When a loss is like a win: Masuk swimmers perform well in defeat

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Masuk swimmer Abigail Kirberger takes first in the 500 freestyle against Bunnell High School on Sept. 13.

STRATFORD, CT — Masuk High’s girls’ swimming and diving team was competitive in a 94-74 loss to host Bunnell of Stratford on Sept. 13. Eva Helmke and Abby Kirberger both had first place finishes for the Panthers.

There was no diving competition at this meet.

The Panthers took second in the 200 medley relay (Helmke, Melody Sicherman, Yara Shaik, Christina Bajorinas) with a time of 2:16.75.

In the 200 freestyle Masuk was second (Keara Kirberger) with a time of 2:34.73, third (Emily Hull) with a time of 2:43.29 and fourth (Amanda Teixeira) with a time of 2:55.41.

In the 200 IM Masuk placed third (Shaik) with a time of 2:45.92, fourth (Abby Kirberger) with a time of 2:53.88 and fifth (Eaton) with a time of 3:05.61.

In the 50 freestyle Helmke placed first with a time of 26.17. Masuk also got fifth (Bajorinas) with a time of 33.85 and sixth (Alexandra Rodrigues) with a time of 38.14.

“Eva Helmke went all out and won her race with nobody in sight. She had a good four second lead on her opponent who finished second,” Masuk Coach Emily DeMace said.

In the exhibition heats, Masuk scored points behind Phuong Tran (second in Heat 2), Claire Valle (third in Heat 2), Victoria Gloria (sixth in Heat 2), Alyssa Schneider (first in Heat 3), Jocelyn Gifford (second in Heat 3), and Safa Memon (fifth in Heat 3).

In the 100 butterfly the Panthers took second (Shaik) with a time of 1:19.04, fourth (Juliette Eaton) with a time of 1:19.04, and fifth (Hull) with a time of 1:28.97.

In the 100 freestyle Masuk earned thrid (Victoria Pallas) with a time of 1:10.63, fifth (Bajorinas) with a time of 1:19.43 and sixth (Sicherman) with a time of 1:24.71.

In the exhibition heat, Masuk’s results were as follows: Barkana (fourth in Heat 2), Gloria (fifth in Heat 2), and Anisha Gera (sixth in Heat 2).

In the 500 freestyle Abby Kirberger) was the fastest finisher with a time of 6:21.85. Masuk got third (Keara Kirberger) with a time of 6:59.76, and fourh (Ruthika Giduthuri) with a time of 7:33.09.

“This was the race of the night,” DeMace said. “Abby Kirberger started out strong but her opponent in lane four pulled ahead. Abby stayed steady and started to pick it up around her 250/300 mark. In the last 100 of her race, she started pulling ahead of her opponent. Abby kicked it into overdrive and won her race. She gave it everything she had and really raced those 20 laps.”

In the 200 freestyle relay Masuk placed second (Hull, Sicherman, Texeira, K. Kirberger) with a time of 2:17.42, fourth (Duha Barkana, Gloria, Tran, Rodrigues) with a time of 2:35.58, and sixth (Schneider, Gifford, Gera, Valle) with a time of 2:57.50.

In the 100 backstroke Helmke was first with a time of 1:07.39, third (Pallas) with a time of 1:21.00 and fifth (Giduthuri) with a time of 1:27.84. Helmke had another pull away victory in this race.

The results for the 100 breaststroke and the 400 freestyle relay were inconclusive following the meet.

DeMace said that despite the loss it felt like a win for her Panthers.

“We saw so many fast swims, best times, and smiles and cheering to go around. It’s only the second meet and we can’t wait to see how the girls swim next,” the coach said.

DeMace and company will find out on Friday, Sept. 17, when St. Joseph of Trumbull visits Masuk at 4 p.m.

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