WATERBURY - The Watertown High School Lady Indians did not win the championship at the NVL swimming finals at Kennedy High School on November 2; as expected, premeet favorite Seymour High School took home the title banner, easily outscoring Naugatuck High School, 819.50 to 748.
The Lady Indians finished a solid sixth in the 10-team field with a point total of 597 and did crown a champion of it’s own, as the other-worldly Kelsey DeJesus put the finishing touches on her career grand slam by winning her fourth consecutive league diving title on November 1 in record-shattering (record-breaking is too mild a term to use here) fashion.
DeJesus, who lists the KHS diving board as her favorite, broke four records: Her score of 575.45 is a new NVL record, NVL Meet record, Kennedy High School Pool record and Watertown High school record.
“I have not seen a diving performance like Kelsey’s but once or twice before and never from the girls,” WHS coach Garry Smith, who is not easily wowed, said.
“One of the coaches said ‘let’s get the numbers up on the wall at Kennedy because that record may never be broken,’” Smith said.
“I know you never say never but that is a LOT of points,” Smith added, and it could not happen for a nicer kid.”
Based on those facts (as well as 15 personal best efforts), Smith was quite pleased with the way things shook out.
“This was a good meet for us,” said the Lady Indians’ long-time boss. “I was hoping for a little more but if I wasn’t I would not be doing my job.
“We did a lot of nice stuff at this meet,” Smith explained. “We had some big drops in time for some of the kids in some of the events and those are the ones that stand out.”
When the team began training in late August this is the meet that Smith and his staff see out there on the horizon toward which all the girls start swimming.
“If all goes well they do their best times (or at least get very close) at this meet in front of all the girls they have competed with all season,” said Smith. “It’s always fun and quite gratifying to see the look on their faces after they have done a time they had dreamed about all season and then achieving it or sometimes going above and beyond what they thought they were capable of doing.”
Smith pointed out to the quality, not quantity of his team as a reason to feel good.
“For the number of girls we had swimming here I think we did well. We just have to find a way to attract some more swimmers and divers to the program so we can again compete with the bigger teams.”
Now Smith’s focus changes to Saturday, November 10 when some of the girls get to race with some of the fastest kids in the state at the CIAC Class ‘M’ meet, which gets underway with DeJesus in the diving competition, which was head at Bulkeley H.S. on November 7.
The Swimming Qualifying will be on Saturday, November 10 at East Hartford High School, starting at 5:55 p.m. with the finals on Tuesday, November 14 at Wesleyan University at 7 p.m.
“That will be fun,” Smith said.
DeJesus and Megan Gallagher, by virtue of her second place in the 200 freestyle, were both named to the All-NVL team.
TEAM FINISH: 1. Seymour 819.50; 2. Naugatuck - 748; 3. Woodland - 699; 4. Sacred Heart - 658.5; 5. Watertown - 597; 6. Oxford - 434; 7. Torrington - 286; 8. St. Paul - 260; 9. Wilby/Kaynor Tech - 111; 10. Kennedy - 99.