There was a change in the local girls swimming hierarchy this past season, as Bristol Central edged Bristol Eastern in the teams’ head-to-head meet to claim local bragging rights, although both schools came in behind Middletown in the final CCC South standings.
It was the highlight of a great comeback season for the Rams, who went 2-8 overall last season before finishing 10-2 (3-1 CCC South) this year. Bristol Central also won the annual city meet involving all three city schools, including St. Paul.
The Lancers also had a solid year with a 6-8 overall mark, 2-2 in the division.
Each team also had multiple individual champions in the league meet, earning all-conference honors in the process. St. Paul also had an outstanding individual swimmer in its league championships.
We’ve picked the six best from the three city teams for our ninth annual All-Press Girls Swimming and Diving Team.
With its great season, Bristol Central leads the way with three selections: senior Meghan Curtis, a repeat selection, along with first-time choices Mackenzie Pina, a sophomore, and Ailey Driscoll, a freshman.
All three (with Camille Attle) were part of the Rams’ first-place medley relay at the league meet. Pina and Driscoll were also part of the first-place 400 freestyle relay team (with Attle and Rachel Wolf).
In individual events at the league meet, Driscoll won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while Pina won the 100 freestyle and Curtis was second in the 100 backstroke.
In the Class M championships, Curtis, Driscoll and Pina teamed with Attle to place ninth of 19 teams in the 400 freestyle relay. The four also placed 10th in the 200 medley relay.
In other events, Driscoll placed 11th in the 200 free, Curtis was 14th in the 100 backstroke and Pina was 12th in the 50 free. Both Pina and Driscoll raced in the 100 butterfly, with Pina coming in 11th place and Driscoll placing 13th.
“Meghan has been an asset to the team in both diving and swimming,” Rams coach Adrienne Bentley said. “This is her second year as captain and she has been a great role model. She is a true athlete and competitor.”
The second-year efforts of Pina was also noted.
“Mackenzie has played a significant part of the team since her freshman year, where she was awarded MVP,” Bentley said. “It is really great working with her, not only because of her swim talent but also because she knows how to fuel herself to pull out some big wins.”
The remaining All-Press selections are all retuning players.
Bristol Eastern junior Brianna Ogonowski is a three-time choice - well on her way to repeating older sister Georgia Ogonowski’s success as a four-time selection - while Lancers senior diver Zoe DiChello gets the nod for second straight year, matching her older sister Taylor DiChello’s number of All-Press selections.
Zoe DiChello won the diving competition at the league meet and went on to place third in Class L competition. She ended the season placing 22nd in the State Open, in a rare appearance for a local diver at that level. She set two school records, in the 11 dive and the six dive.
“Zoe is our school record-holder and has worked hard over the last four years to improve on her skills to get there,” Eastern coach Nick Daddabbo said. “Zoe has performed dives that challenged her each season she’s been a part of the Lancers.”
Brianna Ogonowski won the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke at the league meet before moving on to state success.
Though officially finishing 17th due to her qualifying for the “C” heat, Ogonowski finished with the fourth best time in the Class L state finals with her top performance of the year in the 100 breaststroke - breaking her own school record and earning a trip to the State Open as the only local swimmer to compete at that level, aside from DiChello in diving.
“It was a really good feeling,” Ogonowski said. “It surprised me just because of how much time I had to drop. To be able to make the State Open was a really cool thing since the past years I haven’t been able to.”
Ogonowski will be a co-captain of the Lancers next season.
“Bri works extremely hard every day in practice and always asks how to get better,” Daddabbo said. “She is a great asset to the program.”
Rounding out the All-Press swim team is St. Paul junior Emily Haase.
In the NVL league meet, Haase finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke and ninth in the 200 free. She was also part of the Falcons’ 200 free relay team that finished fifth overall and the 400 free relay that came in seventh.
Haase competed in the 100 backstroke at the Class S meet and finished 10th with a personal best time of 1:15.61, a second faster than last year’s state time.
“Emily has improved greatly in and out of the pool,” St. Paul coach Meegan Martin said. “Her leadership is her greatest quality. Because of this trait, she was chosen to be captain for next season.”