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Avon girls continue domination at Splash Classic with 12th consecutive title

Girls on the Avon High boys swimming team won the Splash Classic for the 12th consecutive year Saturday in Plainville.

PLAINVILLE, Feb. 24 – Kelly Zhou won two individual events while the Avon swept the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays to lift the Falcons to the Splash Classic championship for the 12th straight year on Saturday at Plainville High.

Avon outlasted Northwestern, 328-249 with Litchfield taking a distant third with 139 points. The meet is a girls-only event for athletes that swim on boys swimming teams during the winter. The official CIAC swimming season for girls is in the fall. Girls are still invited to compete in the CIAC championship meets in the winter but they must meet boys qualifying times to do so.

“The girls really had to step up and swim fast and they rose to the challenge,” Avon High coach Diana Cesaro said. “We had some great swims and two of our relays took first.”

Zhou picked up four first place medals. She won the 100 yard freestyle for the second straight year beating Litchfield’s Sarah McCarthy again. A year ago, Zhou won by 0.24 of a second. This year, it was closer with a 0.09 of a second victory with a winning time of 54.11 seconds.

Zhou also won the 200 freestyle (2:03.21) with a two-second victory over teammate Kayla Bucci. Zhou also swam on Avon’s winning 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays.

The 200 freestyle relay (Kelly Zhou, Erika Nguyen, Emily Foley, Karen Zhou) set a new team record with their winning time of 1:41.78, breaking the mark of 1:42.38 set a year ago by Foley, Sarah Preleski, Annie Hayes and Kelly Zhou. The Falcons beat Litchfield by 0.62 of a second.

From left, head coach Diana Cesaro, captains Emily Foley, Jennifer Wall and Sarah Osiecki and assistant coach Sibylle Gunzl

Avon also captured the 400 freestyle relay (Nguyen, Karen Zhou, Kayla Bucci, Kelly Zhou) won the race in 3:44.60, just missing the team and meet record. But it was more than enough to beat Northwestern Regional by more than seven seconds.

Avon’s depth helped throughout the meet. The Falcons took the first, second, sixth and 12th spots in the 200 freestyle. They played four girls in the top seven in the 200 IM and had four in the top nine in the 100 freestyle. They had five in the top 12 of the 100 backstroke and four in the top 11 of the 500 yard freestyle.

“There were so many strong swims,” Cesaro said.

Nguyen had a pair of second place finishes in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly along with swimming on two winning relay teams. Karen Zhou was sixth in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 fly along with swimming on the two winning relay teams.

Emily Foley anchored the 200 yard medley relay team that finished fourth, took fourth in the 50 yard freestyle and third in the 100 free with a personal best time of 57.03. She also swam on the 200 freestyle relay team that finished first.

Megan Boswell finished third in the 100 backstroke while Bucci was second in the 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

Canton had a pair of swimmers competing in the event. Gracey Boman finished third in the 100 breast stroke and sixth in the 100 butterfly. The two swimmers train with Avon.

Granby’s Madison McFarland won the diving with Simsbury’s Evelyn Neagoy taking second Granby’s Diana Goldman taking third. Northwestern’s Cassidy Stotler swept the 200 IM and 100 butterfly. Simsbury’s Lilia Duningan was third in the 200 IM and second in the 100 breast stroke.

From left, seniors Gracey Boman, Phoebe Finch, Aarohi Patel, Emily Boswell, Kayla Bucci, Megan Boswell, and Emily Farrell, manager. Front: captains Sarah Osiecki, Jennifer Wall and Emily Foley

2018 Splash Classic
At Simsbury
Team results – 1. Avon 328, 2. Northwestern 249, 3. Litchfield 139, 4. Simsbury 129, 5. Southington 110, 6. Lewis Mills 83, 7. Shepaug 79, 8. Hartford Classical 60,9. Gilbert 50, 10. Granby 49, 11. Nonnewaug 35, 12. Northwest Catholic 32, 13. Canton 21, 14. Conard 13, 15. Wamogo 6, 16. Bristol 4

Individual results
200 yard medley relay: Northwestern (Karolin Morton, Caroline Crone, Cassidy Stoter, Kelly Stolter) 1:54.33, 2. Litchfield 1:57.94, 3. Southington 1:58.33, 4. Avon (Megan Boswell, Sarah Thomas, Kayla Bucci, Emily Foley) 1:58,75, 5. Simsbury (Hannah Sullivan, Lilia Dunnigan, Bailee Cota, Mia Cirelli) 2:02.11, 6. Lewis Mills (Aubrey Surian, Kathryn Bergstrom, Sophia Yescott, Chloe Yescott) 2:07.19

200 yard Free: Kelly Zhou, Avon, 2:03.01, 2. Kayla Bucci, Avon, 2:05.90, 3. Mackenzie Stotler, Northwestern, 2:08.23, 4. Elisa Afiouni, Shepaug, 2:08.46, 5. Clair Vailionis, Litchifield, 2:10.12, 6. Phoebe Finch, Avon, 2:12.86

200 IM: Cassidy Stotler, Northwestern 2:13.31, 2. Erika Nguyen, Avon 2:16.38, 3. Lilia Dunnigan, Simsbury, 2:18.67, 4. Kenyon Prenouveau, Litchfield 2:22.88, 5. Megan Boswell, Avon, 2:24.26, 6. Jennifer Wall, Avon, 2:26.59

50 free: Sarah Meade, Southington, 24.91, 2. Sarah McCarthy, Litchfield, 24.98, 3. Kelly Stotler, Northwestern, 25.27, 4. Emily Foley, Avon, 25.95, 5. Sydney Johnston, Northwestern, 26.11, 6. Karen Zhou, Avon, 26.35

Diving: Madison McFarland, Granby 387.50, 2. Evelyn Neagoy, Simsbury, 341.90, 3. Diana Goldman, Granby 338.80, 4. Casidhe Hughes, Northwestern, 336.50, 5. Samantha Grela, Lewis Mills, 332.60, 6. Mariah Jennison, Gilbert, 286.30

100 butterfly: Cassidy Stotler, Northwestern, 59.88, 2. Erika Nguyen, Avon, 1:00.19, 3. Kenyon Prenoveau, Litchfield, 1:01.39, 4. Leda Mastinu, Gilbert, 1:01.95, 5. Mia Cirelli, Simsbury 1:04.66, 6. Gracey Boman, Canton, 1:04.78

100 freestyle: Kelly Zhou, Avon, 54.11, 2. Sarah McCarthy, Litchfield, 54.20, 3. Emily Foley, Avon, 57.03, 4. Sydney Johnston, Northwestern, 57.42, 5. Hannah Lasky, Shepaug, 59.62, 6. Caroline Smith, Conard, 59.73

500 freestyle: Leda Mastinu, Gilbert, 5:20.15, 2. Kayla Bucci, Avon, 5:44.72, 3. Elisa Afiouni, Shepaug 5:49.81, 4. Emily Boswell, Avon, 5:50.25, 5. Carolina Crone, Northwestern, 5:50.36, 6. Aubrey Surian, Lewis Mills, 5:50.72

200 free relay:  Avon (Erika Nguyen, Emily Foley, Karen Zhou, Kelly Zhou) 1:41.78, 2. Litchfield 1:42.41, 3. Northwestern 1:49.76, 4. Shepaug 1:55.22, 6. Hartford Classical 1:55.28, 6. Simsbury (Jessica Vertrano, Maddie Shiman, Bailee Cota, Olivia May) 1:55.52

100 backstroke: Kelly Stotler, Northwestern, 1:01.47, 2. Sarah Meade, Southington, 1:02.38, 3. Megan Boswell, Avon, 1:04.45, 4. Jennifer Wall, 1:06.21, 5. Julia Wakefield 1:06.43, 6. Sindy Gorka, Nonnewaug 1:06.83

100 breaststroke: Caroline Crone, Northwestern 1:09.33, Lilia Dunnigan, Simsbury 1:09.37, 3.Gracey Boman, Canton, 1:13.48, 4. Sarah Osiecki, Avon, 1:15.45, 5. Sydney Donohue, Litchfield, 1:16.71, 6. Sarah Thomas, Avon, 1:18.40

400 freestyle relay:  Avon (Erika Nguyen, Karen Zhou, Kayla Bucci, Kelly Zhou) 3:44.60, 2. Northwestern 3:51.60, 3. Southington 4:03.36, 4. Simsbury (Mia Cirelli, Hannah Sullivan, Olivia May, Lilia Dunnigan) 4:04.67, 5. Lewis Mills (Chloe Yescott, Kathryn Bergstrom, Sophia Yescott, Aubrey Surian) 4:13.87, 6. Hartford Classical 4:19.60

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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