Going into the Cape Ann League swim championships, Hamilton-Wenham wasn’t sure what to expect. The Generals had lost a close dual meet to league rival Masconomet, but they hadn’t taken the CAL league meet title in ten seasons.
With a tremendous team effort, the Generals pulled off the upset and claimed that elusive CAL meet crown. They carried that momentum into the North sectional meet last weekend, and are hoping to keep it going as seven swimmers are headed to the state swim championships being held at MIT this weekend.
“We had amazing depth this season and it was definitely a great accomplishment for everyone on the team to be able to win CALs,” said senior co-captain Megan Weltler, who will be swimming in the 400 free relay at states along with Betsy Powers, Kim Perkins and Anni Li. “It’s been one of my goals to get to states since I was a freshman so I’m really excited to be able to go.”
H-W’s 400 free relay is the first girls relay to make it all the way to states since coach Kristin Murray, who was honored as the CAL Coach of the Year, has been with the program.
“She’s an amazing coach. She really cares about each swimmer on the team and helps them achieve their best. That has definitely helped me achieve some of my best times this season,” said Powers, a sophomore who was named Cape Ann League Female Swimmer of the Year.
“I was really surprised. I’m so happy that I was able to make such a positive impression on all the coaches in the league during the season,” said Powers, who received he honor during the CAL League meet.
“It was a huge accomplishment for us to come out on top. Going into the meet we had a positive attitude that we could win, and the team as a whole gave everything we had to make sure that happened.”
Senior captain Eric Baumeister was a key cog for the Generals, along with fellow captains Weltler and Justin Guo. Baumeister will be swimming the 100 fly and Bobby Grinnell in the 100 breast at states. Olivia Horgan also qualified in the 500 freestyle.
Many swimmers contributed to H-W’s strong finish to the CAL season, including Jack Blatchford, Ted Chang, Madeleine Hines, Katrina Klobucher, Chris Li, Victoria Vance, Carleigh Wilson, Ian Worstell and Griffin Ward. Tyler Caulfield, Kerianne Heppner, Maddie Hogan and Vance made up the diving team.
“The whole varsity team played a big role for us,” said Murray. “It was the second, third, fourth and fifth place finishes that made the difference.”
H-W also received the CAL Sportsmanship Award for the fourth consecutive season. It’s a credit to the leadership of both Murray and her assistants, who stress respectful support and kindness, and the 10 seniors and captains.
“It’s a challenge being the only female captain representing about 40 girls, especially leading friends and peers,” said Weltler, who is thinking about swimming in college and feels like the 100 and 200 freestyle swims are her top events. “It’s been a good time and a great learning experience. The sportsmanship award is just as important as CALs. First place doesn’t mean much if you’re not a respectful, courteous person.”
Powers was seventh in the 200 free at North sectionals, in the 200 freestyle event won by Marblehead’s Ryan Alexander with Beverly’s Sarah Welch as runner-up. That and other races at this weekend’s state meet will have plenty of local flavor.
“The were my best times (at sectionals) and I’m very excited to compete at state’s because it’s a huge accomplishment to achieve the times and also because I’m looking forward to swimming my own best times,” said Powers, who has been swimming with the YNS Sharks for almost nine years.
LOCAL STATE QUALIFIERS Boys Division 1 St. John's Prep: 200 medley relay, Josh Bennet (200 free, 100 free), Alex Glidden (200 free, 500 free), Michael Xenakis (200 free, 500 free), Kevin Scalley (200 free), Joe Turk (200-IM, 100 back), Kent Parsons (200-IM, 100 breast), Andrew Gille (200-IM, 100 breast), Trevor Gowdy (200-IM, 500 free), Anthony Petrozza (50 free, 100 free), Sam Hodgman (50 free, 100 breast), Tom McGee (50 free), Sean Janko (diving), Dan Schedin (diving), Ryan Sheehy (diving), Alex Swaim (100 fly, 100 back), Ryan Powers (100 fly), Jake Rhodes (100 free, 100 back), Jared Steen (500 free), 200 free relay, Nick Sionkiewicz (100 back), Charles Sneirson (100 breast), 400 free relay. Peabody: Alex Strakosha (200-IM, 100 breast). Masconomet: Michael Bartley (50 free, 100 fly), Alex Galarneau (50 free), 400 free relay. Boys Division 2 Marblehead: 200 medley relay, Charlie Selzter (200-IM, 100 back), Jake Driscoll (diving). Bishop Fenwick: Connor Christuk (200 free, 500 free), Carson Christuk (200-IM, 100 breast). Hamilton-Wenham: Eric Baumeister (100 fly), Robert Ginnell (100 breast). Girls Division 1 Beverly: 200 medley relay, Sarah Welch (200 free, 100 free), Astrid Swensen (200-IM, 100 fly), Andrea Higgins (200-IM, 500 free), Rachel Grant (100 free), 400 free relay, Masconomet: 200 medley relay, Lily Koenig (100 free, 100 back), Carlyn Soares (500 free, 100 breast), 400 free realy. Peabody: Maria Strakosha (200-IM, 100 fly), Christine Shea (200-IM, 100 breast), Paige Hayward (diving), Cailin Currie (500 free). Girls Division 2 Marblehead: 200 medley relay, Ryan Alexander (200 free, 500 free), Hannah Verrette (200-IM, 100 back), Ellie Ronan (200-IM, 100 breast), Kylie Cronin (100 fly, 100 free), Haley Ohlson (100 fly, 100 back), Sophia Zmetrovich (100 fly), 200 free relay, 400 free relay. Hamilton-Wenham: Betsy Powers (200 free, 100 fly), Olivia Horgan (500 free), 400 free relay. Swampscott: 200 medley relay, Kasey Kennedy (200-IM, 500 free). Danvers: Cambria Cloutier (200-IM, 100 back). Bishop Fenwick: Linsey Andrews (200-IM, 100 back). Ipswich: Tessa Amoroso (diving), Amelia Young (diving), Jackie Bouvier (500 free) *Source: MIAA Web site