Conard hosted Farmington at Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford Tuesday, in a meet that wasn’t decided until the final event.
By Paul Palmer
A back-and-forth battle in the pool between Conard and Farmington came down to the final event on Tuesday.
With the Riverhawks holding a 6-point lead, the Chieftains needed to finish first and second in the 400-yard freestyle relay to win the meet. A Conard first- and third-place finish would result in a tie. Conard was 1-2 after the opening 100, but Farmington fought back and managed to win the race – and the meet – 97-89.
“They were the better team today,” said Conard coach John Smachetti. “Both teams were swimming short-handed with each missing one of their top swimmers coming into the meet, and Conard losing Sophia Lynch to illness during the contest. They had a very strong swimmer out, to0,” Smachetti said. “You have to race with what you have and today they were better.”
Conard found itself down by 10 points heading into diving. Junior Ali Colburn, who set the school record earlier this year, won the event. Colburn pulled off a dive that was rewarded with scores of 7, 7.5 and 8 (out of 10) and fellow diver Gabrielle Alekshun took second place to pull the Chieftains to within 4 points. Freshman Mia Rosario also turned in a very strong performance on the board diving as an exhibition athlete for Conard. Her scores would have placed her in third place in the competition had she been entered.
Both teams would continue to score points, with neither being able to build a large lead. Freshman Tess Sherry won the 200-yard IM, while twin sister Liv Sherry took both the butterfly and breaststroke honors. Liv also combined with Aspen Rosner, Cecilia Williams, and Claire Dombrofski for a win in the 200-yard freestyle.
Meghan Jo also turned in a personal best in the 500-yard freestyle, along with a strong performance from Jane Harhay.
“Tess in the fly and Meghan in the 500 swam very nice races,” said their coach. Despite the loss, Smachetti says the goal always is the state tournament. “ We’ll continue training and focus on state tourney preps. We have a chance to make a deep run with some of our entries,” he said.
Conard drops to 4-1 on the season and has a tough matchup with Southington later this week – and the always competitive regular season final against Hall on Oct. 28.
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