The Branford HS Girls Swim Team had not won a state championship since 1990. In 1997 they were runner-ups to New Canaan HS and the 1998 team had one goal and that was to win the State Championship. The team ran thru the regular season with an 11 win, 1 loss record. Their only loss came at the hands of Cheshire which would go on to win the Class L and Open Championship.
In the opening event, the Branford relay team of Veronica Ormrod, Erika Newell, Annelise Ford and Michelle Buchek set the tone by winning the 200 yd Medley Relay by over two seconds. Hall of Fame Inductees Erika Newell and Veronica Ormrod would both win their individual events and would team up with Grace Turman and Mika Sumiyoshi to win the final event, the 400 Free Relay. New Canaan, Staples and Wethersfield swimmers would win the other 8 events but in the end, it was Branford’s depth that won the day as Branford had numerous team members place in the top 24 of their events and scored points to seal the Branford victory. The final score was Branford 559 points to runner-up New Canaan 486 points.
There were 46 members of the 98-99 team and each one contributed to the victory. Those who did not score points were at practice every day pushing their teammates to be better. Everyone of them worked just as hard at practice, attended every meet and were on the deck at the state trials and finals making sure those who got to participate knew that the entire team was behind them. The 98-99 team set the example that would result in Branford winning seven state championships over the next nine years.