New coach takes the helm of North Kingstown swimming
Three Jamestown freshmen are part of the surprise that new North Kingstown High School swimming coach Leslie Becki has in store for the rest of the league this season.
“The other coaches and I are excited to see Meghan Brophy, Kaitlin Tierney and Olivia McGowan compete. They are all freshmen this year and will be a surprise to many teams,” Becki said of the three island swimmers.
The team lost several seniors last year, including Jamestowners Victor Lambert, Kendra Davis and Emmy Lutes, but Becki said she feels confident in the ability of the newcomers.
“We graduated some great talent last year, but I am very impressed with the strength and experience from our freshman team,” she said.
Not relying on two or three swimmers to carry the team is a positive, Becki said. “I would have to say that our depth on the women’s team will be our greatest strength.”
On the boys’ side of the house, the team has grown significantly since 2006, when three swimmers, including Lambert, swam individually for the school.
“The men’s team should also be very strong up front. This year’s men’s team is the largest team we have had since the team has been in existence,” Becki said.
Islander Jessica Rudman made her mark on the team last year as a freshman, finishing in second place in the 200-yard medley relay, third place in the 400-yard freestyle relay, eighth place in the 100-yard breaststroke and 14th place in the 200-yard individual medley at the state meet.
Rudman was listed as one of the key swimmers to watch this season, along with Elizabeth Beisel, Ben Evangelista, Garett Graham and Boris Paraliticci.
“Jess Rudman will be a major asset in bringing in some points for the team. She is a dedicated swimmer and her hard work ethic will give her other teammates something to strive for,” Becki said.
Overall, the greatest strength for both teams is the team atmosphere that has been created, Becki said.
“The team captains show great leadership, along with some of the juniors and seniors on the team, who have really stepped up and are helping bring the team together,” she said.
Not getting stagnant and resting on their talent is something Becki will work on with the team during the season.
“The entire team is working very hard at training hard at practice, improving technique and striving for greatness. Team goals and individual goals are something the swimmers and coaches will re-evaluate throughout the season,” she said.
The competition level is high overall throughout the state, as many strong club-level swimmers represent their school team during the season. But the coach said she isn’t going to ramp up the level of intensity for just the tough teams.
“The team will focus on each dual meet and treat each team like they are our biggest competition. I am not sure what the other teams have as far as incoming freshman,” she said. “The other coaches and I are excited to start the dual meet season and really see how North Kingstown can make a positive impact this year.”
Becki said that although this is the first season with the new coaching staff, some things will change and some will remain the same.
“Jillian and Ross had similar focus and beliefs in running a team that the new coaching staff does. This year, we are just trying to bring the team to the next level – a more competitive level. I believe we are more committed and goal-oriented this year,” she said.
Other athletes representing Jamestown on the team are Allison Farrelly, Liliane Flour, Caia Diepenbrock and Carla Aveledo.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams will travel to Barrington today, Thursday, Dec. 17, at 3:15 p.m. for a dual meet.