Weston breaks records en route to SWC championship
MONROE — The Weston girls swim team wasn’t assured the SWC title ahead of the conference championships on Saturday, but with superstars in nearly every event, the odds were in the Trojans’ favor.
They decided to re-write the record book to leave no doubt.
The Trojans never slowed down at Masuk High School, racing to nine wins in 12 events to win their fourth straight championship with 593 points. The four-peat was clinched far before the final race, as Weston broke five meet records.
“We just had some amazing swims across the board,” Weston coach Brandon Barone said. “Some of them surprised me honestly, I wasn’t expecting us to be there quite yet. They swam out of their minds.”
Alex Pappas was named the meet’s most outstanding swimmer of the meet as she won the 100 backstroke, and helped the Trojans win the 200 freestyle and medley relays. Her time in the backstroke (55.63) won by five seconds and set a new meet record.
It was also moments after competing in a relay.
“It was just incredible. I didn’t think it would go that well,” Pappas said. “My teammates’ support really helped and it’s what I dreamed of; I was a little nervous but I just went behind the block and did what I needed to.”
UConn-bound senior Charlotte Proceller broke the 100 butterfly record by winning in 56.64. She also won the 50 freestyle (56.64). Teammate Bella Gary also won a pair of events — the 200 IM in a record 2:07.18, and the 500 freestyle.
“Breaking five records was amazing,” Proceller said. “We’ve worked so hard for the past two months and everyone is happy. There are a lot of different emotions going on.”
Weston delivered upon its status as the best team in the conference. The Trojans swept the meet season at 10-0 and returned all but two contributors from last season’s run to the title.
“We had a really big returning class,” Barone said. “And we brought in a great freshman class; looking ahead to the next step, we’re looking good on a lot of fronts with it.”
The team battle for second was tight throughout, but Newtown earned enough to points to edge Pomperaug for the runner-up trophy. The Nighthawks finished with 355 while Pomperaug had 336.
“I’m so proud of my team, they really stepped it up today,” Newtown coach Becky Osborne said. “We were hoping for third and the fact we ended up second was just a testament to how hard they worked today. They came out and they wanted it. … Every single person on our team swam their best time today.”
The Bobcats were the only other team to earn a gold medal, winning the three that were not claimed by the Trojans. The 100 breaststroke was arguably the highlight of the entire meet, too.
Brookfield junior Anna Weinstein — who was seeded third entering the race — was surrounded literally and figuratively by three Weston swimmers eying the top prize. Weinstein won the race by fractions — she touched in 1:07.79, ahead of the Trojans’ Nicole and Katherine Linell — and was greeted by a large cheer from the Brookfield contingent.
“I knew it was going to be a close race because everyone in it is great,” Weinstein said. “I focused on staying long and work on what coach Jason (Paige) and I work on during practice. I just put my head down and didn’t rush the stroke and just stayed at the tempo.”
Weinstein also helped Brookfield win the final race of the evening, the 400 freestyle relay, with a time of 3:42.03, about a second ahead of Weston. The Bobcats placed fourth as a team with 321 points.
“That was amazing and everyone in it just worked together and we have such a great team dynamic,” Weinstein said. “We all know each other so well; we knew we had a shot to win it and when it got farther in it, we just put our heads down and went for it.”
Brookfield also went 1-2 in the 200 freestyle as Katie Sharkey won in 1:59.03 and teammate Katie Toll was second in 2:00.51.
The Trojans began the meet by setting a league record in the 200 medley relay as Papas, Samantha Kim, Proceller and Linell swam a 1:47.19.
Weston will now try to win a sixth straight Class S championship when the state meets begin in two weeks. The Trojans finished fifth at least year’s State Open.
“It was honestly the best four years of my life,” said Proceller, who has been apart of each title during the four-peat. “This team is so close and you don’t really get this anywhere else. It’s the best feeling to be to be with these girls and we’re a big family.”
SWC GIRLS SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team scores: 1. Weston 593; 2. Newtown 355; 3. Pomperaug 336; 4. Brookfield 321; 5. Barlow 241; 6. Masuk 224; 7. New Milford 178; 8. Immacualte/Bethel 167; 9. Bunnell 118; 10. New Fairfield 114; 11. Stratford 65.. 200 medley relay: 1. Weston (Alexa Pappas, Samantha Kim, Charlotte Proceller, Katherine Linell) 1:47.19; 2. Pomperaug (Victoria Williams, Jada Stietzel, Emily Strickland, Yianna Anastasiadou) 1:54.55; 3. Newtown (Shayna Millard, Madeline Carter, Olivia Renkert, Payton Bradley) 1:54.76. 200 freestyle: 1. Katie Sharkey (Brookfield) 1:59.03; 2. Katie Tolla (Brookfield) 2:00.51; 3. Sarah Franco (Weston) 2:00.90; 4. Ally Bradley (Weston) 2:01.31; 5. Sarah Falder (New Milford) 2:01.41; 6. Eleanor Labriola (Pomperaug) 2:03.78. 200 IM: 1. Bella Garry (Weston) 2:07.18; 2. Anna Weinstein (Brookfield) 2:09.39; 3. Samantha Kim (Weston) 2:11.50; 4. Maddy O’Connor (Brookfield) 2:13.38; 5. Kesslyn Ward (New Fairfield) 2:17.42; 6. Olivia Renkert (Newtown) 2:17.53. 50 freestyle: 1. Charlotte Proceller (Weston) 24.09; 2. Liz Stoetzel (Masuk) 24.60; 3. Katelyn Hornkohl (New Milford) 25.57; 4. Katherine Linnell (Weston) 25.60; 5. Jada Stietzel (Pomperaug) 25.92; 6. Danae O’Dean (Barlow) 25.98. 100 butterfly: 1. Charlotte Proceller (Weston) 56.64; 2. Katie Sharkey (Brookfield) 59.96; 3. Madeline Carter (Newtown) 1:00.90; 4. Victoria Williams (Pomperaug) 1:01.86; 5. Ally Bradley (Weston) 1:02.37; 6. Rosemary Nieto (Bunnell) 1:02.58. 500 freestyle: 1. Bella Gary (Weston) 5:14.25; 2. Kesslyn Ward (New Fairfield) 5:15.89; 3. Sarah Falder (New Milford) 5:23.67; 4. Sarah Franco (Weston) 5:29.51; 5. Rebecca Moen (Brookfield) 5:32.46; 6. Katalyn Foster (Weston) 5:36.69. 200 freestyle relay: 1. Weston (Alexa Pappas, Ally Bradley, Katherine Linell, Charlotte Proceller) 1:38.52; 2. Newtown (Madeline Carter, Norah Kolb, Payton Bradley, Caroline Mahoney) 1:45.38; 3. Masuk (Erika Stone, Margaret Didio, Makenna Nicholas, Liz Stoetzel) 1:46.20. 100 backstroke: 1. Alexa Pappas (Weston) 55.63; 2. Liz Stoetzel (Masuk) 1:00.77; 3. Devin McGovern (Immaculate/Bethel) 1:01.48; 4. Victoria Williams (Pomperaug) 1:01.70; 5. Shayna Millard (Newtown) 1:01.87; 6. Carolyn Yang (Pomperaug 1:03.50. 100 breaststroke: 1. Anna Weinstein (Brookfield) 1:07.79; 2. Nicole Linell (Weston) 3. Katherine Linell (Weston) 1:08.02; 4. Samantha Kim (Weston) 1:08.16; 5. Jada Stietzel (Pomperaug) 1:10.75; 6. Rosemary Nieto (Bunnell) 1:10.76. 400 freestyle relay: 1. Brookfield (Katie Tolla, Katie Sharkey, Anna Weinstein, Maddy O’Connor) 3:42.03; 2. Weston (Ally Bradley, Bella Gary, Sarah Franco, Samantha Kim) 3:43.34. 3. Pomperaug (Eleanor Labriola, Carolyn Yang, Yianna Anastasiadou, Victoria Williams) 3:48.55.