NHS’ Girls Swimming Makes a Splash


Missy Orosz

NHS Swim & Dive girls competed at a new competition this year, Splish, which featured just Berskshire League female competitors.

Bianca Gracia , Reporter

WOODBURY — As winter sports started to return to normal this year, some sports are still missing some of their usual events. Swimming and diving here at Nonnewaug is a co-ed sport. Since it is co-ed, the girls of the team need to swim during the boys season instead of how most schools have girls swim in the fall and boys swim in the winter. 

Since boys’ times are faster than girls when swimming in the pool, a well-known swim event called “Splash” gives the girls an opportunity to compete.

“I love how it’s a place where all of the girls who are up against the harder competition and more demanding times of the boys season then see how they would all do if they had swum in the fall against all girls,” said Amelia Pillis, junior on the NHS swim team. 

Splash is typically held before Berkshire League championships and state championships every year at the Cornerstone Aquatic Center in West Hartford. 

The last time Splash had happened was back in 2020, just a couple of weeks before lockdown. Due to COVID, the popular event had been canceled in 2021, shortening the modified swim and dive season to just five weeks.

However, this year, as people are slowly going back to normal winter sports had also started back at their regular-season start. With swim going back to a normal season, Splash had also made a comeback this year.

“I am so glad we are still able to have [Splash] with everything going on for COVID,” said Abby Walsh, head coach of the NHS swim and dive team. 

However, the Cornerstone Aquatic Center had decided not to host the meet this year because with the number of people the event usually holds they decided not to host it since at the time. COVID restrictions were tighter, and if anyone had gotten COVID they had the fear of getting liability. 

Even though the statewide Splash had gotten canceled, the Berkshire League teams still wanted to compete in a similarly enjoyable event. Chris Papsin, the head coach of Shepaug’s swim and dive team, decided to step up and host it.

The new event they had wanted to host was called “Splish.” Splish was held at Shepaug and would act as Splash except with just the BL girls swimmers and divers.

“I was so excited for Splish. It wasn’t the same as freshman-year Splash, but I still enjoyed it,” Pillis said.

There had been rules to Splish, such as parents and guests were not allowed to attend as there were already six teams and a lack of pool deck space. This rule had previously been in place last year to prevent COVID exposure. 

Featured record-breaking winners from Splish 2022 200 freestyle relay: Juliana Bailey (left), Amelia Pillis (second from left), Julia Longoria (second from right), Maddi Stamp (right). (Missy Orosz )

The event was hosted Feb. 26 to great success for the NHS girls with a third-place overall finish. The 200 medley relay of Grace Walkup, Amelia Pillis, Madelynn Orosz and Juliana Bailey finished third. Pillis finished thrd in the 200 individual medley. Julia Longoria finished second in the 50 freestyle. Orosz finished second in the 100 butterfly. Walkup finished third in the 500 freestyle. The 400 freestyle relay of Walkup, Longoria, Olivia Bernardi, and Madi Stampp finished third. The 200 freestyle relay of Stampp, Longoria, Bailey, and Pillis took home first place and beat the school record. 

With Splish coming and going, the Berkshire League championship meet is being held at Kennedy High School on March 5. It is expected that with the continued success of the girls and the addition of the boys in the pool as well as diver Sarah Walsh, the Chiefs will do well.