Staples girls swimming impresses with 3rd at FCIACs
Published 9:08 am, Thursday, November 10, 2016
Heading into the FCIAC swim championships last week, Staples coach Mike Laux hoped his team would finish fifth at the highly competitive meet based on what he saw from his team during the season and at trials.
Once the bright lights turned on at the Greenwich High pool, it appeared to bring out the best in the Wreckers, who finished third.
The results of the meet came as a surprise as Ridgefield won its first ever conference title, Wilton took second and defending champion New Canaan placed eighth. The field was tight, though, and Staples jumped three places from sixth to third in the final race of the meet: the 400 freestyle relay. By placing second to the Tigers, Staples (258) earned a bronze medal as a team and finished just 2.5 points behind Wilton (260.5) and only 1.5 points ahead of fourth-placed Greenwich (256.5).
"We got the girls a little bit inspired and as I told them on the bus afterwards: ‘I knew that you guys were going to swim fast, but I didn’t realize how fast you were going to swim,’" Laux said. "We were in sixth place (for the entire meet), and the final relay came. It was fantastic."
The lone win in the competitive meet for Staples came in the 100 butterfly, where Wreckers sophomore Marissa Healy (56.67) won by close to two seconds. Healy finished second in the event a year ago behind teammate Mia Bullock, but suffered a knee injury and was unable to compete at Class LL or the State Open.
"I think it meant it meant the world to her," said Wreckers captain Kenzie Healy. "As her sister that’s all I want for her. I think as a teammate that’s all you want; to finish to look up at her time and be really shocked and happy."
Michelle Kennedy finished fourth in the 500 freestyle, clocking in at 5:13.47.
The 200 medley relay team dropped four seconds to take second place — behind the Tigers, who set an All-American time in the win — with a time of 1:47.15. Willow Woods (2:06.95) and Esme Hunter (2:08.17) took second and third respectively in the 200 IM. Staples also finished second and third in the 100 backstroke as Hunter (58.26) and Marissa Healy (58.94) earned medals. The Wreckers had four of the top 11 finishers in that event.
"I knew it was a good team," Laux said. "We’ve been waiting all season for them to do what they did (at FCIACs). I knew they were good and they could do it; we worked them really hard."
Kenzie Healy — the lone senior on the team to qualify for states finished fourth in the 50 freestyle in 24.52. Woods finished second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.18.
Staples is in position to challenge for a podium place at the upcoming Class LL meet next Wednesday at Southern Connecticut State University. The young group has grown up quite quickly, Laux said.
"I think we just want to continue on the good streak we had at FCIACs and improve," Kenzie Healy said. "If we come in top three at states that would be amazing; just keep the high energy going."