WATERBURY — The waves in the pool were still settling after the first race and it was already apparent that last week’s NVL championship meet was going to come down to two teams — Sacred Heart and Seymour. Woodland found itself in a battle for third with Watertown.
Sacred Heart topped Seymour and won the title with 773 points. Woodland took fourth with 579 points behind Watertown’s 601 points.
“I’m so proud of these girls and what they have accomplished this year,” Woodland head coach Mike Magas said. “We knew we had our work cut out against Sacred Heart, Seymour and Watertown but there was something about this year’s team where they had the confidence that they belonged here with the best of them.”
Individually, Woodland’s Dia Gawronski made the biggest splash at the meet. The junior transfer student just missed setting two NVL records.
Gawronski won the 200 IM in 2:10.61, just 0.2 seconds off the record. Gawronski broke the Kennedy High pool record when she took first in the 100 butterfly in 58.15, and again missed the league record by hundredths of a second.
“Dia has such heart and expects so much out of herself so it was no surprise to see her do so well,” Magas said.
Gawronski’s effort didn’t go unnoticed. She earned the Most Outstanding Performer award as the only double winner of the meet.
“I have been swimming for 10 years, and have swam in some pretty big meets, but nothing can compare to the excitement and the atmosphere of the NVL championship,” Gawronski said.
The foursome of Jordan Williams, Taylor Amore, Kyla Drewry and Aly Rojcov kicked things off for the Hawks by taking sixth in the 200 medley relay in 2:07.49.
Senior Tatianna Lynn finished second in the 200 freestyle in 2:05.91. Lynn came through with another second-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:44.35). The senior was also part of the second-place 200 freestyle relay team of Rojcov, Brooke Pope and Gawronski, and a member of the third-place 400 freestyle relay team with Drewry, Pope and Gawronski.
“Tatianna has come such a long way and her two silver medals were huge in the NVL championship meet,” Magas said. “I think it’s a result of her really pushing herself this year. She set some pretty lofty goals for herself and I think she went above and beyond the goals she set.”
Pope placed fourth in the 50 freestyle in 26.08 with Drewry swimming to sixth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 100 backstroke. Amore added a tenth-place showing in the 100 breaststroke.
Woodland went into the NVL finals with 47 points thanks to divers Maddie Hoxie and Julianna Bartolucci. Hoxie finished fifth (323) at the diving final Nov. 2 at Woodland and Bartolucci earned eighth (241.50).
Zarina Garcia, Morgan McSherry, Casey Brooks, Camille Terrell, Morgan Swift and Victoria Gugliotti also scored points for the Hawks to account for the team’s fourth-place finish, which was the Hawks’ highest finish since the 2011 team finished third.
“The team not only met our expectations but they exceeded them,” Magas said. “From the first swimmer down to the last they all swam best times and you can’t ask much more than that.”
Woodland will swim in the Class S state championship on Nov. 16 at Wesleyan University.