Mt. Hope swimmers ready to make a splash

A pair of Mt. Hope swimmers head in opposite directions while warming up prior to the meet against Shea. A pair of Mt. Hope swimmers head in opposite directions while warming up prior to the meet against Shea.

A pair of Mt. Hope swimmers head in opposite directions while warming up prior to the meet against Shea.

BRISTOL — Talk about a contrast. The Mt. Hope High boys’ swim team has 11 athletes on its roster. The Mt. Hope High girls’ swim team has 14 freshmen among its 27 athletes.
“The boys’ team needs to do some recruiting,” said Mt. Hope coach Jon Dell. “We need to get some more boys out for the team.
“The girls, I have no idea how they get each other to join the team. It seems like they always has a bunch of girls out. A bunch of them have other outside activities like dance, band, chorus, acting. They’re always working on something. I give them a lot of credit. It’s a lot of hard work.”
Regardless of roster size, both teams will strive to do their best which means their .500 records of a year ago will climb above that mark if all goes well. The boys finished 3-3 in Division Three while the girls went 4-4 in the same division.
Dell has a new helper this year after six-year assistant coach Rebecca Duggan left to become the head coach at Middletown High. Kacey O’Connor replaces Duggan.
“She’s from Roger Williams. She swam on the team and now she gives swimming lessons there,” Dell said. “ She’s really good technically. She knows her stuff.”
Boys’ team
The boys on the team have to be prepared to work if they want success. In one way its the best possible situation for everyone. No one will be sitting the bench.
“With 11, we can almost fill every event,” said Dell. “If nobody is sick we should be okay. It requires everyone to swim four events. There’s no getting off. Everybody has to swim.”
Senior Mark Devol and junior Adam Dutra are the captains.
“Mark is our all-around, go-to guy,” Dell said. “He’s our best IM’er (individual medley). He’s good in all the strokes and one of the best freestylers on the team
“Adam is our No. 1 breaststroker,” said Dell. “He’s very strong at it. He’s working on freestyle too.”
Senior Austin Porto is a full-time freestyler who will vie in both sprint and distance events. Classmate Jeffrey Briggs specializes in the backstroke and he’s already unofficially qualified for the state meet thanks to a time of around 1:09 in a practice meet. Fellow senior Marquise Silva vies in the breaststroke and also is working on distance freestyle.
Junior Grant Mattson will play a key role thanks to his versatility.
“Grant’s an all-arounder we can put in any event,” the coach said. “He likes the butterfly and backstroke. He doesn’t get tired apparently. He just keeps going.”
Junior Chris Kern is focusing on the butterfly with a minor in distance freestyle. Classmate Tao Sevigny will swim distance and mid-distance freestyle.
Returning sophomores Carl CJ Gerhard and Connor McMullen will be ready to pickup where they left off last year.
“Carl’s one of the fastest sprinters on the team,” said Dell. “He also wants to work on the breaststroke this year. Connor will do all distances for freestyle. He’s also an all-arounder.”
Freshman Tres Salley rounds out the squad. And he’ll be tossed right into the action.
“We’re finding out what he’s good at,” said the coach. “We’re focusing on freestyle and he’s picking up the breaststroke. He’s a very athletic kid which is good.”
Girls’ team
The girls will enter their season with senior Jaimee Walsh and junior Lucy Spence as their captains.
“Jaimee can fill in anywhere,” Dell said. “She’s one of our better sprint freestylers and she’s doing the breaststroke too.
“Lucy is our leading swimmer in most events. She’s doing the backstroke and she’s our leading sprint and distance freestyler.”
Senior Angelica Alvarado is one of the team’s better breaststrokers and will continue vying in the distance freestyle event. Classmate Lauren Deschenes has “already started to break her freestyle times from last year,” Dell said. “She’ll do the 500 primarily but is also working on the backstroke.”
Victoria Benza and Olivia Phillips, a pair of juniors, will fill numerous roles for the Huskies.
“They’re both all-arounders who’ll do the individual medley,” said Dell. “They’re terrific in the butterfly and they’re good freestylers. They’re very helpful to have on the team. If I need them for any event they’ll do fine. They like to push each other too which is good.”
Sophomore Victoria Nunez also is showing some versatility in her second year and “doing really well in a lot of different events,” Dell said.
The coach also said he a had a handful of good incoming freshmen including Claire Galligan (backstroke), Elaina Deriso (butterfly) and Alexandria Brassard (breaststroke). He talked of pairing them with another ninth-grader to form a freshman medley relay team.
Rounding out the squad are juniors Caitlyn Benevides and Victoria Smith, sophomores Daisy Alves, Makayla Desmarais, Alicia Dugan, Hannah Riccio and Alexandra Winnes and freshmen Jordan Abreu, Emma Camara, Emily Cordeiro, Annika Creton, Sabrina DaSilva, Marysa Fikiet, Sarah Goss, Jacklyn Mello, Molly Powers and Samantha Whitaker.
Huskies sweep season openers
The Mt. Hope boys’ and girls’ swim teams swept to wins over short-handed Shea in their Division-Three season-openers Wednesday at Roger Williams University.
Eight different swimmers took a turn on the winner’s podium when the boys’ squad downed Shea 70-18. Adam Dutra, Mark Devol, Chris Kern, CJ Gerhard and Austin Porto each won an individual event and were members of a pair of victorious relay squads.
Dutra won the 100 breaststroke (1:26.3) and teamed with Grant Mattson, Devol and Porto to take the 200 medley relay. Dutra, Connor McMullen, Kern and Gerhard were the winning foursome in the 200 freestyle relay while Porto, Gerhard, Kern and Devol combined to win the 400 freestyle relay.
Marquise Silva won the 500 freestyle (7:47.3), Mattson won the 100 butterfly (1:38.8) and Kern took the 200 freestyle (2:31.7). Devol was tops in the 100 backstroke (1:19.8), Gerhard earned a win in the 100 freestyle (1:07.2) and Porto was tops in the 50 freestyle (26.7).
The Mt. Hope girls won all 11 events contested when they downed Shea 80-9.
Claire Galligan won the 50 freestyle (31.3), the 100 backstroke (1:24.5), combined with Lucy Spence, Victoria Bendza and Olivia Phillips to take the 200 medley relay (2:36.1) and teamed with Alicia Dugan, Elaina DeRiso and Spence to cop the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 5:31.6. Alex Brassard won the 100 freestyle (1:15.9), the 100 breaststroke (1:30.0) and joined with Samantha Whitaker, Phillips and Bendza to win the 200 freestyle relay (2:22.2).
Bendza won the 100 butterfly (1:38.9), Lauren Deschenes took the 200 freestyle (3:09.1), Phillips won the 200 individual medley (3:18.1) and Spence triumphed in the 500 freestyle.

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