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Conard Girls Swim & Dive Upsets Hall’s Perfect Record

Becca Hendsey wins the 100 breast stroke. Photo credit: Andy Stabnick, LowTide Photography

Any contest between West Hartford crosstown rivals Hall and Conard is bound to be intensely competitive, and Wednesday night the Conard girls swimming and diving team was the victor.

Teammates on deck cheer on the 200 IM swimmers including Kate Bell. Photo credit: Andy Stabnick, Low Tide Photography

Teammates on deck cheer on the 200 IM swimmers including Kate Bell. Photo credit: Andy Stabnick, Low Tide Photography

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The Conard High School girls swim and dive team went into the Hall swim meet as an underdog on Wednesday, Oct. 26, but pulled off a stunning upset to give Conard the CCC South Region (White Division) title. Although the meet was close, Conard led the overall score throughout the entire meet, showing both the depth and determination of the team.

The meet opened with Conard’s 200 medley relay team of Lauren Manning, Rebecca Hendsey, Kate Bell, and Emma Dowd decisively wining the event in a time of 1:54.54. In the 200 freestyle, Hall’s Tara Tiernan won with a time of 1:57.27 while Conard’s Natalie Chernysh and Lauren Manning rounded out the top three. The 200 IM saw Conard freshman Bell and Conard senior Dowd take first and third, while Hall freshman Aislinn Mitchell finished second.

Conard's Libby McMahon broke 200 points for a first-place finish in the diving competition. Photo credit: Andy Stabnick, Low Tide Photography

Conard’s Libby McMahon broke 200 points for a first-place finish in the diving competition. Photo credit: Andy Stabnick, Low Tide Photography

The 50 free was won by Hall freshman Maggie Mantz, while Conard’s Tatiana St Juste and Jessica Frigon finished second and third respectively. Conard diver Libby McMahon broke 200 points with a first place win over Hall’s Rachel Pinsky.

In the 100 butterfly, Bell picked up her second individual win of the evening as she set a new Conard record with a time of 57.60 with Conard’s Libby Phillips coming in third. Mantz captured her second win of the day in the 100 free over Dowd (56.68). Tiernan won the 500 free over second place finisher Chernysh.

In the last four events, Hall’s 200 free relay team of Tiernan, Jeanne Wang, Mantz, and Tiernan took the top spot in a time of 1:43.37. The backstroke was the closest individual event of the evening as Aeva Silverman of Hall just edged out Manning and St Juste from Conard. Hendsey came up with a big swim in the 100 breast stroke and won the event with a lifetime best 1:11.76. Emmie LaSpada of Hall finished second and Chloe Williams took home third with a lifetime best time of 1:15.76.

In the last event of the meet, the 400 free relay, the race came down to Conard’s anchor leg swimmer, Chernysh, who held off Hall’s Tiernan to secure second place for Conard with a time of 3:52.87 over Hall’s B relay team’s 3:52.98. Although Hall’s A relay team finished the event in first place, the second place finish by Conard secured the overall meet victory with a final score of 94-92.

Conard’s coach John Smachetti could not have been more proud of the effort given by his team. “With all the outstanding swims we had tonight, personal bests, a school record and leading the score the entire way, we were in trouble with two events left. Becca Hensey took all the efforts of her teammates in previous races and delivered a decisive first place win in the 100 breaststroke to help secure the the title.”

For more photographs of the meet, visit Low Tide Photography’s website.

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Becca Hendsey wins the 100 breast stroke. Photo credit: Andy Stabnick, LowTide Photography

Becca Hendsey wins the 100 breast stroke. Photo credit: Andy Stabnick, LowTide Photography

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