Girls swim: Tigers look to build off historic season

For the Ridgefield High girls swim team, 2016 was the best year in program history.

The Tigers won a first-ever Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship and then finished second to perennial power Greenwich at both the Class LL and State Open meets.

The bad news? Ridgefield graduated its top-two swimmers, Marcie Maguire and Lindsey Gordon, who combined to win eight post-season individual events. Six of those victories came from Maguire (now competing at Virginia), who was the state's best high school swimmer last fall.

Although the Tigers might be hard-pressed to match last year's success, any drop-off shouldn't be severe. Ridgefield returns a number of swimmers who contributed post-season points, and the mix of talent and depth will allow the Tigers to excel across all events.

"We have high expectations because it's such a good group of girls and we hope all our hard work will pay off and we can remain elite ..." said Ridgefield head coach Jeff Bonaccorso, whose team began the season with a win over St. Joseph on Wednesday (see below).

The leading returnees include senior Micaela O'Malley, juniors Anna Turner, Hannah Snyder, Elissa Clancy, Julia Weiner, and Jenna Leonard, and sophomore Hanna Sotolongo — all of whom had at least one top-eight individual finish at a post-season meet in 2016.

Senior Annette Meyers and juniors Emma Brody and Jenna Budicini all contributed points with top-24 individual finishes at last year's Class LL meet, as did senior divers Alaina Harris and Gabrielle LaCoille.

Seniors Rachel Blieden and Elizabeth Schroppe also return, while freshmen Stephanie Bishop and Rylie Giles could make immediate contributions.

"Overall we feel really good about the team this year and look forward to competing towards being a championship level team," said Bonaccorso.

Notes: Ridgefield defeated St. Joseph, 90-70, in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday at the Barlow Mountain pool. The Tigers built a 90-26 lead before swimming exhibition (no points) in the final four events.