Coming off a season in which New Canaan fell just short to Darien in both the Class L and State Open championships, the Rams are striving to get back into position to claim a title or two -- or three.

New Canaan, always among the best in the FCIAC and state, has plenty of talent back in the water this fall.

Captains are Alex Aliapoulous, who swims freestyle events, Alyssa Berry, who is a sprint freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke competitor, and Jenna Egan.

Egan is a state champion in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events and also swims the butterfly and backstroke events.

"She's got a lot of versatility. Her events are going to depend on what the rest of the team does," said Dave Fine, who has coached the team for a decade.

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Berry has worked hard in the offseason to build herself into a strong swimmer, the coach added.

The diving captain is Kylie Towbin, who won the State Open a year ago as a sophomore. Fine expects her to be in contention for FCIAC, state class and state open titles this season.

Other team members the coach expects solid contributions from are relay standouts Meg Egan and Libby O'Hare, freestyle swimmer and backstroker Katie Colwell, and freestyle and butterfly competitor Kate Dalia.

Madeline Castle swims a variety of events, including freestyle, individual medley, and backstroke, and Audrey Ettinger also brings some versatility to the pool, swimming the IM, fly and distance free.

"One of our strengths is out versatility. We do have a lot of versatility in our swimming," Fine said. "It's a good thing because it gives me a lot of weapons in a lot of different places."

The options create some areas of question for Fine, who sometimes second-guesses his decisions as to which events a particular swimmer should compete in against which teams.

"Am I right on this, am I doing the right thing here?" Fine says he asks himself. "I think our depth can bring us back to where we were last year."

The Rams were third in the FCIAC and were close to overcoming Darien in both of the state championships. Fine said seven girls qualified for the Open last year, and he expects to send more team members this go-around.

He also anticipates Darien to, once again, be a tough obstacle to get past.

"Darien is a very talented program and they're a very talented team this year," Fine said.

"I think we're really ready to step up and come out on top," Egan said.

In order to come out on top in those challenging meets against the likes of Darien, it will take more than practice and strong days in the pool.

"Definitely, in the pool, working together, pushing ourselves, and creating that team atmosphere," Berry said.

"I'm really excited. I think we have a lot of untapped talent," Aliapoulous added. "I'm just looking forward to the tougher meets."