Girls swimming: Warriors fourth at Class L championships

A disappointing showing at last Saturday’s Class L trials had put the Wilton High girls swim team in something of a hole, and the Warriors couldn’t completely climb out it despite a strong performance at Wednesday’s Class L finals.

Wilton wound up fourth in the team standings with 581 points, finishing 30 points behind New Canaan for third place. Cheshire was the runaway state champ with 854 points and Darien took second with 665 points. Wethersfield was a distant fifth with 324 points.

The Warriors did make up substantial ground at Wednesday’s finals, held at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Wilton produced season-best times in 21 of of 24 individual swims, and in all three relay races.

“I was pleased with how we swam at finals. We generated 31 more points than we had qualified for,” said head coach Todd Stevens. “We did close the gap on New Canaan and Darien but we were too much at a disadvantage after trials to overtake either of those teams.”

Five Warriors — Taylor Loud, Emily Walden, Emma Babashak, Ellen Holmquist and Liela Hastings — qualified for the State Open in two events each, while Katie Stevenson and Arisa Cowe each qualified in one event. Morgan Dill qualified as part of of two Wilton relay teams, and Brooke Kelly as part of one relay.

The top 24 times in each event from the four class championships qualified for the State Open, which takes place on Saturday at 5 at Yale University.

Loud led the way on Wednesday night as the junior earned all-state honors with a third-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 24.48. She placed fourth in the 100 freestyle (season-best 53.29).

Wilton also notched all-state honors in the 400-meter freestyle relay, as the team of Stevenson, Babashak, Holmquist and Loud finished second, lowering its season-best time by more than three seconds with a 3:34.02.

Babashak, a sophomore, had a pair of top-four finishes, taking fourth in both the 100 butterfly (season-best 58.85) and the 500 freestyle, dropping more than eight seconds off her seed time with a 5:07.74.

Holmquist, a sophomore, was fourth in the 200 IM (season-best 2:07.13). After a disappointing time at trials left her out of the A Finals in the 100 breaststroke, she came back strong on Wednesday to win the B Finals with a time (a season-best 1:06.36) that would have placed her third overall had she been in the A Final. She qualified for the State Open in both events.

Stevenson, a junior, qualified for the A Final in two events. She was fifth in the 50 freestyle with a season-best 24.87 that qualified her for the State Open. She was also eighth in the 100 free (54.72).

Hastings, a junior, took 10th in both the 200 IM in 2:11.96 (a season-best by more than five seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (season-best 1:09.44), qualifying for the Open in both events.

Cowe, another junior, finished sixth in the 100 butterfly (season-best 59.51) to qualify for the Open. She was also 12th in the 500 free with a season-best 5:16.72 that was a 15-second drop off her seed time.

Walden, a senior, finished 10th in the 500 freestyle with a season-best 5:16.12 (a drop of more than 10 seconds off her seed time) and 12th in the 200 freestyle in a season-best 1:58.48, dropping four second from her seed time. She made the State Open in both events.

Dill, a junior, won the B Final in the 50 free to place ninth, with a season-time of 25.07. She also placed 15th in the 100 backstroke (season-best 1:03.2).

The Warriors finished third in the 200 freestyle relay with the team of Stevenson, Dill, Holmquist and Loud, with a season-best 1:38.91.

Also qualifying for the State Open was the 200 medley relay team of Kelly, Hastings, Babashak and Dill, which took sixth with a season-best 1:53.18.

Freshman Olivia Crisafulli was 11th in the 200 IM with a season-best 2:15.76 (a drop of nearly four seconds off her seed time) and 19th in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.52 (a season best by more than two seconds).

Kelly, a senior, won the C Final in the 100 freestyle, placing 17th in a season-best time (by nearly three seconds) of 54.81. She was also 20th in the 100 backstroke (1:04.64).

Junior Avery Rowland finished 19th in both the 50 free (season-best 25.87) and 100 free (season-best 56.04).

Freshman Anais Wentzel won the C Final in the 500 free (season-best 5:22.78) and was 21st in the 200 IM in time of 2:19.6 that was a season-best by more than two seconds.

The Warriors also scored 43 team points at the Class L diving championships, held last Thursday in Middletown, from its all-sophomore contingent of Marra Woodring, Amy Malburg and Suzy Malburg.

Woodring led the way as she placed seventh with 344.45 points and just missed qualifying (by four spots) for the State Open.

Amy Malburg finished 13th with 316.05 points and Suzy Malburg was 18th with 308.6 points.

Four other Wilton swimmers had also competed at Saturday’s Class L swim trials in East Hartford.

Senior Liz Breslin finished 26th in the 100 breast with a season-best time of 1:15.08, while senior Julianna Hume took 28th in the 200 free with a season-best 2:05.23, and was 33rd in the backstroke with a time of 1:07.57. Sophomore Madeline Pennino placed 30th in the butterfly with a time of 1:04.75.