AUBURN — "Maroon up!"
That's the saying for the Auburn girls swimming team this season, and against a heavily rostered Cicero-North Syracuse squad, the Maroons backed up their phrase.
Auburn had first-place times in nine of the 11 events to top the Northstars 87-82 Wednesday at the Auburn YMCA. The Maroons gained the necessary points to secure the win in the final event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay.
In that event, the Maroons trotted out only once fresh swimmer. Two competitors — Gabby McGinn and Sofia Granato — swam in the previous event, while Meghan Giannotta only had one race off before jumping back in the pool. The only rested member of the relay was Ellie Fraher, who swam the first leg.
Despite the disadvantage, the Maroons bested C-NS by over four seconds to claim the race and the meet.
"I had one girl that was fresh," Auburn coach Rich Hamberger said. "That's all I had left so they had to post good times to get things done. My new saying is 'Maroon up,' and they did great. Everybody that swam tonight put their best foot forward. We had a lot of kids that dropped time."
Kennedy Wilson and Claire Alexander both won two events apiece for the Maroons. Wilson came in first in both the 50 freestyle (26.43) and 100 freestyle (58.15), while Alexander had the top time in the 200 freestyle (2:07.39) and 100 butterfly (1:04.72). Other individual winners were Maura Moochler in the 100 backstroke (1:06.28) and Sydney Murinka in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.59).
Moochler, Murinka, Alexander and Wilson also grabbed a victory in the 200 medley relay (2:01.37) to kick off the meet.
For Hamberger, one of the most exciting parts of the meet was an event the Maroons did not win. In the 500 freestyle relay, Rachel Tehan and Maire Tehan both exceeded expectations by grabbing the third and fourth positions.
"Rachel dropped nine seconds and Maire dropped 15 seconds from their previous 500 swims, which is awesome," Hamberger said. "They were driven tonight for some reason. They scored higher than I thought they would, which was a big help for us."
Knowing they had a chance to take down C-NS, Hamberger was happy with how invested his team was in picking up the victory.
"All the girls came together tonight," Hamberger said. "They knew we had a chance so they were there cheering for all their teammates. That's really good to see. The camaraderie on the team is building, which is huge for team spirit."
The Maroons return to the pool on Saturday for their league meet, where swimmers will have one extra chance to try and qualify for sectionals. After that is one last meet, against Skaneateles, next Wednesday before class championships on Nov. 3.
According to Hamberger, all proceeds from the league meet will be combined with fundraising efforts from the participating teams to be donated to those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
"It's going to be a fun meet," Hamberger said. "All the teams involved did fundraising T-shirts. There's no medal or ribbons. (For Syracuse being 'Salt City'), they're handing out salt potato bags to the winners. It's going to be fun."