By PHIL BRODSKY
Orange Live Sports Writer
The Amity girls swim team placed third in the CIAC Class LL Championship Meet, which was held Wednesday night at Southern Connecticut State University’s Dr. James W. Moore Field house Pool in New Haven. Greenwich won the meet with 816 points with Cheshire (555) second and the Lady Spartans third (517). With her victorious time of 55.24 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly and her second place 24.05 in the 50 freestyle, Amity’s Dana Grindall was chosen as the meet’s Outstanding Swimmer.
The Lady Spartans started the meet with a second place 1:50.13 in the 200 medley relay. Madeline Snow was fourth in the 200 free (1:56.05) and Anna Lu was right behind with a fifth place time of 1:56.37. Shannon Earley’s 2:15.14 gave her eighth place in the 200 individual medley. Amanda Craig earned 426.40 points for her 11 dives and placed her fourth, despite injuring her shoulder and scraping her arm when she hit the diving board and recorded a failed dive.
In addition to Grind all’s victory in the 100 butterfly, teammate Lindsay Morton posted an eighth place 1:01.85. Lu rang up a second place 5:08 in the 500 free. The Amity quartet of Dana Chung, Madeline Snow, Lu, and Grindall placed fourth in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:39.29. The meet ended with Lady Spartans Snow, Lindsay Morton, Jessica Kochiss, and Lu finished seventh in the 400 free relay. Their time was 3:45.03.
According to Coach Todd Rainey, “We wanted to be first or second, but it was what it was. We’re a little disappointed not to have defeated Cheshire, but they have a very good team that’s loaded with depth and talent. That’s how they beat us in both the SCC and LL Championship Meets. Still, we’ll gladly take third place. Most of our swimmers had personal best times. We did the best we could possibly do with who we had at the meet. I just wish we had a few more swimmers with us.”
In addition to Grindall, Rainey went on to also praise Snow and Lu for their performances in both the 200 and 500 free as well as Ambrosey, who had a significant two second time drop in the 100 breaststroke.
Amity closed out its season Saturday with a fourth place finish in the State Open, which was held in the Kipputh Exhibition Pool of Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Darien won the meet, recording 548 points. Following the Blue Wave were: New Canaan (439), Greenwich (436), and Amity (295). Cheshire, the Lady Spartans’ long-time Southern Connecticut Conference arch-rival, placed seventh with 199 points.
Grindall (who will swim for the University of Wisconsin next year) closed out her glorious scholastic swimming career by winning the 100-yard butterfly for the fourth year in a row. Her winning time was 54.13, which sets a new personal, school, and State Open record. Swimming back-to-back events, she also placed third in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.88. Diving despite a sore shoulder suffered when she hit the diving board at the Class LL Championship Meet, Craig placed second at the Open with a new school record of 433.25 for 11 dives.
“I’m very pleased how we were up there with all those outstanding teams from Fairfield County. We showed that we can compete with them because we also have a quality team,” Rainey said.
Chung, Early, Ambrosey and Grindall combined for a second place 1:48.81 in the 200 medley relay, less than a half second behind Darien, which finished at 1:48.51. Lu’s 5:08.84 earned her fourth place in the 500 free. With their new school record of 1:39.01, Lady Spartans Chung, Snow, Lu, and Grindall were fourth in the 200 free relay.
He added, “Dana Chung did a phenomenal job in the 200 medley relay with her personal best split in the freestyle. She got out of the water, walked from Lane 5 to Lane 2 and 90 seconds later, swam the 200 free. Her time showed how tired she was, but it’s all about the team to Dana. I could have pulled her out of one event or the other, but she wanted to give it her best shot, swimming back-to-back races. I was very impressed by and so proud of what Dana did.”
The Lady Spartan “swimmin’ women” will have 10 seniors graduate in June—most notably Grindall, Lu, Craig, Early, and Morton. Grindall, who was a three-time All American, won the 100 butterfly three times at the State Open and set three new State Open records.
Despite those significant losses, Rainey point to the return of Snow, Chung, Mollee Lasto, Ambrosey, Lydia Pokluda, Brittney Smith, and Hannah Flaherty.