SOUTHINGTON - The Southington girls swim team already looks to be in mid-season form.
The Blue Knights swept every event in their 88-74 win on Wednesday against E.O. Smith. And they aim to only get better.
“It was our first home meet so we wanted to have a good impression for our crowd and as you can see it was a full house,” Southington head coach Evan Tuttle said. “It was loud, but the goal in every meet is the same.”
That goal for the Blue Knights isn’t just about the point and the win. The main objective Southington has is to post as many best times as possible. If it can get the win at the end of the meet - it’s a bonus.
“We’re going for three wins; we’re going for win in terms of score, win in terms of sportsmanship, and win in terms of our attitude and our effort,” Tuttle said.
After Wednesday’s win, Southington improved its record to 2-0. The meet against E.O. Smith was full of fast times, best times, and qualifying times. Overall, the Blue Knights had over 20 best times and qualified three more girls for states.
And despite Southington only having two meets thus far, and the team has already hit its mark with automatic state qualifying cuts. Andie Nadeau qualified for states in the 200 (2:07.40) and 500 freestyle (5:51.51), while Meghan Hammarlund (2:24.94) and Madeline Symecko (2:28.16) qualified in the 200 individual medley.
“You’ll notice when you look at the roster that many of those girls that have hit auto cuts already, are freshman,” Tuttle said.
Seeing such talent isn’t something new for the Blue Knights. Although they get experience, they also have athletes coming in who are competitively swimming for the very first time. One of the mainstays, however, is captain Olivia Fournier.
Senior anchored for Southington in the first event. The medley relay team consisted of Maddie Symecko, Julie Duszak, Meghan Hammarlund and Fournier. They took first with a time of 1:57.20. Fournier won all her events, taking first in the 50 freestyle (25.26), 100 freestyle (1:08.94) and 400 freestyle relay.
“Liv is senior and captain, with great aspiration of swimming in college,” Tuttle said. “As good as she is, she’s very humble, works her tail off. Morally she’s a great kid. I don’t think there has ever been a point in time where she’s not doing the right thing. I’m looking forward to her senior season but I’m certainly going to be sad to see her go at the end of it.”
Still, even Fournier admits there’s for improvement.
“As a team, I think we just need to work on strong finishes and work on our mental game,” Fournier said. “We need to have a strong mental game so when we get tired, we can just push through it and finish hard.”
There is still much swimming left to do in the season for the Blue Knights. Their goal is to qualify as many swimmers as possible for States, and then the State Open. So far, their off to a strong start.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org