It was the culmination of a season of lofty goals and dreams and it all came together in a night of “firsts” for the Brookfield High School (BHS) girls swimming and diving team: first ever SWC Championship, record breaking first place relays and record breaking/high point scoring for multiple Bobcat swimmers.
But the theme of the night was clear: A team championship!
The Bobcats finished with 439 points, holding off runner-up Lauralton Hall (424) and Newtown (376). The four-year reign of host Pomperaug ended (which finished 5th with 286 points).
"This was our goal since last year," said Bobcats coach Brandt Nigro. "We knew we could have a big year. We wanted to get runner-up last year and we came up one point short of that. That kind of motivated us for this year."
Senior and captain Maddy Smart broke two SWC records (both of which she held previously) in the 50 and 100 Freestyle. Smart was also named the SWC “Swimmer of the Meet” for the 3rd time in her high school career.
It all began on Monday with the diving competition. Freshman Ana Kavanagh delivered a solid performance for Brookfield by placing 14th overall. On Tuesday night, it was clear from the start of the meet that the Brookfield team was on a mission. The Bobcats got off to a fast start amid the 12 SWC teams by placing 3rd in the always competitive 200 Yard Medley Relay (Anna Brown, Ali Bowers, Jackie Letizia and Katie Dixon).
In the first individual event of the meet, the 200 Freestyle, it was Rachel Brown touching in 1st with Steph Ferrarie placing 3rd, Andrea Jelaska 10th and Sam Russo 17th. In the 200 Individual Medley, Brookfield continued to rack up points as junior Samantha Palicz finished a strong 2nd, Megan Contarino placed 6th, Jackie Letizia 13th and Anna Fernandez 15th. In the 50 Freestyle, Maddy Smart took 1st place (breaking her own SWC record) with Katie Dixon in 11th, Marilyn Duong 19th and Brie Wurst in 25th
Next up, the 100 Yard Butterfly. Brookfield had a strong swim from senior captain Jackie Letizia (9th) along with fellow teammates Fernandez (14th), Duong (22nd) and Wurst (28th).
In the 100 Freestyle, Smart and R. Brown maintained the lead by placing 1st and 2nd with A. Brown coming in 8th and Dixon 15th. In the 500 Free, Ferrarie placed 3rd, senior and captain Andrea Jelaska took 6th, Ali Bowers 10th and LeAnna Murphy 21st.
Going into the final portion of the meet, Brookfield faced two critical team relays. In the 200 Free Relay, a terrific team effort paid big dividends as R.Brown, S. Palicz, A. Brown and Smart took 1st and set yet another SWC record.
In the 100 Yard Backstroke, Brookfield shined amid a record-setting field of backstrokers with Palicz battling to 3rd, A. Brown 4th and Contarino touching in with a clutch 5th place. The “3-4-5 finish” added key points to the Brookfield lead.
Finally, the 100 Yard Breaststroke was the last individual event of the night and saw Bowers take 6th and Carly Palicz place 24th.
The championship night culminated with the 400 Free Relay. The team of R. Brown, S. Palicz, Ferrarie and Smart obliterated the competition with an SWC record setting performance — placing 1st by over 11 seconds. The team’s focus throughout the meet, along with a series of great individual swims and record breaking relays proved to be the difference. Cheering families and friends were everywhere as a packed house celebrated their accomplishment.
Looking back, the 2012 season has been historic in many ways.
During the dual meet season, Brookfield defeated perennial powerhouse Pomperaug and Newtown with impressive wins over long time SWC rivals. The team finished the season with a strong record of 9-2, but each swimmer knew that the dual meet season served merely as a springboard for a much larger goal: an SWC Championship. The team worked tremendously hard with one of the smallest teams in the state by numbers but huge in terms of commitment as the Bobcats saw across the board contributions from everyone.
The win was the teams first ever SWC victory and positions them well for the upcoming Class M State Championships next Tuesday, November 13 at Wesleyan University.
Scores & Highlights
Top 3 SWC Swimmers (by event):
- 200 Medley Relay: 1. Lauralton Hall 1:56.22; 2. Weston 1:58.94; 3. Brookfield 1:59.75
- 200 Freestyle: 1. Rachel Brown (Br) 1:57.94; 2. Courtney Regan (P) 1:58.97; 3. Stephanie Ferrarie (Br) 2:00.64
- 200 IM: 1. Mary Spillane (LH) 2:10.98; 2. Samantha Palicz (Br) 2:14.70; 3. Elizabeth Sargent (LH) 2:16.11
- 50 Freestyle: 1. Maddy Smart (Br) 23.99; 2. Haley Mitchell-Adams (Bu) 25.55; 3. Amy Martinelli (N) 25.76
- 100 Butterfly: 1. Kira Page (NM) 59.43; 2. Sargent (LH) 1:02.35; 3. Alena Sowka (LH) 1:04.47
- 100 Freestyle: 1. Smart (Br) 51.23; 2. Brown (Br) 54.13; 3. Martinelli (N) 55.35
- 500 Freestyle: 1. Olivia Clark (W) 5:29.65; 2. C. Regan (P) 5:14.44; 3. Ferrarie (Br) 5:16.39
- 200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Brookfield 1:40.59; 2. Newtown 1:44.43; 3. Pomperaug 1:46.46
- 100 Backstroke: 1. Page (NM) 58.45; 2. Spillane (LH) 59.21; 3. Palicz (Br) 1:00.02
- 100 Breaststroke: 1. Clark (W) 1:11.33; 2. Megan Collin (LH) 1:12.54; 3. Grace Regan (P) 1:13.05
- 400 Freestyle Relay: 1. Brookfield 3:38.35; 2. Lauralton Hall 3:49.72; 3. Weston 3:55.55