Girls swimming: Warriors cap off undefeated season with division title

Going into Wednesday’s final regular-season dual meet, the Wilton High girls swim and dive team knew it had a chance to make history.

In addition to capturing its first FCIAC East Division title in nearly a decade, the Warriors were looking to do something no Wilton swim team had done in two decades — finish the season undefeated.

Standing in the way, however, was Darien, the seven-time defending East Division champ, and FCIAC champ four of the past seven years.

And with a good crowd at Darien’s pool, including members of the Darien football team, the Blue Wave wasn’t about to make things easy for Wilton.

The Warriors, on the other hand, weren’t going to let the opportunity slip through their hands, taking a lead of 15 points after seven events and then cruising to a 106-80 win.

Wilton finished the regular season 8-0, marking the first time a Wilton High swim team, boys or girls, has finished a season undefeated in the 20 years that Todd Stevens has been coaching the team. The only other team to go unbeaten was the 1996 squad that finished 6-0-1.

“It’s a really big accomplishment for them, to say they’re part of that team. I’m excited for them and I’m excited for the parents. I couldn’t be happier,” said Stevens. “There was really good energy and team spirit all the way down the line. The girls brought a lot energy to the pool deck. We had a great crowd from Wilton to cheer the girls on. It was a lot of fun.”

It was also Wilton’s first division title since 2008, and only second title since 1996.

The Warriors were led by double winners Taylor Loud (50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle) and Ellen Holmquist (200-meter IM, 100-meter breaststroke).

Emma Babashak had a pair of second-place finishes (100 butterfly, 500 freestyle), with other second-place efforts by Liela Hastings (100 breaststroke), Avery Rowland (100 freestyle), Emily Walden (200 freestyle), Olivia Crisafulli (200 IM), Morgan Dill (50 freestyle) and Amy Malburg (diving).

For Darien (5-2), Carly Rutledge was a double winner (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle), with other wins recorded by Lauren Picard (100 backstroke), Isabel Blaze (100 butterfly) and Julia Servas (diving).

The Blue Wave took the early lead, 19-11, after a 1-2 finish in the 200-meter medley relay and win by Rutledge in the 200 freestyle.

Wilton came back with a 1-2 finish in the 200 IM by Holmquist and Crisafulli, and then swept the top three spots in the 50 freestyle with Loud, Dill and Katie Stevenson, to take a 35-27 lead.

The Warriors did better than expected in the diving, finishing in an 8-8 tie in the event. Amy Malburg placed second and Marra Woodring was third, with Suzy Malburg taking fifth.

Wilton got a 2-3 finish in the butterfly by Babashak and Arisa Cowe, and a 1-2-4 finish in the 100 freestyle by Loud, Rowland and Stevenson, which gave the Warriors their biggest lead yet at 63-47.

The lead grew to 22 points (81-59) after a 2-3 finish in the 500 free by Babashak and Walden, and 1-3 finish in the 200 freestyle relay.

A 1-2 finish in the breaststroke by Holmquist and Hastings, and 1-3 finish in the 400 freestyle relay, ended the meet with Wilton winning by a surprising margin of 26 points.

While he anticipated that the Warriors would win the meet, Stevens said it certainly wasn’t a a sure thing — especially given the opponent.

“They always step up when they swim against us,” he said of Darien. “They just got hit hard by graduation, and we didn’t.”

Stevens said the diving was a key turning point, as it put the Warriors farther ahead than he had expected to be at that point.

“Our divers did extremely well. That the was moment I felt we got ahead of where we needed to be. That kind of started us in the right direction,” he said. “The remainder of the meet we either stayed the course or picked up points in events that were more than I had anticipated. I expected (the meet) to be a lot closer.”

Wilton 106, Darien 80

200 medley relay

1. Darien (Lauren Picard, Emma Mansourian, Isabel Blaze, Cassandra Maroney), 152.18
2. Wilton (Morgan Dill, Liela Hastings, Emma Babashak, Avery Rowland), 1:55.52
3. Darien (Regan Keady, Jennifer Chen, Emily Fischer, Elizabeth Bradley), 1:57.3
200 freestyle

1. Carly Rutledge (D) 1:58.15
2. Emily Walden (W) 2:02.43
3. Arisa Cowe (W) 2:02.43
4. Kendall Luecke (D) 2:05.53
5. Rachel Stobbie (D) 2:06.19
6. Julianna Hume (W) 2:06.32
200 IM

1. Ellen Holmquist (W) 2:12.65
2. Olivia Crisafulli (W) 2:16.48
3. Cassandra Maroney (D) 2:16.78
4. Isabel Blaze (D) 2:20.4
5. Liela Hastings (W) 2:21.22
6. Regan Keady (D) 2:24.43
50 freestyle

1. Taylor Loud (W) 25.1
2. Morgan Dill (W) 25.44
3. Katie Stevenson(W) 25.6
4. Lexi Punishill (D) 26.12
5. Kelsey Vrooman (D) 26.33
6. Elizabeth Bradley (D) 27.0

1. Julia Servas (D) 235.05
2. Amy Malburg (W) 197.9
3. Marra Woodring (W) 196.4
4. Lana Schmidt (D) 188.15
5. Suzy Malburg (W) 184
6. Tate Desautelle (D) 181.75
100 butterfly

1. Isabel Blaze (D) 58.65
2. Emma Babashak (W) 59.1
3. Arisa Cowe (W) 1:00.85
4. Kelsey Vrooman (D) 1:03.5
5. Olivia Crisafulli (W) 1:04.89
6. Halle Spaturo (D) 1:06.02
100 freestyle

1. Taylor Loud 54.59
2. Avery Rowland 54.75
3. Cassandra Maroney (D) 55.02
4. Katie Stevenson 57.38
5. Lexi Punishill (D) 57.52
6. Rachel Stobbie (D) 58.27
500 freestyle

1. Carly Rutledge (D) 5:13.04
2. Emma Babashak (W) 5:16.04
3. Emily Walden (W) 5:26.38
4. Katie Martin (D) 5:29.72
5. Anais Wentzel (W) 5:33.76
6. Caroline Haddad (D) 5:35.99
200 freestyle relay

1. Wilton (Dill, Holmquist, Stevenson, Loud), 1:42.12
2. Darien (Punishill, Stobbie, Vrooman, Rutledge), 1:45.8
3. Wilton (Cowe, Rowland, Crisafulli, Walden), 1:46.53
100 backstroke

1. Lauren Picard (D) 1:03.01
2. Regan Keady (D) 1:04.62
3. Brooke Kelly (W) 1:05.08
4. Morgan Dill (W) 1:05.32
5. Madison Aponte (D) 1:06.66
6. Julianna Hume (W) 1:08.1
100 breaststroke

1. Ellen Holmquist (W) 1:11.35
2. Liela Hastings (W) 1:12.3
3. Emma Mansourian (D) 1:13.4
4. Brielle Racanelli (D) 1:14.22
5. Jennifer Chen (D) 1:15.34
6. Liz Breslin (W) 1:17.85
400 freestyle relay

1. Wilton (Stevenson, Babashak, Holmquist and Loud), 3:41.36
2. Darien (Maroney, Stobbie, Blaze, Rutledge), 3:47.23
3. Wilton (Cowe, Rowland, Walden, Kelly), 3:51.83