By EMMA CEPLINSKAS
Swim season has started off with a splash. The Malden High School swim team’s first meet was against their biggest rival; Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Anxiety and excitement coursed through the veins of MHS’ swimmers, coaches and rivals.
The meet went back and forth in points with Cambridge inching away from Malden, but Malden swam on and the score was soon tied at 70 points after the 100 yard backstroke. Swimmers, coaches, fans and even officials became antsy to see who would pull ahead in the final events.
It all came down to the 400 freestyle relay. Malden needed to place in first and third to be the victors and finally squash CRLS. The two teams were neck and neck, but freshman Alex Lombardi exalted the last ounce of energy she had left in the final lap to put an end to CRLS’ reining victories. Lombardi’s final strokes allowed her to be the big finisher for the girls 400 freestyle relay, pulling the team ahead from behind CRLS, and cinching the team’s needed first and third place finishes. The officials announced a final score of 87-83 with Malden as the winners. A flood of triumph washed over MHS’ swimmers, coaches and fans. MHS’ swim team’s thirst for victory against CRLS had at last been quenched.
Senior captains Caitlin Cala, Blue and Gold members Catherine Poirier and Amalia Quesada Nylen and junior captain Bestine Cong waited several years for the moment when CRLS was no longer the top dog and it had finally arrived. Cala expressed it “was like a weight had been lifted off of [her] shoulders” after hearing the final score. Assistant coach Jessica Bisson expressed “[she] was excited and proud because [the team] has been trying to beat CRLS for the past few years and we were always falling a little short. It was amazing to see how excited [the] swimmers were, even the new swimmers who have not had to deal with a loss to CRLS yet. The win against CRLS also gave [her] a boost to see what else [the team] can ‘throw’ at CRLS when [they] go to their pool.”
This season has perhaps “the best freshmen [the team has] had in a long time,” stated DeVincentis. His statement proves to be true as freshmen Alex Lombardi and Ryan Luu have qualified for states. Both Lombardi and Luu qualified in the 200 yard individual medley and Lombardi also qualified in the 100 yard butterfly stroke. Luu qualified for sectionals as well in the 100 yard breaststroke. In addition, sophomore Tristar To qualified for sectionals in the 50 yard freestyle stroke and the 400 yard freestyle stroke relay. Junior captain Cong qualified for states in the 100 yard backstroke and senior captain Poirier qualified for sectionals in the 100 yard breaststroke. Other close qualifiers on the team include senior captains Cala and Quesada Nylen, Samantha Forestier and Blue and Gold member Lucia Quesada Nylen.
MHS’ swim team is on a winning streak as they pulled out two more wins from their second meet against Sommerville and their third meet against Malden Catholic High School. The swim team is showing everyone that “there is a new sheriff in town” as DeVincentis puts it. He adds that “this team in particular has the potential to be the best out of the whole league” and “it is not out of the realm of possibility to take GBLs or have an undefeated season.”
MHS’ swim team has shown that they have “put their best foot forward” in the previous meets and have as a result “put them in a good position” as said by DeVincentis. “[His] sincere hope for all the swimmers on the team is for them to take a love of MHS and swimming.” Bisson also stated that if “the team or anyone puts in the effort [then] great things will happen,” and so far what she said is true for the team because they, herself and DeVincentis put in countless hours of grueling practices in order for the wins to keep raining in. Swimming “pushes limits” and “teaches dedication” and “perseverance” as said by Cong, DeVincentis, and Bisson. “The team’s bond does not end at the pool though,” mentioned Cong. Captains and coaches agree that the team is super close and not ‘like’ a family, they are a family.