Greenwich’s Hokayem, Meshcherskiy Take Home COY Honors
By Paul Silverfarb
When you have a team as dominant as the Greenwich High School girls’ swimming and diving team during the state playoff run, it’s only fitting that the Lady Cardinals take home some high honors at the end of the season.
At the Connecticut High School All-State for swimming and diving banquet, the honors kept on coming for Greenwich High School, as Lorrie Hokayem was named Connecticut High School Girls’ Swim Coach of the Year, Sergey Meshcherskiy was named Connecticut High School Girls’ Diving Coach of the Year and the Lady Cardinals were named Connecticut High School Girls’ Swimming and Diving Team of the Year.
“All of us congratulate head coach Hokayem and coach Meshcherskiy for their recognition as State Coaches of the Year,” said Greenwich High School Athletic Director Gus Lindine. “An outstanding honor for two very well-deserving coaches.”
For Hokayem, the award was quite the surprise; the head coach is quite humbled by the experience.
“I was actually incredibly shocked, because there are a lot of amazing coaches in high school swimming and several teams rose up this year and achieved new heights,” Hokayem said. “I thought there were several coaches that this could have gone to and I was just humbled and honored to be honored by my peers like that.”
Surprising was also the word used by Meshcherskiy, as he was stunned upon heading that he was named diving Coach of the Year.
“I knew what my girls did all year long,” Meshcherskiy said. “They were great. We were one through four at LLs and top three and sixth place at Opens. Nobody mentioned to me at the banquet the possibility of something like this. This is my fifth year with the girls team, so I was very excited and surprised. I am very proud to be a part of a great team, work with an amazing coaching staff and have amazing kids.”
To say that the Greenwich swimming and diving team had a solid season was an understatement. Sure, they had some challenges to overcome, but when it mattered most, no one was able to stop Greenwich.
After a fourth-place finish at the FCIAC championship meet, Big Red refocused its energy on keeping the CIAC class LL and state open titles back inside the Greenwich High School trophy case.
With a commanding performance at the class LL trials, Big Red cruised to the championship with 854 points. In fact, Ridgefield was the closest team to GHS, taking second with 570.5 points.
Just like they did at the class LL meet, Big Red made quick work out of the state open championship meet, held at the Yale University pool. Greenwich captured the state open championship with an impressive performance and a total of 510.5 points. Again it was Ridgefield that placed a distant second, tallying 400.5 points on the day.
“Sergey and I have a great group of girls and they are fantastic athletes,” Hokayem said. “I am honored each day that I get to coach such a great team. Being named Swimming Coach of the Year was really on the icing on the cake.”
For the GHS divers, this was the season that Meshcherskiy was hoping for. He knew the girls on his team were outstanding and they showed it on the biggest diving stages of the season.
During the CIAC class LL finals, Big Red completely controlled the competition, finishing in the top four spots overall. A week later, it was back in the pool for the CIAC state open championship and Greenwich didn’t let up. In fact, they placed four divers in the top six, sweeping the gold, silver and bronze, as well as taking the sixth spot overall.
“They got better and better each week,” Meshcherskiy said. “I’m happy, glad and blessed that I have such amazing amount of talent who works with me at Greenwich High. Most of the girls are year-round divers and that’s a huge help in many aspects. They commit to the sport year-round and it’s a huge help to them. That’s one of the main reasons why they win and are successful.”
And for their hard work, both in and out of the pool, the girls that comprised the GHS girls swimming and diving team were honored with the Team of the Year in girls’ swimming and diving.
“What a tremendous effort by a terrific group of swimmers and divers,” Lindine said. “Our girls are very hard-working and have great team spirit and enthusiasm. We are so proud of their accomplishments.”
The fall season for swimming and diving always seems to be relatively short, a mere 13 week. As a team, both Hokayem and Meshcherskiy focused the team on improving each and every week, with a goal of peaking during the state tournaments.
“I think that really helped us get through the bumps throughout the dual meet season really well,” Hokayem said. “Everything we do and every day we approach practice as putting in our best individual effort forward. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to repeat as class LL and Opens champions. They did a great job staying focused on those goals throughout the season.”
For both Meshcherskiy and Hokayem, to have the honors of Coach of the Year is a tremendous accomplishment. However, it’s the team honor that drives home the success this season was.
“Sergey and I are being honored based on how well that the girls did all year, particularly how much they grew throughout the season,” Hokayem said. “His divers got better each meet and throughout the postseason. From a swimming perspective, I thought we put together eight great days between LL trials and Opens, which led to our success. We were all blown away at the All-State banquet when the team was honored over and over again. It was very validating.”
“We were such a strong team, both with my divers and with the swimmers,” Meshcherskiy said. “It is a pleasure to watch and I am proud of every single one of them. I am more proud of their successes than mine. Whatever I achieve is because of my girls.”