BEACON FALLS — For the first time since the record board at the Woodland pool started hanging, no names on the wall will be in the pool.
With the graduation of Chrissy Leeper, all of the Hawks’ girls record-holders have moved on from the program. That leaves the names and times posted on the wall as motivation for this year’s crop of athletes.
“Especially the first time girls walk in here, it gives them an idea of what they have to shoot for in their event to get their name up there to be enshrined,” Woodland coach Mike Magas said. “It’s a great incentive, and I’ve had a few girls tell me they want the records. Now they just have to get in the pool and work for it.”
One of those girls is Brianna Christiano, one of Woodland’s four senior captains. Christiano is a utility swimmer whose strengths are in the sprint freestyle, butterfly and IM.
“Girls compare their times to those times and they try to beat them,” Christiano said. “Sometimes it’s far-fetched but they try their hardest. And they usually look at one as a freshman and try to beat it by the time they’re a senior.”
Christiano is joined by four other seniors: Katie Blair, Anna Boris, Maria Carranza and Katie Porter. Blair, Boris and Porter are co-captains and Carranza is in his first year after moving from Naugatuck, although she’s currently nursing a shoulder injury.
Boris will compete in sprint freestyle and butterfly events, while Blair is a utility swimmer who can fill in gaps in distance freestyle, breaststroke and IM. Porter and Carranza also specialize in the breaststroke.
“I’m really looking forward to working on individual improvements, as well as the team as a whole,” Boris said. “I think we’re going to have a great season.”
Magas said he thinks the team’s strengths will be in the freestyle, IM and diving. The team has four divers this season, including Sarah Fowler, Lisa Thrasher, Lauren Lombardo and Lexie Byczko.
“That’s definitely going to be a plus for us,” Magas said. “We’re going to be one of the only teams in the league with four divers.”
Woodland has a deep group of juniors and sophomores. They include juniors Emma Sardinskas, Katie Drewry and Kiley Soulier and sophomores Chloe Ariola, Sarah Bryden, Erin Mascoli, Morgan Reichard, Karli Reynolds and Katie Rioux.
The Hawks also boast a freshman class about which Magas is excited, including Taylor Amore, Veronica Dergachev, Tatiana Lynn and Olivia Rua.
“We’re somewhat young and inexperienced, but the girls are working hard and doing all the things we’ve asked for so far,” Magas said. “We’ve had some surprises from the newer girls and the veteran girls are doing what we’re expecting of them.”
Porter said by the end of the season she expects the team to be a competitive group.
“I think a lot of girls are going to get best times this season,” Porter said. “Everybody’s going to get settled into their strokes.”
Woodland begins the season Friday on the road against Holy Cross before hosting its home opener Tuesday against Suffield.