girls SWIMMING Swimming to success
Greenwich Academy’s 2017-2018 swimming season ended the way its 2016-17 campaign concluded — with the NEPSAC Division I championship trophy in its possession.
Though 15 seniors from last season’s championship squad departed, the Gators, who also haven’t lost a dual meet in several years, certainly haven’t lowered their expectations.
“We do have high expectations coming off this past year,” said GA senior Kate Hazlett, who is serving as one of the team’s four captains. “We have a lot of up-and-coming swimmers on our team, which has a lot of swimmers, who compete year-round. Right now, our goal is to learn the our team’s new dynamic and get close as a team.”
Hazlett, who will swim at Harvard University in the fall of 2019, should lead GA in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke events, while helping guide the some of the relay races. A versatile swimmer, Hazlett will likely test her skills in each event the team needs her in.
“Hopefully, we can go undefeated again and win New Englands again,” said Hazlett, who won the 50-yard freestyle title at last season’s NEPSAC Division I Championships in a NEPSAC/Greenwich Academy/pool-record time of 22.92 seconds. And oh yes, that time also earned her All-American accolades. Filling the role as senior captains as well for Greenwich Academy are Charlotte Duty, Kate Brush and Emmy Sammons.
Duty is one of GA’s top competitors on the 1-meter diving board, while Brush gives the team depth in the distance freestyle events and Sammons brings versatility.
Sophomore Caroline Pennington is coming off a freshman season that saw her capture the NEPSAC title in the 500 freestyle (5:01.46) and junior Sophia Moore returns after excelling in several events last season (third in 100 backstroke at NEPSAC finals last season). Claire Michalik, a sophomore (second in 100 breaststroke at NEPSAC Championships last year), will be relied upon to spark the squad in several events, as will Brush, Hutton Saunders and Avery Sammons.
Guiding GA is former Harvard swimmer Michael Sabala, who begins his second season as coach. The Gators finished a perfect 9-0 during the regular season last winter, before winning the Bud Erich Championships (FAA Championships) and NEPSAC Division I title.
“Last year, the team was very successful,” said Sabala, who is assisted by Dominique Voso. “We had a ton of fun and they swam very fast. Overall, it was a great, exciting year with, featuring a lot of personal-best times.”
Among the 15 graduates from last season’s team were captains Paula Scanlan, Ever Lasley, Emma Cannon and Isabel Sorenson. Hannah Subramaniam (swimming at University of Chicago), Paula Scanlan (competing at the University of Pennsylvania), Christina Li (New York University), Borden Wahl (water polo at Harvard), Sydney Heath and diver Ashlyn Wahl, were among some of last season’s graduates.
Diver Anna Bingle, a freshman, who placed second at the NEPSAC meet in diving last season for Sacred Heart, joins the GA squad this season. Ashley Hu (100 breaststroke), a sophomore, makes her return to the team, following a one-year absence.
“We lost 15 seniors — a lot of swimmers and some divers — but it happens every year, it’s the nature of a four-year swim program,” Sabala said. “This should be a really good group, with a lot of experienced versatile swimmers.”
Said Hazlett: “We won New Englands and have been undefeated in dual meets for a long time. “We’re excited about what we can accomplish this season.”