Going into the Class L trials, Wilton girls swim coach Todd Stevens said his team’s goal was a second-place finish, behind Darien, at the finals meet. But when New Canaan turned in a superb performance at trials, Stevens had to downgrade his expectations.

“The goal became a top-three finish,” said Stevens. “We knew it was going to be impossible to catch either Darien or New Canaan.”

The Warriors got the job done — even if it took until the final few events to do so.

In fifth place for much of the meet, Wilton rallied to finish with 504 points and place third at the Class L state championship meet Tuesday night at Wesleyan University in Middletown, topping fourth-place Cheshire (464) by 40 points.

As expected, Darien ran away with the meet, finishing first with 886 points. New Canaan was second with 611 points, beating Wilton by more than 100 points.

“We started picking it up in the 500 freestyle and then got the momentum going in the final four events (200 freestyle relay, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay),” said Wilton head coach Todd Stevens. “We didn’t move into third place until after the breaststroke.”

Kristen Moss got Wilton trending upwards with a first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:12.45. She dropped more than 10 seconds from her time (5:12.45) at trials.

“Kristen clearly was focused for her 500 and swam amazing,” said Stevens. “I knew she was capable of something like that.”

Four other Warriors added points in the 500 as Emma Kauffeld was sixth (5:14.77), Katrina Trentos ninth (5:16.85) and Julia Lewis 12th (5:23.79).

Moss, Emma Holmquist, Brooke Hendee and Emma Kauffeld combined for a seventh-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:43.85, and Stephanie Moriarty followed with a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke (58.46). Teammates Hannah Armstrong (1:02.03) and Maddie Srivastava (1:06.39) were 10th and 16th, respectively, as Wilton scored 55 points in the backstroke to move into fourth place.

The Warriors then got top-eight finishes from Holmquist (fourth, 1:07.63) and Lindsay Cooney (seventh, 1:08.60) and an 11th-place finish from Hendee (1:09.69) in the 100 breaststroke to take over third place.

Emma Kauffeld, Lewis, Moss and Moriarty joined forces to place sixth in the meet-ending 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:44.89 to secure Wilton’s third-place finish in the team standings.

Notes: Wilton also got top-eight finishes from Lewis (eighth, 2:14.49) in the 200 individual medley and Moriarty (fourth, 58.62) in the 100 butterfly.

Moss won the consolation heat in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.19 to finish ninth.

Moriarty, Holmquist, Armstrong and Hendee were fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:50.83).

Wilton was also third (behind Darien and New Canaan) at last year’s Class L meet with 567 points.