North Kingstown swim teams optimistic for postseason
Last year, both squads had a shot at the state title but lost in the finals, with the boys falling to perennial favorite, Bishop Hendricken. The Hawks have won the state title 23 years in a row, but Carlson thinks this could be the year the Skippers end Hendricken’s domination.
The North Kingstown boys’ team is 4-1. They defeated Hendricken in the season’s first meet, 49-45, and Carlson said the victory boosted the Skippers’ confidence.
“It helped us,” she said.
The girls’ varsity also has high hopes for a trophy this year, according to Jamestown’s Margot Janson, 17, a junior.
“Our team has improved from last year,” Margot said. “We’re a really strong team.” One way she gauges progress, she said, is by counting the number of swimmers who have “moved up in the lanes,” meaning they are recording faster times.
Unlike most teams, North Kingstown’s coaches work more on speed and technique than stamina. “Our coaches are working with us differently than other coaches,” Margot said. “Other schools focus on distance.”
She thought the Bay View Invitational was the best match so far this season. The Skippers placed fifth, and that was a good showing, she said.
Jamestowner Noah Simmons, 14 and just a freshman, said the Hendricken meet was “very exciting” and came down to the final event, the 400-meter relay.
Noah, the son of Jim Simmons and Suzanne Aubois, was one of the eight Skippers who swam on the two relay teams and eked out the victory.
“I have been trying hard at practices,” he said.
Hendricken and the Skippers have identical records, but the Hawks lead in points, putting them in first place in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League standings. Carlson anticipates another duel between the two teams for the state trophy.
“It’s anyone’s game,” she said. The only loss for the boys was to Barrington, 51-43, in a meet on Jan. 10.
Ben Rudman, 16 and a junior, said the Barrington loss came after “a tough meet.”
The Skippers have been busy with two meets scheduled practically every week. North Kingstown defeated La Salle, 52-38, on Jan. 4, and then after losing to the Eagles, they came back with victories against Prout (61-32) on Jan. 14 and East Greenwich (53-35) on Jan. 17.
According to Jamestown’s Marcel Desvaux, age 14, the teams to beat are Hendricken, Barrington, Cumberland and Smithfield.
Marcel, the son of Eric and Beth Desvaux, swims the backstroke. He said his father wanted him to take up swimming, and he started at the Boys and Girls Club about six years ago. Today he’s one of the youngest kids on the team.
The girls’ varsity team is also 4-1 and sits in second place in the Division I standings. The Skippers are a game behind Prout, which is the only team to beat them so far this season. Carlson said it was a “heartbreaker.” North Kingstown lost 49-45 in a meet that was “very close,” according to Maey Petrie, a 16-year-old junior from Jamestown.
Maey Petrie thinks that despite the loss, the Prout meet was possibly the team’s best showing because several athletes turned in personal best performances.
“A lot of them had their best times,” she said.
Isabel Crabtree, 16 and a junior, said she beat her best time by two or three seconds. She set a personal record at the meet with a time of 1:23.3 in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Isabel said she has been working on her turns, and has managed to improve her time.
Maey, the daughter of Kate and Aidan Petrie, said the Skippers will have a chance to take revenge on Prout because the two squads will meet again. “We’re hoping that we’ll beat them in the rematch,” she said.
“We’ve been winning a lot,” said Aliza Gomez, 15. Aliza is a freshman, and although this is her first year with the team, she has been swimming since she was “really little.” She is the daughter of Rebekah and Geherly Gomez. She swims the freestyle events in all the meets, she said, and she is about to start competing in backstroke.
The girls’ team opened the season on Dec. 18 with a rout of Bay View Academy, 57-37. They then beat La Salle, 51-43, and edged Barrington by four points on Jan. 10 before losing to Prout. The Skippers charged back on Jan. 17 with a 57-35 win over East Greenwich.
While the rosters are filled with Jamestowners and kids from North Kingstown, the Skippers are also represented by a European: exchange student Filippo Cozza of Rome, Italy.
Filippo said he mostly cheers his teammates on.
“I’m not a good swimmer,” he said. He tried out for the team because classmates promised he would be in on lots of pasta parties, he joked.
Carlson said the number of students trying out for the swim teams continues to be healthy, thanks to the success of Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Beisel. Several other alumnae are also swimming with Division I college teams, she said, including Jamestown’s Jessica Rudman, who is at Trinity, and Ben Evangelista, who made the University of Delaware team.