Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sports

Guilford Girls’ Swimming and Diving Showing Commitment During Second Varsity Season

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Senior tri-captain Chloe Shoff is excelling in the 100 breaststroke for the Guilford girls’ swimming and diving team this fall. The Indians are looking to continue developing dedicated athletes in their second season as a varsity squad. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

Senior tri-captain Chloe Shoff is excelling in the 100 breaststroke for the Guilford girls’ swimming and diving team this fall. The Indians are looking to continue developing dedicated athletes in their second season as a varsity squad. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier)

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Junior Alex Mayo set a new school record in the 100 butterfly last month. She also holds Indians’ records in the 200 and 500 freestyle events. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

Junior Alex Mayo set a new school record in the 100 butterfly last month. She also holds Indians’ records in the 200 and 500 freestyle events. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier)

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Senior Rachael Lai and the Indians are gearing up for a nice finish to the regular season, after which the Guilford will be represented by athletes at the SCC and Class L State championship meets. Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier

Senior Rachael Lai and the Indians are gearing up for a nice finish to the regular season, after which the Guilford will be represented by athletes at the SCC and Class L State championship meets. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier)

As the Guilford girls’ swimming and diving team enters the home stretch of its second varsity season, Head Coach Jen Amasino is emphasizing the importance of continued dedication to her athletes. Based on the Indians’ improvements in the pool, it seems as though they are hearing that message loud and clear.

Last year marked Guilford’s first campaign as a varsity program. While the Indians have yet to get a victory through their first eight meets this year, Coach Amasino said that her team is showing plenty of progress that she hopes will continue during the postseason meets.

“As far as the postseason, we are working hard in these last few weeks to get ready for it,” said Amasino. “We have been working on and will continue to work on our speed, turns, and starts. You have to make a year-round commitment to swimming, especially to compete in the SCC.”

Three seniors who embody that commitment are also serving as tri-captains for Guilford in 2018. Elizabeth Hicks, Chloe Shoff, and Yanenash Ayele are the Indians’ captains, and each athlete is returning for her second season with the squad. Coach Amasino said that all three swimmers not only bring an added level of depth to Guilford’s lineup, but also lead the team through their positive attitudes.

“Elizabeth does distance and freestyle events and will occasionally do the 100 butterfly. She’s helped to lead the other girls with her experience,” Amasino said. “Chloe came over from soccer and fell in love with the sport. She leads by example, and she’s one of our best in the breaststroke. We also move her around to the 200 individual medley and 100 free. Yanenash does sprints and the 100 free, but she’s improved in the backstroke. She is positive and a cheerleader out there.”

The Indians feature an additional veteran presence in senior Sadie Booth, who is the program’s first varsity diver, along with fellow senior Rachael Lai. Alex Mayo, Lea Chaudun, Audrey Rowan, and Anna Angkatavanich are solid contributors for Guilford in the junior class. In a meet versus Hamden earlier this season, Mayo set her third school record when her time of 1:04.39 in the 100 butterfly broke Sarah Stockman’s mark that stood since 2003. Mayo also holds school records in the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle for the Indians.

“Sadie has already qualified for states, and she’s made huge gains in a short amount of time. Rachael does breaststroke and has made a commitment to making herself better. She’s contributed in the dual-meets and works hard in practice,” said Coach Amasino. “Alex has made states in all freestyle events and the 200 IM. She swims year-round and is unbelievable this year. She shows the girls how good they can be when they make that year-long commitment. Audrey is new to the team, but she’s killing it in the 500 free and relays. Anna swam last year…and Lea is one of the best in the butterfly on the team.”

Julia Earle and Haley Moriarty have proven sophomore standouts for the Indians, while Natalie Bryan, Olivia Biagiotti, and Brynn Leslie are faring well during their freshman campaigns.

“Julia has shown unbelievable improvement and is crushing her times from last year, and she does the freestyles and the 100 backstroke. Haley is our Energizer bunny. She has high energy and is competitive,” Amasino said. “Natalie is a year-round swimmer who does butterfly and freestyle. Olivia is new to the sport and swims year-round. Brynn swims for the [Branford Soundview YMCA Stingrays] and can do any event.”

In last week’s action, Guilford dropped a 96-79 decision versus Mercy at Wesleyan University on Oct. 11. Mayo took first place in both the 200 freestyle (2:01.93) and the 100 breaststroke (1:13.37) for the Indians at the meet. Guilford’s 200 freestyle relay team of Leslie, Earle, Mayo, and Moriarty finished first (1:53.13), while the 400 freestyle relay featuring Hicks, Mayo, Leslie, and Moriarty also came in first place (4:12.67). Booth posted a score of 154.55 points to take first place in the diving competition for Guilford.

Additionally, Moriarty finished in second place for both the 200 IM (2:34.60) and the 500 freestyle (5:53.45). Hicks posted a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:14.80. In the 100 backstroke, Earle came in third place (1:18.86) for Guilford. Rowan finished third for the 100 freestyle with a time of 29.14. The Indians’ 200 medley relay of Earle, Shoff, Hicks, and Rowan also came in third place (2:19.89).

Of course, the Indians would love to ride a wave of momentum going into the postseason by notching a regular-season victory. Looking at the bigger picture, Coach Amasino wants to see her athletes keep honing their skills by hitting the water as much as possible after the campaign concludes.

“We have a couple of meets at the end of the season that look like they’ll be close ones, so we would like to get that first win,” said Amasino. “It would definitely fire them up, but they have to make the commitment year-round, and they are buying into that. We are looking to take baby steps this year, but I’m excited about the future.”

From the Sidelines

This is Jen Amasino’s second year as the head coach of the Guilford girls’ swimming and diving.

Linda LePeak is serving as the Indians’ assistant coach this year.

The SCC Championship will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1 at Southern Connecticut State University.

The diving portion of the Class L State Championship will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Middletown High School. The swimming trials are on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3:15 p.m. at the Cornerstone Aquatic Center in West Hartford. The swimming section of the Class L State Championship will take place Southern Connecticut State University at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13.



John Lecardo covers sports for Guilford, Madison, and Haddam-Killingworth for Zip06. Email John at j.lecardo@shorepublishing.com.

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