Staples places 11th at State Open swimming, Weston 21st
The Staples and Weston girls swimming and diving teams finished in the upper echelons of the State Open meet Saturday at Yale University.
Staples tallied 138 points and finished tied for 11th with Branford and Weston (66) was 21st in the 66-team field. Greenwich (480) won, beating out second-place New Canaan (431.5). Wilton (371), Darien (331.5) and Trumbull (306) placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Lady Wreckers fell short of 10th-place Norwalk (197) but edged 13th place Glastonbury (128), a team they lost to at Class LL.
"It was a great end of the season," Staples coach Mike Laux said. "The girls put it together at FCIAC, states and opens. Take a look at the opens, the five top teams are FCIAC trams. I'm very happy, each girl did their best."
The Lady Trojans almost caught 20th-place Watertown (68) and 19th-place Fitch (70) but edged 22nd-place Westhill (65), who is considered to be one of the better teams in the state.
"We do whatever we can at Opens," Weston coach Tom Grace said. "We don't have much left after states and whatever we do at Opens is a bonus."
One thing the Lady Trojans can take pride in is the fact they came along way at Opens. At the beginning of the 2000s, Weston had no one qualify for State Open.
Lady Wrecker sophomore Verity Abel took third in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:04.73 and sixth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.14).
"I was fine with how I did at Opens," Abel said. "I tried my hardest and that is all that matters. After so many big meets, it is hard to perform as well at the last as at the first. In both of the events I just tried to keep my head in the game and stay motivated. Knowing it was the last meet of the high school season made me push myself a little harder in all of my swims."
Also competing in the 500-free was Lady Trojan junior Olivia Clark (5:12.31), who took 12th. Clark was also 12th in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.51).
"Opens was a really cool experience because you swim against people you don't see in the regular season or at states," Clark said. "I didn't swim my best times at Opens but it was still a good experience."
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Weston sophomore Katie Johnson did well sprinting by taking 12th in the 50-yard freestyle (25.0) and 18th in the 100-yard freestyle (54.53). Moreover, Johnson improved from her Class S times in both events (25.04 in the 50-free and 54.74 in the 100-free), which doesn't usually happen.
"Each of us wanted to perform great and fast and it was a good way to finish the season," Johnson said. "I was really surprised my times were better at Opens. I went all out in every single race and took it one race at a time."
Staples senior captain Gabby Wimer was 23rd in the 100-free (55.08).
The rest of the points were scored by the relays. The Lady Wreckers dropped time in the 200-yard medley relay (1:57.08) by placing 17th, bettering its Class LL time (1:58) by almost a second with junior Alexis Teixeira, sophomore Gabbie LeBlanc, senior captain Caroline Valerio and junior Rebecca Raab. The Lady Trojans were 24th in the 200-medley relay behind the quartet of senior Katie Angelidis, Clark, senior captain Catie Ledwick and senior McCall Kelley.
Staples dropped time from Class LL (1:39.98) in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:39.72) and took fourth with Wimer, juniors Rebecca Raab and Sarah Cooperman and Abel.
"We had a nice taper on Friday and we were relaxed and ready to go," Cooperman said. "We wanted to place where we were seeded and we were excited about it."
Wimer said, "Everyone in our relays swam well. We worked on relay starts in practice, which is important, especially in the 200-free because it's short. We worked on our turns and limit our breathing because breathing slows you down."
Starting at noon was something the girls had to get acclimated with.
"It was an awkward time to swim but we put on our fast suits and swam hard," Cooperman said.
Sophomore Dacia Gross, junior Alex Edgar, Ledwick and Johnson led Weston to 23rd in the 200-free relay (1:44.58).
Wimer, freshman Jordan Santarella, Cooperman and Abel powered the 400-yard freestyle relay to 12th place (3:42.07).
"It was a lot of fun helping the team out and it was nice to be the only freshman there," Santarella said.
Abel said, "Our relays were great and they were a nice way to end the meet."
Overall, the Lady Wreckers are pleased with how they finished the season.
"We were really happy," Wimer said. "Our relays did well and our medley relay got faster. I'm happy how we swam as a whole and how the girls stepped up and swam faster."