The Swim and Dive season started back up last week, and the team is excited and ready to get right back into it. Last season, the Whalers had an outstanding run, finishing undefeated as league champions, with their representatives putting in an impressive showing at states.
They will be looking to replicate last season’s impressive form, but must be prepared to deal with the losses of last year’s talented senior class. This includes senior captains Natalie Gammons, Emma Pierce, Claudia Hofford, and Katherine Pittman, as well as senior captain Dervon Williams for the boys team. Other seniors that they will miss include Zander Trudel, Ramon Partida, Luke Johnson, Angela Muhler, Eileen MacVicar, Sydney Strate, Lucy Bresette, Christiana Roggeveen and Mae Blackwell. The teams will look towards their new captains this year to take up these leadership roles and lead the team forward. For the girls, the new captains are seniors Alexa Aloisi, Sara Lombardi and Jennifer Lamb. They boys will be led by returning senior captain James Taaffe and senior Beck Barsanti.
Captain Lamb explains, “Moving forward we are hoping to uphold our excellent record in both regular season and postseason competition, while also continuing to challenge ourselves with a variety of higher level meets and opponents.” The latter, although very possible, will not come without some struggle, as the team has lost the aforementioned 14 seniors from the previous season. However, they can rely on the experience of their new captains to steer the ship steady.
The team will also be able to look towards their trustworthy and talented coaching staff for guidance, and can appreciate that they are getting the very best coaching to look over them. Jim Pignato heads as the swim team coordinator, assisted by Natalie Thompson and Ainsley Witherell, while Drew Arent takes charge of the diving branch.
Lamb commented, “We have a very diverse mix of new talent as well as many experienced, returning swimmers. If the first week of practice is an indication, we can absolutely look forward to a very hardworking team and a successful season.” This newer talent includes freshmen such as Emma Davis and Kevin Johnson, as well as returning sophomores, who in turn provide strong morale for a successful season.
The team is most known for excelling in their 200 medley, 200 free, and 400 free relays.
Captain Barsanti states that, “Usually the 400 free relay at the end of the meet is the most high adrenaline race, and are always most competitive because so many different talented swimmers can participate.” They hope to continue to dominate these relays, and start to develop new relay teams with a lot of the new upcoming swimmers.
Lamb includes that, “We are so fortunate to have so many talented swimmers throughout the A, B, and C teams, which enables us to secure more points per event. In addition, our dedicated divers give us a very competitive edge and consistent scoring advantages in our program.”
The Whalers are preparing for their first event in the Bay Colony Conference, which is being held on the 8th, at Sandwich High School. Many other schools will be competing there, and the Whalers hope to make a statement, ideally starting the season off with a bang.
Barsanti hopes that, “the team will remember what Coach Jim Pignato always tells us: ‘If you have a lane, you have a race’ and hopefully people truly internalize that advice. I feel like the team knows how to do their jobs and does them well, and are capable of accomplishing a successful season overall.”
The Swimming and Diving Team has proven time and time again in the past that they are capable of winning championships, and they will look to continue that trend this year and for many years to come.
By Ruby Dupont and Emmet Clarke
Contributing writer & sports editor