|Bristol Central girls swimming and diving has been all smiles this season,|
and being 7-0 is certainly part of it. (Photo via Adrienne Bentley, Twitter)
That's what the Bristol Central girls swimming and diving team has done this season. The Rams had goals set for the season, but this perfect start has far surpassed even their wildest dreams.
"Every win has been the best, in its own way, because we go into every meet with slightly different goals," head coach Adrienne Bentley said of the 7-0 start. "But every meet we go into, we go into to do our best. We take one event at a time and leave it all in the pool every race."
That was never more apparent during Tuesday's road meet against Farmington at Miss Porter's School.
"The score was 85-86 after the breaststroke," Bentley said. "Coach Jody [Seglarski] and I told them we had to win the event to win the meet. And they went in, maintained focus and finished first and third!"
Final score: Bristol Central 95, Farmington 90.
The first place relay team was freshman Camille Attle, junior Rachel Wolf, sophomore Mackenzie Pina and freshman Ailey Driscoll. The also important third place relay had senior Alexa Bugryn, junior Erin Petke, senior Sydney Pina and senior Madison Cyr.
All those swimmers are major point accumulators for Central. What makes the Rams such a good team is the fact that they are a team.
Central beat Bulkeley/HMTCA on Sept. 14 at Bulkeley High School in Hartford. What made the meet significant for Bentley is what happened during the 500 freestyle.
"One moment that comes to mind, Alexa Burgyn getting face down on the Bulkeley High School pool deck, encouraging and motivating Kaila Dejesus [junior] to continue to swim her first 500," Bentley said. "Kaila stopped after 250, and Alexa and the rest of the team just kept encouraging her, and telling her she could do it and to not give up on herself."
Bentley added: "It was a priceless moment, one that reminded me why I coach."
How does Central retain its intensity in each meet?
"Our keys are to just do our best, to keep things simple, focus on the basic fundamentals, and to have a positive attitude," Bentley said.
The words "I can't" don't exist in the Ram vocabulary.
"Will you do it well? Maybe not the first time, but if you do your best, that is all anyone can ask of you, including yourself," Bentley said.
Everyone is a part of the Central girls swimming and diving team.
"They realize that everyone has an equal role and commitment to the team, that everyone counts, regardless of the lane you swim in," Bentley said. "They are like a family and they are passionate about swimming."
When someone is sick, another girl steps up.
"They talk each other up," Bentley said. "They realize that sometimes they will play the role of the big sister giving support and advice about a race and other times they will be the little sister needing the support and advice about a race."
None of it is canned, either.
"And they are authentic when they talk to one another," Bentley said.
One team, taking each meet one event at a time, and focused on doing its best in every lane of each event. That camaraderie, commitment and focus has allowed Central to have success far beyond any goal it set for this season.
The Rams host Windsor on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Dennis Malone Aquatic Center, then go up against Bristol Eastern and St. Paul in the City Championships Saturday at 7:15 p.m. That meet is also at the Malone Aquatic Center.