Guilford Swims its Way to History in 2020
The Guilford girls’ swimming squad scored a whopping total of 1,055 points to take first place at the SCC Division II Virtual Championship this fall. (Photo courtesy of Dorothea Calabrese )
Senior captain Haley Moriarty finished second in the 100 freestyle at the SCC Division II Championship and also swam on a pair of runner-up relays at the meet. (Photo courtesy of Dorothea Calabrese )
Junior Olivia Biagotti, junior Christina LaChance, sophomore Alyssa Simione, and junior Brynn Leslie hit the water for the 500 freestyle during Guilford’s meet on Nov. 10. (Photo courtesy of Dorothea Calabrese )
Junior Brynn Leslie helped Guilford win the SCC Division II title by recording a second-place finish in the 500 freestyle at the championship meet. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Mia Amasino and the Guilford girls’ swim team made history with a first-place finish at the SCC Division II Virtual Championship in 2020. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
The Guilford girls’ swimming team faced plenty of adversity right from the start of the 2020 fall season: The COVID-19 pandemic was in full force, practices were being delayed, and every meet was being contested in a virtual format with no live competition. However, none of these things could prevent Guilford from winning the Southern Connecticut Conference Division II title.
This year, instead a live meet, the SCC held a Virtual Championship in which all 17 teams in the conference competed at their own home pools in order to form the standings. Guilford scored 1,055 points to take first place in the Division II standings, resulting in the program’s first postseason title, and also finished eighth in the SCC overall with 483 points for those rankings.
“What an amazing group of young women that I got to coach. They faced every challenge that was thrown at them and overcame everything,” Head Coach Jenn Amasino said. “From the delayed fall season start to practice times being cut to early 5:30 morning workouts before school and virtual meets with no live competition, they stayed positive the entire season and each individual worked to be the best they could be.”
Several swimmers earned All-SCC Division II honors for Guilford this season. Guilford’s All-Conference honorees include senior captains Haley Moriarty and Julia Earle, junior Brynn Leslie, sophomores Grace Young, Charlotte Martocci, Alyssa Simione, and Rylan Jacobson, and freshman Sorina Cheng.
Cheng finished second in the division and was eighth overall for the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:04.22. Cheng also finished third in the 200 IM in the divisional meet and placed ninth overall in the SCC with a time of 2:19.22.
Young posted a mark of 1:11.75 in the 100 breaststroke to finish second in the division and take sixth place in the conference. Young also turned in a time of 1:05.76 in the 100 butterfly to claim third place in the division and 15th in the SCC.
Moriarty, Young, Jacobson, and Cheng formed the 200 medley relay team for Guilford at the SCC’s Virtual Championship meet. The quartet finished second in the division and placed eighth for the SCC overall with a time of 1:58.25, breaking a school record in the event.
The 200 freestyle relay of Cheng, Moriarty, Young, and Martocci finished second in the division and was sixth in the SCC with a time of 1:46.81. The 400 freestyle relay featuring Leslie, Martocci, Simione, and Earle recorded a time of 4:03.00 to finish second in the division and seventh in the conference.
Leslie swam a time of 5:49.00 in the 500 freestyle to finish second in Division II and 17th in the SCC. Moriarty finished second in the division in the 100 freestyle and was eighth in the conference with a 57.10.
The other swimmers who competed for Guilford at the SCC meet were juniors Olivia Biagotti, Natalie Bryan, Christina LaChance, and Hannah Dang, sophomore Mia Amasino, and freshmen Sofiie Shanbhag, Sofia Tian, and Gwendolyn Braithwaite. Guilford’s roster also included senior Rosabianca Corbett.
“In the end, that is what made them so successful as a team. They came together at the SCC Championship, supported one another, and made up for no spectators by cheering their hearts out for each other,” said Coach Amasino. “I told them from the beginning that they could go undefeated and win the Division II championship. All they needed to do was believe and work hard. That’s exactly what they did, even in the face of adversity.”
Coach Amasino praised her two senior captains, Moriarty and Earle, for the commitment that they made to the team, as well as their willingness to lead Guilford during a tumultuous season.
“I have to give a special thanks to my two senior captains Julia Earle and Haley Moriarty,” said Amasino. “They helped keep the team positive, even in challenging times.”
Amasino said that it never felt quite normal for her swimmers to compete amidst the backdrop of COVID-19. While not having live competition was a challenge, Amasino felt that everyone adapted well to make the best of the situation.
“When you’re racing against the clock with no one there, it is tough, especially for those athletes that thrive on the competitiveness of our sport...so the girls depended on one another to get excited to race, which brought them closer as a team,” Amasino said.
With a championship campaign in the books, Coach Amasino has high hopes for the 2021 season. Amasino’s goal is to recruit more swimmers to come out for the team.
“My expectations for next year are to continue to grow the team in size and continue to have some of the younger girls on the team get stronger. I also want to get greater depth for our program,” Amasino said. “I would like to see them go undefeated again and defend their Division II title. I also look forward to being a more competitive program and hope to challenge some of the Division I teams in the SCC.”