MIDDLETOWN — At the end of a rebuilding year for the Woodland girls swim team, Hawks coach Mike Magas is pleased with the position of his program.
“All in all, it was a successful year,” Magas said. “We had a lot of new girls so we figured it was going to be a rebuilding year. A lot of the younger girls stepped up and filled in some big roles — especially some freshmen.”
After a fifth-place finish at the Naugatuck Valley League championships earlier in the month, Woodland placed 19th of 32 teams at last week’s Class S meet held at Wesleyan University in Middletown.
Weston took the title with 805 points. Sacred Heart, the NVL champion, placed highest of any league team in fourth with 343.5 points. Woodland tallied 76 points during the competition, which saw the Hawks qualify for five event finals.
Woodland’s best finish came in the 200-yard medley relay, where the Hawks placed 13th. The foursome of Sarah Bryden, Maria Carranza, Brianna Christiano and Emma Sardinskas registered a time of 2 minutes, 9.35 seconds.
Woodland also swam in the other two relays. The Hawks finished 16th in the 400 freestyle relay as Sardinskas, Lisa Thrasher, Tatiana Lynn and Anna Boris checked in at 4:29.77, and the 200 free relay group of Carranza, Thrasher, Sardinskas and Christiano touched 17th in 1:57.80.
Christiano and Carranza also swam in individual finals. Christiano took 20th in the 100 butterfly (1:07.66) while Carranza placed 22nd in the 100 breast (1:19.16).
Those two are among a small group of seniors, which also includes Anna Boris, Katie Blair and Katie Porter, who helped an overall young team adjust to the varsity waters.
“They provided the girls with a positive attitude,” Magas said. “Even though the seniors weren’t all in key positions in terms of swimming, they provided leadership. When girls needed to be uplifted during meets, they were there to do it. That was very important.”
Christiano was among three Hawks to earn All-NVL honors. She was joined by divers Lauren Lombardo and Sara Fowler, each of whom will return next season.
“Not only will our swimmers be strong, but our divers will be strong,” said Magas, looking ahead to next fall. “We should have four very good divers next season.”
Magas also pointed to the performance of Sardinskas, a junior, for adapting well to a change in her main event.
“Emma Sardinskas had a great year,” Magas said. “We turned her into a butterfly swimmer and she did phenomenally. She made top 12 in NVLs and qualified for state trials. She’ll be one of the leaders, as well as Sara Fowler and many of the juniors.”
In all, 17 athletes will be eligible to return to the team next fall. It’s an opportunity that excites Magas with its potential.
“We definitely have a good foundation to build on,” Magas said. “We have a solid sophomore class, soon to be juniors, and it’s our biggest class.”