Staples girls swimming coach Mike Laux knew he had to rely on a new crop of swimmers to improve on last season's 7-3 record.
Those, along with a familiar face, have combined to form a squad that has yet to taste defeat early this fall.
Staples took first place in seven of 12 events to prevail 99-85 over Fairfield Ludlowe on Wednesday afternoon at Fairfield University. The Wreckers improved to 3-0 while the Falcons dropped to 2-3.
"We've had a lot of improvement, we've had to make up for losing six state finalists," Laux said.
We had to take the girls we have and make them better; they are really getting better."
Wreckers captain Verity Abel won three events -- the 200 medley relay (2:10.50), 100 freestyle (1:00.97) and the 400 freestyle relay (4:25.45). The senior is one of the few holdovers from last season's 7-3 squad and has served as a mentor to her team.
"It's been really rewarding to be able to take on that role," Abel said. "Coming into this season we didn't know who was going to pull through but so far this season I'm so impressed with all of the girls."
The Wreckers took the top three spots in the 50 freestyle and three of the top four spots in the 100 butterfly to pull away early in the meet. Ludlowe pulled closer with wins in the 200 freestyle relay and 100 backstroke but couldn't break through.
"It's a bit of a rivalry because both teams have girls that swim for the Water Rats (club team in Westport)," Laux said. "They did a great job, we are 3-0, and the girls swam well."
Ludlowe's Ingrid Duffy took first in the 200 (2:35.46) and 500 (5:04.23) freestyle, while helping the 400 freestyle relay team (4:32.28) to a second-place finish.
Ludlowe took first place in five events, including diving. Falcons coach Sara Peck noted the improvements her team has also made after going 2-8 last year.
"We did well, Staples has always crushed us in the past and we have a stronger team this season so it was nice to provide competition," Peck said. "We've been preparing for this meet for a few weeks. We were missing a few girls but we did the best with what we had."
Falcons' duo of Kim Cortelessa and Kelsey Tague posted scores of 169.80 and 155.63 respectively to beat out Staples' Sophia Stanley (152.55) in the diving competition. Cortelessa and Tague have placed finished first and second in each of Ludlowe's meets this season.
"(Cortelessa and Tague) work hard, they practice six days a week," Peck said. "They always put in 110 percent effort and it shows. They are outstanding; they did well in FCIAC and State's last year and we hope they do the same this year."
The Wreckers' next meet is Friday at East Lyme, while the Falcons return to action Monday against McMahon.