In one respect the state Class M meet was not that different from the South-West Conference finals for the Joel Barlow High girls swim team.
The Falcons, who placed sixth out of 12 schools at the league meet earlier this month, again found themselves in the middle of the field when came time for state competition last Tuesday, Nov. 13. Competing in Class M for the second straight year, they were 11th out of 21 schools with 225 points, two behind Foran of Milford at Wesleyan University in Middletown.
It marked a slight improvement for the team, which was 13th a year ago when competing in Class M for the first time.
Branford was the clear-cut winner with 694 points. SWC champ Brookfield was runner-up with 521 and Wethersfield was third with 488.
Each race had its fair share of competition. The top 24 entrants in each even earned points (top 20 in the relays). The Falcons often placed in the B finals.
Such was the case in the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay. Caroline Warren, Carson Gurley, Emily Cheung and Paige Collins combined for a time of two minutes, 7.05 seconds, good for 13th overall.
Rebecca McCain had the Falcons’ fastest time in the 200 free. With a 2:05.83, she was 15th, also placing in the B finals. Cameron Gurley followed in 17th with a 2:05.24, an improvement of more than a second on her seed time.
Warren, one of several Barlow swimmers to compete in multiple events, managed to score in the 200 individual medley with a 2:28.50, taking 23rd.
It was a fast field in the 50 free. Barlow’s lone representative was Collins, who swam a 26.66 for 14th.
Barlow’s best performance in Class M actually came the previous Friday at the diving finals at Plainville High. Bridget Zaleski scored a 297.55 to take fourth.
The Falcons also had one entry in the 100 butterfly. Here Cheung took 22nd in 1:08.77.
Nearly equaling her seed time in the 100 free, Collins made the B finals and was 13th overall in 57.48, a tenth of a second behind Watertown’s Micaela McGowan. Cameron Gurley improved on hers by more than a second and was 17th.
McCain went the distance for the Falcons in the 500 free, finishing in 5:31.81, beating her seed time and taking 10th.
The 200 free relay was the best relay for Barlow. Collins. Shannon Burghardt, McCain and Cameron Gurley combined for a 1:47.50, taking eighth and improving on their seed time by nearly half a second.
Two scored for Barlow in the 100 backstroke. Cheung finished in 1:06.55 for 15th and Warren was 18th with a 1:07.50.
The 100 breaststroke was the only event in which Barlow did not have an entry. It did have one for the final event, the 400 free relay. Cheung, Stephanie Gerschwer, McCain and Cameron Gurley scored the final points of the season for their team in 4:00.47, taking 11th.