WATERBURY — A closer look into Woodland’s fifth-place finish at the Naugatuck Valley League girls swimming and diving championships last weekend illustrates more positives than one might think.
The Hawks produced a flurry of personal-best and lifetime-best results, many from swimmers who expect to be back next season. Woodland head coach Mike Magas was pleased.
“I would estimate that about 90 percent of our swimmers swam lifetime-bests in the trials or finals,” Magas said.
Throughout the season, the Hawks may have been portrayed as a squad recovering from the loss of highly-touted talent, but last weekend’s meet could have been the turning point. Next season, the Hawks could be viewed as contenders in the upper echelon of the NVL.
The overall event was won by Sacred Heart, followed by Torrington, Naugatuck and Watertown.
Sophomore Lauren Lombardo earned the bronze by taking third in the diving event, while teammate and junior Sarah Fowler finished fourth. Lombardo put up a team-best time in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 28.99 seconds, while another sophomore Morgan Reichard gained promising times in the 100 free and breaststroke.
“We were considered a rebuilding team and were expected to finish in the middle of the pack,” Magas said. “But, in many ways, I think we exceeded expectations.”
Senior Brianna Christiano took fourth with a personal-best in the butterfly (1:06.53) and seventh in the 200 free with another best time in the 200 free (2:12.99). Fellow classmate Maria Carranza took 12th in the 200 IM.
Junior Emma Sardinskas took 10th in the 100 butterfly with a result of 1:13.45 and 12th in the 500 free with a time of 6:30.69. The race also featured a lifetime-best from freshman Veronica Dergachev (6:53.83).
In the 100 backstroke, sophomore Sarah Bryden and Fowler finished less than a second apart, and 14th and 15th respectively.
In the breaststroke, Carranza finished seventh (1:19.02), while senior Katie Porter took 13th (1:25.55), while sophomore Lisa Thrasher took 14th (1:25.75).
Sophomore Erin Mascoli had a lifetime-best time in the 200 IM, while another sophomore Chloe Ariola and freshman Tatiana Lynn also competed and will have growing expectations for next season.
“The team is really excited and already talking about next season,” Magas said. “We’ll definitely have higher expectations next season.”
Woodland will finish the season at the state championship meets. Diving finals were Wednesday at Middletown, swim trials will be Saturday in Plainville and swim finals are next Wednesday at Wesleyan.