Hawks swim their way to Woodland history


BEACON FALLS — A historic season for the Woodland girls swim team is finally over after the team wrapped up action at the state level last week.

After posting the most wins (13), most points at the Naugatuck Valley League championships (744), and tied the best finish at the NVL meet (third) in program history, the Hawks wrapped up one more school record by finishing fourth at last Tuesday’s Class S championships.

Woodland finished with 328 points, just ahead of Suffield and behind Weston, Lauralton Hall, and St. Joseph. The fourth-place finish shattered the previous school-best of ninth, achieved multiple times last decade.

“I was extremely happy with all our finishes,” Woodland coach Mike Magas said. “It was the best ever for a Woodland girls swim team with what we did this year. We never scored over 600 points at the NVL meet and this year we went over 700 points. My expectations were not only met but also exceeded.”

Jen Tavares and Dayna Chucta both earned all-state honors with their performances at the meet while Katie-Jean Hinckley, Chrissy Leeper, Sydney Corneau, Emily Soulier

Tavares was third in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:56.29 and third in the 100 backstroke in 1:01.13 to earn all-state status in both events.

Hinckley was fifth in the 200 free in 2:00.14 and fifth in the 500 free in 5:23.69 while Leeper was seventh in the 100 fly in 1:04.45 and placed 14th in the 200 free in 2:08.13.

Corneau placed eighth in the 50 free in 26.84 seconds and 11th in the 100 free in 58.53 seconds.

Soulier, Boris, and Trumbley also qualified for the finals in several events and added valuable points to the team’s results.

Several Woodland relay teams also earned points. The Hawks’ 200 medley relay team of Trumbley, Carolyn Luddy, Boris, and Soulier placed 15th in 2:15.53 while the 200 free relay squad of Tavares, Leeper, Corneau, and Soulier was fifth in 1:47.53. The 400 free relay team of Leeper, Sydney Corneau, Tavares, and Brianna Christiano was also sixth in 4:02.68.

Chucta won the diving championship by among her slimmest margins of the season, scoring 348.34 points to edge Weston’s Hannah Schroeder by just more than seven points.

Chucta finished first in every meet this season except the State Open, where she finished 16th with a score of 340.35.

“I try to stay humble about it,” Chucta said. “I have improved so much from last year and I have worked really hard but it does feel really good to be ahead of the competition and making a name for myself.”

Chucta broke the school records set by her older sister, Heather, in both the six- and 11-dive events. She also earned this year’s NVL and Class S titles while being named to both the All-NVL and all-state squads multiple times.

“I trained really hard over the summer but I never expected to be as successful as I have been,” Chucta said.

At the State Open, Tavares was ninth in the 200 free in 1:56.74 and 22nd in the 100 back in 1:00.98. She, along with Chucta and Hinckley made up perhaps the best individual threesome in school history.

“They’re definitely up there with some of the top girls of all time,” Magas said. “I have girls from years past that I still hold near and dear to my heart because they’re the ones who built the foundation—Steph O’Donnell, Deirdre Burke, Rachael Battis, Heather Chucta, Jill Pagoni, and others—so I don’t want to take anything away from what they did to establish the program. But five years down the road, these girls will be remembered the way those girls are.”

But Magas recognized the work of everyone else on the team for making the season as successful as it was.

“We had other girls who really stepped up too,” Magas said. “Those three were fantastic, but without some of the other swimmers we would have never done as well as we did. It will definitely be a while before we have a team like this again.”