Girls swim preview: Warriors poised for another big year

In any other conference, the Wilton High girls swim team might well enter the 2013 season as the favorite. But, as veteran head coach Todd Stevens is quick to point out, “this is the FCIAC.”

And that means Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.

Those three teams finished ahead of the fourth-place Warriors at last year’s conference championships, and Darien and New Canaan placed ahead of third-place Wilton at the Class L state meet. All three teams bested the ninth-place Warriors at the State Open.

This fall, the Warriors will not only see those teams in the post-season but also at head-to-dual meets during the regular season.

Still, Stevens and his team have many reasons to again be one of the FCIAC’s and state’s top teams.

“We have some good swimmers back and we also have the largest team (46 people) I’ve ever had here,” said Stevens, who is entering his 15th season as head coach. “We have six young divers and 16 girls in the freshman class. Depth shouldn’t be an issue for us.”

Wilton did graduate two mainstays in Caroline O’Brien and Grace Hendee, but the returnees include senior captains Kristen Moss (top-five in two events at the Class L and State Open meets) and Stephanie Moriarty (second in the 100 freestyle in Class L), who is healthy after missing much of last season due to mononucleosis.

Joining them are senior captain Hannah Armstrong, juniors Maggie Kauffeld and Linsay Cooney, and sophomore Brooke Hendee, who all had top-eight individual finishes at the Class L championships.

Also returning are six other swimmers who scored points with top-24 finishes at the Class L meet: Senior captain Devin Benison; juniors Julia Lewis and Maddie Srivistava; and sophomores Emma Holmquist, Katrina Trentos and Samantha Florio.

“I think if we’re any better this season it’s due to having the divers and that Stephanie Moriarty is healthy,” said Stevens, whose team opens the season today. “But much of our success will depend on the strength of our opponents.”