For the second straight year, but for completely different reasons, there was a wave swelling to throw Fairfield Ludlowe girls swimming and diving coach Sara Peck into Fairfield University's Recplex Pool on Wednesday afternoon following the annual Ludlowe-Warde meet. Peck, in her second year with the Falcons after serving as a Warde assistant in 2011, said she put an end to that when she saw her team approaching in a menacing yet friendly manner after Ludlowe's 103-83 win.
Last year, she was tossed in by her former swimmers and divers from Warde. "It was kind of a `ha, ha' thing," she said. This year -- and for the second time since Fairfield High School turned into Ludlowe and Warde in 2005 -- it was the Falcons with the giggles at the end.
Warde had won the cross-town rivalry meet the last two years, after the Falcons' first-ever win over the Mustangs in 2010. The Mustangs lead the series 7-2.
Ludlowe improved to 3-5 on the season in the FCIAC meet, Warde dropped to 2-6.
"I knew they were going to win this meet," said Warde's Georg Palmgren, who has been coach of the Andrew Warde/Roger Ludlowe co-op team, Fairfield High and Fairfield Warde since 1979. "I told her (assistant coach Amy Radovic) that probably in early October. That's based on what I saw in practice." Warde and Ludlowe share the pool for practice.
"They have more depth than we do. I think they picked up an excellent freshman class, which added to the good upperclassmen they had. I think our girls swam as well as they could. They didn't get down and put their heart into it. Ludlowe was the better team overall. Today they had better swims."
Ninth-graders paced the Falcons win, which came from holding on to the lead after their divers opened the meet by taking the first three places among the five athletes who scored for a 13-3 advantage. Ludlowe freshman Brianna Auray was on the second-place 200-yard medley and 200 freestyle relays and the winning 400 freestyle relay. But she was the winner in the 50 freestyle, one of six individual events won by the Falcons. Two of the Warde victories were claimed by senior Chelsea Pond (200 individual medley and 500 freestyle), who was on the Mustangs' two victorious relays as well.
Ludlowe freshman Hannah Arman won the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, as well as swimming in the medley and 400 freestyle relays. Freshman Ingrid Duffy (medley and 400 freestyle relays) took first place in the 200 freestyle and senior captain Scout Curtin won the 100 butterfly.
Senior captain Kim Cortelessa won the diving, with senior captain Kelsey Tague runner-up and junior Jocelyn Kane third. Senior Acacia Galle, the other captain, contributed by placing third each in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, in addition to being in the 200 freestyle relay and the third-place 400 relay.
Peck noted the leadership of her senior captains along with the efforts of the freshman in what she called a "huge" team victory. "It's the meet we look forward to the most," Peck said.