NEW CANAAN -- Darien High School's girls swimming and diving team had 10 first-place finishes in a 116-70 triumph at New Canaan on October 23. The Blue Wave opened up some breathing room with a one-two-three finish in the 500 yard freestyle event, turning a slim six-point edge into a 71-55 advantage with four events to go, and never looked back. The Blue Wave improved to 8-1 and the Rams fell to 7-2.
"We had a good meet -- we swam well," said Darien Coach Marj Trifone, adding that the teams are going hard in practices before resting as they gear up for the postseason. "Everybody's swimming tired and I think that we did well, all things considered."
Darien's 200 yard medley relay team of Becca Maroney, Lia Barsanti, Maggie Orem, and Lauren Rutledge earned first place in the first event of the meet, finishing in a time of 1:53.47. New Canaan's relay team of Olivia Rusch, Libby O'Hare, Audrey Ettinger, and Katie Colwell was second in 1:56.25.
Courtney Ferreira gave the Wave another first, winning the 200 individual medley in 2:12.29. Ettinger was runner-up in 2:25.14.
Darien's Lauren Rutledge captured the 50 free event in 75.33, edging out New Canaan's Colwell, who finished with the same reported time but was logged as the runner-up.
New Canaan swept the top three spots in the diving competition as Kylie Towbin (259.80 points), Olivia Park (190.05), and Katie Kushner (186.80) led the way. The score was 42-36 Darien heading out of the break.
Orem won the 100 butterfly in 1:00.25. New Canaan's Grace Stryker was second in 1:04.97 to help the Wave to a 52-42 lead.
Meghan Egan (54.39) and Colwell (54.75) gave the Rams a one-two finish in the 100 free event, pulling the Rams to within six points.
Ferreira (5:18.91), Bieler (5:27.29), and Sam Schrenker (5:29.08) took the top three spots in the 500 to put the Wave ahead by 16.
Up next was the 200 free relay race and Darien's Emily Nixon, Mackenzie Coughlin, Bieler, and Ferreira won in 1:42.75. New Canaan's Jenna Egan, Libby O'Hare, Alex Aliapoulios, and Meghan Egan came in second in 1:43.45.
Darien had another one-two-three outcome in the 100 backstroke event. Orem won the event in 1:02.55, Elizabeth Kearney was second in 1:04.28, and Becca Maroney came in third in 1:04.26.
"It's really exciting," Chao said of going up against friendly rival New Canaan. "I get really, really pumped up -- really psyched for these meets," Chao said.
New Canaan Coach David Fine said his team hurt itself in a meet that requires a flawless effort given the strength of Darien's program.
"We swam well -- there are little things we need to work on," said Fine, noting that mental errors including poor starts and turns need to be cleaned up for his team to be able to compete with the best in the state, including Darien. "If we want to even have a chance we need to work on those little things."
That said, Fine notes that his squad has been training hard and is headed in the right direction as the postseason draws closer.
"I'm excited about where we are . I'm excited about what we can do," Fine said.