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    Friday, September 22, 2023

    2023 High school girls’ swimming preview capsules

    Laura Letellier, who won the 100-yard breaststroke at last year’s ECC championship meet, is back to lead the Fitch cooperative girls’ swimming program this fall. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Following is a team-by-team preview of the 2023 high school girls’ swimming season:


    East Lyme

    Coach: Rob Bouchey (2nd season)

    Outlook: After losing twice to rival Fitch during the regular-season, the Vikings bounced back to beat the Falcons to win their 22nd straight ECC championship meet (they have won every postseason meet since girls’ swimming moved to the fall in 2000. The return some key point-scorers from last season and an infusion of freshman talent should put East Lyme in position to go for ECC postseason title No. 23.


    Coach: Alison Colussi (3rd season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Sophia Pacheco (freestyle, breaststroke), Sr. Laura Letellier (breast), Sr. Elliott Singer (butterfly), Sr. Sian Crespo (free), Jr. Anna Orphanides (fly), Jr. Jai-Lynn Wheeler (free).

    Top newcomers: So. Kaitlyn Kumpf (backstroke), Fr. Haley Singer (free), Fr. Audrey Schrage (back).

    Outlook: The Falcons, who are joined by Stonington, New London and Wheeler as a cooperative program, hope this is the year they finally end East Lyme’s 22-year reign as ECC postseason tournament champions. They must replace Delaney Reck, The Day’s All-Area Swimmer of the Year, but return three ECC individual champions in Orphanides (100 buttefrly), Wheeler (100 freestyle) and Letellier (100 breaststroke). “we have the largest junior and senior classes in recent history,” Colussi said, “and look to their leadership and talent as they hope to continue to climb to a higher finish at the Class L meet (7th in 2022) and take down rival East Lyme.”

    Ledyard/St. Bernard

    Coach: Katey Kokomoor (5th season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Cate McKenzie (500 freestyle, breaststroke), Sr. Mackenzie Hope (free, backstroke), Jr. Thelma Grogan (500 free, breast).

    Top newcomers: Jr. Seidi Schiro (100 and 200 free), So. Anna Kate O'Donnell (butterfly, free), So. Catherine Perez (freestyle and IM).

    Outlook: St. Bernard joins the Colonels to form a new co-op program this fall, which should make the team more competitive in the ECC. “All of the girls work well together,” Kokomoor said. “The girls from both schools complement each other well.”

    Norwich Free Academy

    Coach: Cory Tubbs (20th season)

    Key returnees: Natalie Bezanson (IM, backstroke), Stephanie Herr (IM, breaststroke), Mercedes Alksjuka (freestyle), Gianna Lennon (free), Kaylee Riley (back, free), Willow Ludlow (200 and 500 free).

    Top newcomers: Sawyer Levine (back, butterfly), Catie Wigfield (200 and 500 free).

    Outlook: The Wildcats are young, but Tubbs has 25 swimmers in the program this fall, which should lead to a stronger season. “We look forward to developing into a competitive team,” Tubbs said.


    Coach: Amy Poulton (1st season)

    Key returnees: Sr. Elizabeth Saucier, Jr. Julia Gathy, Jr. Victoria Matyakubov, So. Hannah Blomberg, So. Zaya Haglund.

    Top newcomer: Fr. Luciana Juliani.

    Outlook: Gathy, who won the 200 freestyle and placed second in the 500 free at last year’s ECC championships, returns to lead the Lancers under first-year coach Poulton. Blomberg also placed in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. “We’ve added depth this season for a well-rounded team looking to place well in the ECC championship meet,” Poulton said.


    Old Lyme

    Coach: Katie Roberts (1st season)

    Outlook: Roberts takes over a program which graduated two seniors and will swim in a new pool this fall. “We are hoping to foster a supportive environment and have some great individual wins this season,” she said.

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