Championship season is the Weston girls swimming team's time to shine. After finishing its dual meet season with a 5-4-2 record, Weston placed third at the SWC championships last Saturday at Masuk with 307.5 points. The Lady Trojans defeated two teams they lost to and two teams they tied in the regular season, edging fourth-place Lauralton Hall (301) and fifth-place New Fairfield (288). Pomperaug (488) won and Brookfield (383.5) took second.

"Anytime we finish at the top is always a good thing," Weston Coach Tom Grace said. "During the dual meet season, we tried new things with different people in different events. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We tried to focus on having good swims and not worry about the times."

Lady Trojans senior co-captain Lauren Garner said, "I think we did a really great job. SWCs is always tough competition and to finish third out of 12 teams is very respectable. The girls swam well and I'm happy about it."

Senior co-captain Karen Bottger said, "Coming in third is a big deal for us. We have a great team and I'm proud of everyone."

Bottger played a major role in Weston's success by winning the 200-yard freestyle by one second with a time of 2:15.19 and placed high in her other events.

"I went into the race very pumped," Bottger said. "I worked on it all season and I tried to build my 50s all race and have strong turns. I felt good the whole race and I was aggressive and powerful."

In her other individual event, Bottger placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:03.11). Originally, she wasn't sure if she'd swim the 100-back or 500-yard freestyle before deciding on the former.

"I focused on my underwater turns," Bottger said. "It wasn't my best time but I was happy with my race. It's my last year and I tried to give it everything I had."

Sophomore Alex Edgar (1:05.73) finished tied for eighth and junior Katie Angelides (1:06.93) placed 11th in the 100-back.

To top off her individual performances, Bottger led off two relay teams and put them both in excellent position towards placing high. Bottger, sophomore Olivia Clark, Edgar and freshman Katie Johnson led the 200-yard medley relay team to second place (1:57.69) and Bottger, freshman Dacia Gross, Edgar and Johnson led the 200-yard freestyle relay team (1:45.49) to third place.

"We weren't seeded second in the 200-medley relay to finish that high is awesome," Bottger said. "As the leadoff leg, I tried to give us ahead. I may have not given us the lead but I established a good base for our next swimmer to dive into. Katie Johnson did a good job of anchoring both relays and is a good addition to us."

Clark was the Lady Trojans' other top performer and came close to winning the 100-yard breaststroke but was one second short to an upperclassman and grabbed second place (1:10.22).

"All the cheering helped," Clark said. "It's hard being touched out but I had a good race and the team cheering me on and knowing how hard I worked spurred me on. I tried to do it for the team, which also helped."

In the 500-yard freestyle, Clark (5:30.11) placed fourth.

"It's a really tough race but the team cheering on the sidelines, helped," Clark said.

The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Angelides, Garner, Gross and Clark took seventh (4:09.40).

Johnson (26.73) and Edgar (26.95) placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 50-yard freestyle. In the 100-yard freestyle, Johnson (58.96) and Garner (1:02.12) took seventh and 16th. Angelides (2:28.88) and freshman Brenna Nimkoff (2:31.67) were 11th and 16th respectively in the 200-yard individual medley.

Sophomore Hannah Schroeder led the way in diving by placing seventh (272.75). Junior Julia DeMarco (268.20) and freshman Keturah Sarno (232.60) grabbed 10th and 11th places. Junior Catie Ledwick led the way in the 100-yard butterfly (1:08.57) and took eighth place. Nimkoff (1:11.90) and sophomore Lauren Solinsky (1:12.92) were 15th and 16th in the 100-fly.

Weston will compete at Class S trials tomorrow at Plainville and will know its fate on Tuesday at the Class S finals. Last year, the Lady Trojans were the top public school team in Class S and placed second overall.

"I just want us to swim well and I'm not worried about places," Grace said. "I have a wait and attack attitude."

Bottger said, "I think we'll be very strong at States. We'll do well and see what happens. It's going to be a good meet and I'm hoping for a top-two finish."

Garner said, "SWCs sets us up very well for States. A lot of girls haven't tapered yet. We had a lot of personal bests at SWCs and we hope to do better at States."