It would be understandable if the New Milford High School girls' swim team felt it had been swimming upstream this autumn.

Coach Mary Van Doren's Green Wave battled through a remarkable skein of injuries, illnesses and assorted other obstacles on their way to becoming, as their second-year mentor described, "a team."

The girls posted a 1-11 dual-meet record, outswimming Stratford for the sole victory, and closed the season by placing 10th as a team at the South-West Conference meet and sending several athletes to the state class `LL' meet.

"With more injuries and illness than usual this year," coach Van Doren said, "we never fielded a full team after the first meet of the season. We also lost a couple of heartbreakers by a point or two."

"But all of that helped turn us into a team, instead of just a collection of girls," she explained, "and I'm really proud of the way everyone responded to a very difficult and emotional season."

A highlight was a school record 1:00.82 performance by Maggie Heaton in the 100-yard butterfly, a come-from -behind effort in the season's only home meet at Canterbury School that electrified the home fans.

Heaton also placed third in the butterfly and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley at the SWCs to show the way for the Green Wave.

Also earning plaudits at the league meet were the diving triumvirate of Colleen Menard in 13th, Jessica Cochrane in 15th and Alison Profeta in 18th.

The 200-yard medley relay of Colleen Menard in backstroke, Jackie Flachbart in breaststroke, Samantha Hogenauer in butterfly and Daniele Cambareri in feestyle placed 11th at the SWCs.

Freestyle specialists Holly Rehm, Toni Viola and Alex Scorza placed in two events each and Daniele Cambareri and Brice Schenkel also competed in individual SWC races. Laura Gil qualified in the 50-yard freestyle but had to scratch due to injury.

Heaton, Rehm, Scorza and Viola pooled their talents to place ninth in both the 200 and the 400-yard freestyle relays.

Colleen Menard capped her diving career with 10th place at the state `LL' meet.

Maggie Heaton qualified for states in both the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard fly.

Also earning a spot in state competition was the 200-yard freestyle quartet of Maggie Heaton, Alex Scorza, Toni Viola and Holly Rehm.

"The girls are much more experienced now than I could have anticipated because so many of them had to step up and tackle events they never thought they'd be ready for," reflected coach Van Doren.

"A lot of first- and second-year swimmers developed amazingly as swimmers and divers this year," she added. "Every single swimmer achieved best times in multiple events."

"I think we'll be a much stronger team in 2011," concluded the Green Wave mentor, "and maybe start to make some headway in the won-loss department."