WHS swim and dive team took down conference foe Glastonbury, winning by a single point at WHS on Sept. 19
Prior to last Tuesday night, WHS head coach Lee Schwartzman had never been involved in a swimming and diving meet decided by one point.
Now, the veteran coach can check that off the list after his Eagles edged Glastonbury 93-92 in the team’s dramatic home opener at WHS on Sept. 19.
“I can’t think of a more exciting dual meet we’ve had at that pool. I looked like I jumped in the pool by the end,” Schwartzman joked.
Winning by a single point was stressful enough, yet beating an opponent like Glastonbury added to the overall celebration.
The Eagles had not defeated the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) powerhouse since 2017 and a year ago at Glastonbury High School, the Guardians soundly defeated Eagles.
Schwartzman said GHS has been the gold standard in the conference and added that the win didn’t come down to a single swimmer or single evert, but rather the entire team.
“This is the true example that everybody counts,” he added.
Senior captain Sabrina Schuster led the way by being involved in four wins as the Eagles took first place in eight of the dozen events.
Schuster, Milena Brodowicz, Ava Gill, Jilian Pitchell started the meet by winning the 200 medley relay and then Schuster placed first in the 200 freestyle before Brodowicz won the 200 individual medley.
Schuster (100 butterfly), Brodowicz (500 freestyle), and the foursome of Schuster, Brodowicz, Pitchell, and Morgan Tracy placed first in the 200 freestyle relay to round out the first place finishes in swimming.
Schwartzman credited both Schuster and Brodowicz, a sophomore, for leading the pack this fall, adding, “They are so battled tested. They have bene in some many big meets, whether it’s at high school or their club teams.”
Dayna Miller, Wethersfield’s only diver in the competition, also took first — besting three Guardians divers.
But it wasn’t just the first place finishes that propelled the Eagles to victory.
Schwartzman noted that it was all the close calls in the second, third, fourth, and fifth places finishes that ultimately made the difference,
One particular photo finish was in the 50 freestyle where Wethersfield’s Isabella Korzinski placed 4th with a time of 27.70 and Glastonbury’s Kaylee Polnik placed 5th with a time of 27.75. The 5/100th of a second difference made a crucial one-point swing.
Prior to the meet, Schwartzman showed his team the results and video of the last time his team beat the Guardians six years ago in an effort to convince his young team that “it’s not impossible.”
“They have been working hard and we looked at what we did in 2017 training-wise because it worked,” stated Schwartzman, who added that the team has done more speed work early in the season. “Some years you have a shot and some years you don’t, and this was definitely a year we had a shot.”
Coincidentally, the latest win over Glastonbury was exactly six years ago to the day of the 2017 triumph.
Schwartzman also credited a strong freshman class that accounted for a quarter of the team’s individual points in the narrow victory.
Gill, Tracy, Madison Kelly, and Julia Cartiera headline are strong Class of 2027 that are making waves this fall.
“You never know how they will react when the lights go on and they’ve been amazing,” Schwartzman said of his freshmen. “We always count on our freshmen, but for them to come in a make and impact in a win like this is incredible.”
Captaining the ship this year for Schwartzman are Schuster and fellow seniors Payton Roth and Sophia Lynch
He praised his captains for believing in the system.
“I’ve been pushing them really hard at practice and last week over the course of two pretty challenging practices, something just kind of switched,” Schwartzman recalled. “Everything just kind of worked out perfectly and this is the proof
for a decade to come that every practice counts”
Following the emotional victory, the Eagles closed the week with a convincing road victory over Newington (89-70) on Sept. 22, improving the team to 3-0 overall. In the latest win, Wethersfield took first in all 11 swimming events, with Pitchell (200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke), Brodowicz (100 freestyle and 100 backstroke), and junior Katie Moran (200 freestyle and 100 butterfly) each scoring a pair of individual victories.
Next up is a home date with Berlin on Friday, Sept 29 at 5 p.m. It will mark the Eagles first meet back at WHS since the nail-biting victory over Glastonbury at Backman Pool.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin