The times were fast, the cheering was at a fever pitch and the crowd was large. Indeed, Monday's early season girls swim meet between rivals Darien and Greenwich had the look and feel of a postseason matchup between squads in late season form.

Despite graduating 13 seniors from last season's team, which captured the State Open, Class L and FCIAC titles, the Blue Wave -- as Greenwich can attest to -- is still making a splash.

Winning all but one event, Darien raised its record to 4-0 on the young season with an impressive 103-78 victory over host Greenwich in a preview of two teams that will duel for the FCIAC and State Open championship in the postseason.

Junior Lauren Rutledge (100 freestyle, 50 freestyle) and freshman Phoebe Slaughter (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke) each won two events for the two-time defending State Open and FCIAC champion Blue Wave.

"We graduated half of our team last year with 13 seniors going, but I have a group of 10 seniors this year and some underclassmen who have done a good job of picking up the slack," Darien coach Marj Trifone said. "We swam well today and had a really good meet."

The Cardinals (2-1) received a first-place finish on the one-meter diving board from senior Ines Villemure. The Cards' top diver drew scores of seven and eight with a pair of back dives.

"The back dive is one of my strongest dives," Villemure said. "I was focusing on my harder dives and really trying to keep it consistent. All of our divers did well. It's hard under the pressure of a big meet like this, but they did a good job."

"Ines is one of our captains and she is doing a lot with our young divers," GHS coach Lorrie Hokayem said. "She is always setting a great example and today she showed off her leadership qualities."

The Blue Wave began the meet strong, as the foursome of Rebecca Maroney, Slaughter, Maggie Orem and Rutledge won the 200 medley relay in 1:51.01. Junior Belle Stobbie touched the wall first for Darien in the 200 freestyle (1:59.73), followed by Greenwich's Kelly Montesi and Slaughter placed first in the 200 individual medley (2:08.92) with teammate Courtney Ferreira taking second (2:09.48).

"I'm definitely happy with my times at this point of the season," Ferreira said. "We had a whole week of hard practices and really came out strong today."

Rutledge and Orem were victorious in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, respectively, for Darien, while Sophia Jahan (50 freestyle) and Montesi (100 freestyle) of GHS each placed second in the events.

"Darien has really good swimmers, but I think we did really well today against one of the top teams," said Jahan, a freshman. "Everyone swam great times."

The relays gave the Blue Wave a boost, as the visitors posted first place times in the 200 freestyle (1:41.58) and 400 freestyle relays (3:45.05, though it swam exhibition ) after winning the 200 medley.

"We really pushed ourselves through every second of practice," said Darien senior Mackenzie Coughlin, who swam the 200 and 400 relay and placed third in the 100 butterfly. "Every lap, every turn that we pushed ourselves through in practice paid off today."

Also winning their respective events for the Blue Wave were Maroney (100 backstroke, 1:00.96), Lindsey Ferreira (500 freestyle, 5:13.13) and Slaughter (100 breaststroke, 1:08.83). Cardinals senior Isobel Walker placed third in both the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.

"This was a good meet for our young swimmers to learn from," Walker said. "We're developing new talents and this meet made people realize how intense it could be."

The meet was an early measuring stick for both squads.

"When we joined the team as freshmen we were chasing targets, now three years later as seniors our team has the target on our back," Coughlin said. "We are excited to see how well we did against Greenwich."

david.fierro@scni.com

203-625-4423

Darien 103, Greenwich 78

200 medley relay -- 1. Darien (Rebecca Maroney, Phoebe Slaughter, Maggie Orem, Lauren Rutledge) 1:51.01; 200 freestyle relay -- 1. Belle Stobbie (D) 1:59.73; 200 individual medley -- 1. Phoebe Slaughter (D) 2:08.92; 50 freestyle -- 1. Lauren Rutledge (D) 25:07; Diving -- 1. Ines Villemure (G); 100 butterfly -- 1. Maggie Orem (D) 1:00.22; 100 freestyle -- 1. Lauren Rutledge (D) 54.63; 500 -- 1. Lindsey Ferreira (D) 5:13.13; 200 freestyle relay -- 1. Phoebe Slaughter, Emma Jacques, Mackenzie Coughlin, Courtney Ferreira) 1:41.58; 100 backstroke -- 1. Becca Maroney (D) 1:00.96; 100 breaststroke -- 1. Phoebe Slaughter (D) 1:08.83; 400 freestyle relay -- 1. Darien -- (Lauren Rutledge, Maddy Hauben, Belle Stobbie, Courtney Ferreira) 3:45.05