swimmers to participate in nine events—five individual swims, three relays, and the diving championship.

Woodland managed an 11th-place finish with 212 points, trailing the top three—East Catholic, Weston, and New Fairfield—as well as four NVL schools (Seymour, Sacred Heart, Holy Cross, and Watertown), showing the strength of the Black and Gold’s league slate.

Both senior Jill Pagoni and sophomore Katie-Jean Hinckley performed well in each of their races. Pagoni hit the pool for both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle swims, placing in the top eight in each. The senior posted a sixth-best time of 25.97 seconds in heat A of the 50 before winning heat B of the 100 with a time of 57.13.

“I was happy because I had the best times that I’ve ever had in my entire swim career,” Pagoni said. “My goal was to beat Deirdre [Burke’s] record in the 50 free, and even though I didn’t reach my goal, I’m still pretty satisfied with how I did.”

Hinckley routinely posted Woodland’s best times throughout the season and continued to do so at the Class S meet with a pair of top-nine finishes. Hinckley placed ninth in the 200-yard freestyle by winning heat B in 2 minutes, 5.02 seconds before posting a sixth-place time in the 500-yard freestyle with a mark of 5:33.39.

The Hawks’ relay squads also performed well, as two of the three won their heats to post top-ten-overall finishes. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Pagoni, Hinckley, freshman Sydney Corneau and sophomore Emily Soulier placed eighth with a time of 1:48.43, and that same foursome finished ninth in the 400-yard version of the race in 4:03.45. The 200-yard medley relay squad of senior Alyssa Maggiore, senior Sam Angeloszek, freshman Rachel Gerard, and junior Chloe Flanagan put up a 15th-best time of 2:15.54.

In other events, sophomore Dayna Chucta earned an 8th-place showing in the diving event with 283.95 points, while senior Lizzy Patrick finished 19th with 176.10 points. Angeloszek also finished 24th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:22.87.

“I think everyone was happy with this year and that we came in third place at NVLs,” Pagoni said. “That’s the best we have ever done in the history of Woodland.”

“What will be special are the memories I’ve made with this team, especially my three years with Coach Magas,” Angeloszek added. “He was the best coach I’ve ever had, and he really knows how to be a caring coach while still holding to the rigor of the sport.”