Girls Swim Team 2000

After winning the 98 State Championship in a close win over New Canaan the 99 team was disappointed when they were just edged out by New Canaan in the 99 Class M Championships. In the last meet of the year the 99 team ended the season by placing 3rd in the Open State Championships against the over 80 girls swim teams in the state. Only Greenwich and Cheshire finished higher.

The 2000 team had 26 girls who had been on the 98 team and the 99 team and they were joined by 22 underclassmen. The 48 team members bonded together and were determined to regain the State Championship. Many team members trained with the Branford Stingrays under HOF coach George Miles before the high school season began and when the State Championships arrived they were ready.

The opening relay of Erika Newell, Alison Palomaki, Alesha Amendola and Ashley Kelley set the tone by not only winning the event by over three seconds but also set a new Class M state record and they were named to the All-American team for this performance. Hall of Fame inductee Erica Newell was the star of the meet as she won both of her individual events and was part of the two winning relays and was named Most valuable swimmer of the Championships. Branford’s other individual champion was Alison Palomaki who won the 100 yd breaststroke. New Canaan won three of the other seven events. The meet came down to the final event the 400 yd freestyle relay with Branford holding a slim two point lead. Emily Slater, Helen Juden, Alesha Amendola and Erika Newell dominated the event as they took an early lead and won the relay by over four seconds to seal the victory. The final score of the meet was Branford 441 points to New Canaan’s 431 with all other teams far behind.

Once again this was a team victory and in addition to those swimmers already mentioned would not have happened without the points scored by numerous Branford swimmers and divers. This all happened because 48 team members were focused on the goal of winning a State Championship. They all worked hard at practice every day where they challenged themselves by swimming over 200 laps of the pool on timed sets each day. Little did this team know that the 2000 state championship would be followed by four more in 01,02, 03 and 04. The record of five consecutive state championships is believed to be the most of any sport at Branford High School.