Going into the season, the Staples girls swimming and diving team wanted to finish in the upper echelon of the FCIAC championship meet. Mission accomplished. Staples placed sixth with 168 points at Greenwich on Saturday, beating seventh-place Westhill (135) in the 12-team field but falling short to fifth-place Trumbull (203). If the scoring was determined strictly on times at the championship, the Lady Wreckers would have defeated Trumbull.

However, teams are locked into how well they can place at meet based on their performance at trials. For example, one can have the fastest time in an event at finals but if she finished anywhere from places ninth through 16th at trials, she can't place higher than ninth, even if she defeated someone in the faster heat.

"I'm thrilled with the performance and to finish sixth in the FCIAC," Staples Coach Mike Laux said. "I'm also thrilled we had two, first-place finishers. "We're an end of the season team and takes us awhile to get ready."

New Canaan (488) won convincingly for its first title since 1997. Greenwich (299) took second and was followed by Wilton (289) and Darien (255).

Freshman Verity Abel won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 57.68 seconds. Junior Caroline Valerio was 15th in 100-back (1:04.96).

"It feels great and I never expected to do it, especially in the 100-back because I'm not a backstroker," Abel said. "It was one of my happiest moments in my swimming career because it was an unexpected accomplishment. It came from a lot of practice. We've been training hard all season and it prepared us for the big meets."

Senior captain Molly Loftus won the 500-yard freestyle (5:10.51) and sophomore Sarah Cooperman (5:22.96) placed 11th in the 500-free.

"I was really pleased with my win in the 500," Loftus said. "I was confident going into the race that I had done all the work and training in order to compete."

If the meet was scored by actual times, Loftus (1:58.45) would have placed fourth in the 200-yard freestyle. Because she was in the second heat, she settled for ninth place. Cooperman took 11th in the 200-free (2:01.26).

Abel placed third in the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.34).

"I was determined to do well," Abel said. "Racing the girls was fun and you have a drive when you swim to go as fast as you can."

Staples opened the meet with its 200-yard medley relay team (1:56.12) of sophomore Alexis Teixeira, freshman Gabby LeBlanc, Abel and junior Gabby Wimer taking eighth place. Wimer took 10th in the 50-yard freestyle (25.59) and Valerio was 16th in the 100-yard butterfly (1:03.48).

Senior Schaefer Andrews finished 12th in diving (290).

"It was a hard meet but I'm looking forward to the state meet and I hope to pull it out there," Andrews said.

The 100-yard freestyle was another predetermined event that went against the Lady Wreckers. Wimer won her heat in the 100-free (55.43) and had the fifth fastest overall time but had to settle for ninth because she was in the second heat.

Sophomore Rebecca Raab, senior captain Stephanie Nussbaum, Cooperman and Loftus led the 200-yard freestyle relay team to (1:45.1) to ninth place and in the final event of the meet, Wimer, Nussbaum, Loftus and Abel (3:41.51) placed fourth overall.

"I thought the relay did very well," Nussbaum said. "Molly, Verity and Gabby were all excited to earn All-FCIAC and we hope to do well at States."

Overall, the Lady Wreckers were pleased with their performance and hope to do well at Class LL.

"I thought the team did very well and I'm proud of how everyone swam," Nussbaum said. "It sets us up well for States."

Laux said, "We had incredible times and it sets us up for States. Nobody shaved."

Andrews said, "I thought everyone did a great job. Everyone swam well and we'll do well at States."

Loftus said, "I think the key to our success was the spirit and support we had for each other. We were by far the most enthusiastic team there and thats the true victory here. The team did so well this year at FCIACs and I couldn't be happier with our performance. We showed up where it counted the most and I'm excited to see what we can do at states and opens."