Double individual winners Elizabeth Connolly, Roserita DiMillo and Katie Pollock sparked the Lockport Lady swim Lions to a 108-65 victory over visiting Niagara Falls on Tuesday, topping non-league girls swim action.
It was Lockport’s third straight victory over one of the Niagara Frontier League’s “Big Three” schools. Lockport defeated Kenmore West and Niagara-Wheatfield in the past two weeks in tri-meets. Unfortunately, all three of the meets are considered “non-league” with the Lady Lions’ official league slate starting at 5 p.m. Friday at Lewiston-Porter.
“It was a good meet today. We had a lot of decent times,” said Lady Lions’ first-year head coach Larissa McKenna. “We’re in the tough part of our season right now. We’re doing a lot of yards at practice and the a lot of them are feeling it, but we’re getting there. We’re anxious to get on the books starting Friday.”
The senior stalwart DiMillo, a sectional qualifier a year ago, won both the 200 individual medley (2:33.66) and the 100 breast (1:17.57), Pollock, just an eighth grader, placed first in both the 50 freestyle (:26.53) and the 100 free (:58.83), while Elizabeth Connolly, a sophomore, touched first in both the 200 free (2:02) and the 500 free (5:28.37).
“I think we’re doing great, but we have a lot to improve upon. I hope to improve a lot before the first league meet, but I need to practice a lot harder,” Elizabeth Connolly said.
Other first-place finishers for the Lady Lions were senior Brianna Darnell in diving (194.85 points) and sophomore Kristina Connolly in the 100 backstroke (1:08.62).
The Lady Lions dominated the opening 200 medley relay, as Pollock, DiMillo, Kristina Connolly and junior Hana Snow won by more than a pool length in 2:02.41. Lady Lions junior Lauren Isherwood, sophomore Sarah Yensan, junior Katie Harmon and eighth grader Megan Tatro placed third in 2:13.13.
Elizabeth Connolly ran away with the 200 freestyle, leading by one-and-a-half pool lengths by the final turn. LHS senior Rachel Williams was third in 2:22.25.
DiMillo trailed in the 200 IM until the final two legs, bouncing back strong to win by a quarter of a pool length. Pollock splashed to a big win in the 50 freestyle (:26.53), then doubled moments later in the 100 free (:58.83).
“I think today was a good way to see how we have to act when it’s a real meet and it’s bigger and more important,” Pollock said. “My goal is to try to beat the 50 and 100 free records. I’m going to keep working hard on that.”
Darnell won a spirited diving competition that featured nine competitors. The runner-up was up-and-coming Lockport eighth grader Julia LaRose with 188.33 points, followed by Julia Marino of Niagara Falls in third with 115.72 points.
“Brianna is my senior and she’ll finish somewhere in the top six in sectionals this year,” said Lockport diving coach Jasper Adams. “I’m hoping she’ll make states. It’s going to be a toss up, but a lot of the kids who were ahead of her have graduated. And Julia, my eighth grader, all I can say is watch out.”
Darnell said she pulled out some more difficult dives on Tuesday than in Lockport’s first two non-league meets.
“They were more challenging dives — some harder degrees of difficulty,” Darnell said. “I was a little nervous, but I think I pulled it out well. There’s always room for improvement.”
Of LaRose, Darnell said the sky’s the limit. “She’s got a great work ethic. I just try to encourage her and let her know that she has a lot of potential and not to let anyone get in the way of that,” Darnell said.
In the best event of the night, Lady Wolverines junior Jessica Evans placed first in the 100 butterfly (1:05.74), edging Lockport’s runner-up, Kristina Connolly (1:09.49) by about a second and a half.
DiMillo followed with a dominating win in the 100 breast, but remains determined to post even faster times.
“I don’t think we swam out best times, but we tried our best today,” DiMillo said. “My times were horrible. Last year at the beginning of the season they were horrible too, but then at sectionals I did well, so hopefully it will play out the same way.”
The Lady Lions also placed first in the 200 free relay with the winning foursome of Snow, Yensan, Tatro and Elizabeth Connolly in 1:53.41; and the 400 freestyle relay with Pollock, DiMillo and the Connolly twins touching first in 4:05.
“We’re very young — the average grade on our team is 8.9, so we’re still learning what this sport is all about,” said veteran Niagara Falls head coach Ed Maynard. “This was out first away meet, so for about 55 to 60 percent of this team it was their first ever meet on the road. I expected to do a little bit better, but it’s a start.”
Head coach Steve Kojsza’s Lockport Lady Cubs won the junior varsity meet, 104-81.
MEET NOTES: The meet officials were Bill Natemeier and John Yackamovich ... The public address announcer was Val Hamluk.