Williston Northampton Wildcat Swimmers and Divers Dominate 2017 Championships
The girls swimming and diving team traveled to Bristol, Rhode Island, this weekend and won their second straight NEPSAC Division 2 Swimming and Diving Championship with a meet-record 451 points, well ahead of second-place Dana Hall, which finished with 325.5 points.
The Wildcats dominated the meet from start to finish and set a number of meet and school records along the way. The 200 Medley Relay team of Sally Alrutz ’19 (Springfield), Natalie Aquadro ’17 (Northampton), Maya Soley ’18 (South Hadley), and Anabelle Farnham ’18 (Amherst) led off the meet with a victory, paced by the fastest 50 breaststroke split of the meet by Aquadro, to set a new school and meet record with a time of 1:52.09.
The next events would follow in similar fashion as the girls took over early and never looked back. In the 200 freestyle Farnham (2nd), Aquadro (4th), and Easthampton’s Emily Yeager ’17 (5th) combined to score 46 points and put the team in a great position. The third event was the 200 IM and, after that, there was little the rest of the teams could do but celebrate the great swimming by Williston as Sydney Joyce ’19 (Longmeadow), Ava Larkin ’22 (Holyoke), and Soley swept the podium and went 1-2-3. It was the first time that a team had accomplished this feat in championship history. Joyce’s winning time of 2:10.76 was also good for a new school record.
The diving event is traditionally the fifth event of the meet, though this year, it was held on a separate day. During the meet on March 1, Williston’s Gabriella Mercier ’17 (Granby) set a school, meet, and NEPSAC record in the 1-meter diving event with a score of 529.45. Alrutz set a school and a meet record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.69 and was followed closely by Soley in 4th and Ella Mattocks ’22 (Shutesbury) in 7th. Farnham and Yeager took third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 freestyle while Joyce and Larkin went 1-2 in the 500 freestyle. The 200 freestyle relay team of Soley, Yeager, Larkin, and Joyce took first—and the Wildcats continued to pour it on. Alrutz closed out her night with a scorching time of 58.36 in the 100 backstroke to set a new school record. In the end, the girls dominated the meet from start to finish and comfortably took home their second NEPSAC championship in a row and third in program history.
The boys swimming and diving team were in action as well and their accomplishments were not to be overlooked. Senior David Fitch (Conway) paced the way with four meet record and school record swims. In the 200 freestyle, Fitch qualified for All-America consideration with a time of 1:39.09. In the 100 butterfly he qualified as an automatic All-American selection with a time of 48.77. He capped off the meet leading off two relays and qualifying for automatic All-American in the 50 freestyle with a time of 20.41, and finally finished off the night with an All-American consideration time of 45.60 in the 100 freestyle. David’s two individual NEPSAC titles and four meet records helped him win his second consecutive Wilmot S. Babcock Award as the Most Outstanding Performer of the meet.
Ninth grader Sam Haddad (Springfield) also joined the fun and took home his first NEPSAC individual title with a win in the 200 Individual Medley. Tenth grader Jake Goodman of Longmeadow also took home a NEPSAC title in the 1-meter diving event on Wednesday. The boys’ efforts earned them a 4th place finish and has put them in a position for great things in the future.