Without one of the most decorated swimmers in program history in its arsenal, the Staples girls team is preparing to work towards sending individual swimmers to the FCIAC and state meets this November. The departure of All-State distance star Verity Abel, who led Staples to a 13-6 record over the past two seasons, leaves a massive void in the lineup that's almost irreplaceable.


Abel holds three school records, but junior standout Mia Bullock also stakes claim to a trio. Bullock stormed onto the scene last season and her star is quickly rising. After not qualifying for the State Open as a freshman, Bullock swept the 200 yard IM and the 100 butterfly at the FCIAC, Class LL and State Open meets last year.

"Last year I have to give some of my swimming credit to Verity," Bullock said. "Having her as a captain pushed me to go farther and I think I pushed her to go father as well."

Abel also won two events at the State Open, helping Staples finish sixth at the event last November -- its best finish since 2008.

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"(Abel) was such a driving force and it's a loss all the way around," head coach Mike Laux said. "She's been a great leader for this team for four years and we're really going to miss her. We have really nice girls on the team that work together; hopefully the team will not fail in its representation of her."

Bullock, who swims for New Canaan YMCA in the offseason, had a strong showing in April at the Y's Short Course Nationals despite not being 100 percent. Bullock owns the 15th fast 200 butterfly time for her age and is completely healthy this term.

"(Bullock is) a stroke perfectionist," Laux said. "She works on making sure that every stroke she takes is the best stroke she can take."

The Wreckers will be captained by Laine Crowder (sprints), Malin Hovstadius (200 freestyle and 100 breastroke) and Jordan Santarella (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke).

Juniors Aileen Coyne, Mira Patel and Anelise Browne along sophomore Mackenzie Healy will be important contributors to this year's team, according to Laux.

On the diving side, the Wreckers expect strong contributions from Olivia Crosby, Sophia Stanley, Eliza Donovan, Kacey Hertan and Hannah Rose.

Staples' first meet is slated for Sept. 12 against New Canaan and Trumbull."They are very nice girls, they have very good attitude," Laux said. "They are working hard and hopefully they will be ready by the end of the season."