Islanders add depth to Wahoos
The Newport YMCA swim team had their first home meet of the season last Saturday against the Cape Cod Makos. Jamestown is well represented on the Wahoos and is adding to the depth and youth of the team.
Swim teams are divided and compete by age group with 8 and under being the youngest group. In the meet against the Cape, however, a 6 and under category was added due to the large number of 6 year olds on both teams.
Fourth-year head coach Pauline Butterworth is pleased with the depth of her team. "The first year I coached, we had three 8 and unders. The second year we had four and it was our mission to get the younger swimmers in there. Then something clicked last year when we had 24 swimmers in the 8 and unders and we have almost doubled that this year."
This season the Newport team has 115 swimmers, which includes 46 swimmers in the 8 and under division. When asked what the team's strength is this year, Butterworth said, "We have a great 13- 14 year-old group, but at this point it is hard to say because we have a lot of good strong swimmers in all the age groups." She went on to say, "We have some very strong swimmers in the 8 and under group and it will be interesting to see what they can do."
The Wahoos entered 93 swimmers in Saturday's meet and the Makos had 74. Although Newport lost to Cape Cod, Butterworth was happy with the performance of the team, especially the new younger swimmers.
The Jamestown presence in the younger age groups was apparent in the meet and there were some very solid performances by island residents, including these noted by Coach Butterworth.
In the 6 and under age group, Theo Simmons placed second in the 25-yard backstroke and Caleb Wagner took second in the 25-yard freestyle and third in the 25-yard backstroke. Charley Simmons took first place in the 25-yard free and second in the 25-yard backstroke. She was also on the second place 100-yard freestyle relay team. After the meet, Simmons said her favorite stroke is freestyle and although she gets nervous before races she still has fun.
In the 8 and unders, Katie Brayman had solid swims in the 25-yard free and the 25-yard backstroke. Eliza Kallfelz took first in the 100- yard individual medley, which was one of the closest races of the day. Kallfelz was also on the winning 100-yard freestyle relay and the second place 100-yard medley relay. Gavin Wagner placed third in the 50-yard free and was on the second place 100-yard free relay. Jack Westall won the 25-yard free and the 25-yard backstorke and placed second in the 50-yard free. Westall said his favorite thing about being on the team is "swimming with my friends."
In the 9-10 year old division, Samara Avayzian-Hancock, had a third place finish in the 50-yard butterfly and second place in the 50-yard breaststroke. Lexi Brayman placed fifth in the 50-yard breaststroke and took an astonishing 21 seconds off her time. Emily Kallfelz placed second in the 100-yard individual medley. Libby LaMantia took first in the 50-yard butterfly, second in the 50- yard free and fourth in the 50-yard breaststroke. Noah Simmons had a personal best time in the 50-yard breaststroke and was on the winning 200-yard medley relay. New swimmer Natalie Tamboe had her best times in the 50-yard free and the 50-yard backstroke.
Islanders Collette Baker, Spencer Sprague and Madison Tregenza did not compete in the meet against the Makos.
The Wahoos practice at the YMCA in Middletown and compete on weekends in the SENECY swim league. The season runs from September to March. Participants must be six years of age and be able to complete one length of the pool (25 yards) of freestyle and backstroke.
Newport will swim again this Sunday, Dec. 9, at home in the Holiday Classic against South County and Westerly at 1 p.m.