With a 3rd place out of 12 finish for the girl’s team in the tough Mid-Wachusetts league behind swimming hard hitters Tyngsboro-Groton/Dunstable High Schools Co-Op and Algonquin Regional High School, and top individual finishes for the boys, it’s hard to believe that this team almost folded at the beginning of the year due to insufficient funding from all the towns. After months of intense fundraising and even more intense training, Coach Denise Foster is happy with what her team has done. “The girls and guys have done an amazing job,” says Coach Foster. “I am still in shock at all the time they dropped at the Championships.” The team saw numerous state and sectional cuts made during the meet.
Nipmuc swimmers were top finishers including freshman swimmer Samantha Kilcoyne winning the 50-yard freestyle (25.52) and the 100-yard butterfly (59.66), senior Shannon Dowd taking a 3rd in the 100-yard breaststroke (113.34) and 4th in the 100-yard butterfly (103.79), sophomore Taylahna Rowland with a 4th in the 200-yard IM (2:27.52), and senior Carly Thibodeau taking 8th in the 100-yard butterfly (106.27). Grafton freshman Chloe Deveney won the 100-yard back (103.02) and took 2ndin the 100-yard freestyle (56.95), Grafton senior Ethan Mills took 2nd in the 100-yard freestyle (50.59) and 2nd in the 50-yard freestyle (23.44), Sutton’s junior Gabby Ritzer won the diving competition, (249.95), sophomore Devon Foster (Northbridge) took 5th in the 50-yard freestyle (23.79), and senior Eryn Gruttadauria (Sutton) took 7th in the 100-yard breaststroke (117.59) The 200-yard medley relay team with Chloe Deveney (back), Samantha Kilcoyne (fly), Shannon Dowd (breast) and Eryn Gruttadauria (free) took 3rd place as did the 400-yard freestyle relay team with Samantha Kilcoyne, Taylahna Rowland, Eryn Gruttadauria, and Chloe Deveney.
Qualifying for the Division 1 State Championships in individual events were Samantha Kilcoyne, Shannon Dowd, Gabby Ritzer, Chloe Deveney, and Ethan Mills. The girls 200-yard medley relay team and 400-yard freestyle relay team also qualified for State Championships. Qualifying for South/Central Sectional Championships were Taylahna Rowland, Devon Foster, Eryn Gruttadauria, and Carly Thibodeau, as well as the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Kylie Ford (Sutton), Shannon Dowd, Carly Thibideau, and Taylahna Rowland. Tiernan Shea of Grafton qualified for States previously this year as a relay swimmer. Sectionals will take place February 13th at M.I.T. in Cambridge and States will take place February 19th at Boston University.
Other team members earning points for the team during the league championships were Grafton’s Delaney Smolinski, Emily Siemen, Ivan Zou, and Tiernan Shea, Nipmuc’s Lauren Vincens and Aaron Akerman, Northbridge swimmers Annemarie Haas, and Sutton’s Beatrice Louzado.
The team has grown to include 40 swimmers, with half of them from Grafton High School. The Division 1 girl’s team finished the season with an 8-2 record in the Mid-Wachusett Swim League, swimming out of the Whitinsville Community Center in Northbridge.