Photos: Barrington girls win state championship, celebrate a decade of dominance

BHS girls swim team wins 10th straight state championship

By Josh Bickford
Posted 3/4/24

Ten in a row! The Barrington High School girls swim team capped a decade of dominance with its 10th straight state championship on Saturday, March 2.

The Eagles scored a whopping 331.5 points …

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Photos: Barrington girls win state championship, celebrate a decade of dominance

BHS girls swim team wins 10th straight state championship


Ten in a row! The Barrington High School girls swim team capped a decade of dominance with its 10th straight state championship on Saturday, March 2.

The Eagles scored a whopping 331.5 points — 100 points better than second-place North Kingstown.

Like the previous nine championship years, Barrington team members and their coach Sandy Gorham celebrated the title with a jump in the pool.

“Actually, it was very refreshing,” Coach Gorham said. “It never gets old. It sounds corny, but it means so much.

"They work so hard. They’re very devoted to the team. I have to do right by them. I work real hard for them because they work so hard for me."

Coach Gorham said he was very proud of his team and how well they handled the pressure. He said the girls seemed a bit nervous as the state meet approached. He said they were well-aware of how many championships BHS teams had won in a row.

“I told them that there are different kinds of pressures in the world. This is fun pressure,” Coach Gorham said. “You have to perform, but you have to perform in everything."

This year’s team boasted some first place finishes and an onslaught of total team points captured through the top-16 spots in each event. 

Coach Gorham said his swimmers show a dedication to the team by often swimming in their non-primary events, all in an effort to capture as many total points as possible. 

“The depth is what did it. I’m so proud of these girls,” Coach Gorham said. 

Barrington opened the meet with a win the 200 IM relay. Lara Tolley, Ava Webster, Michelle Xian and Molly DiGiacomo teamed up to clock a time of 1:52.33, just ahead of the PCD/St. Ray’s relay team. North Kingstown took third. 

Barrington had four swimmers score points in the 200 freestyle. Freshman Reese Graveline finished fourth, while Laurie Garcia, a senior captain, was ninth, Emma Bell, another senior captain, was 12th, and Lily O’Neill was 15th. Tolley and Sadie Brown placed in the 200 IM, notching more key points for the Eagles. 

DiGiacomo, who swam the anchor leg in the 200 IM, won the 50 freestyle. The BHS freshman clocked a time of 24.36.

“She works very hard,” Coach Gorham said of DiGiacomo. “There’s no pretense… She just has fun with it. She loves being part of the team, and she was outstanding at the meet. Molly’s so friendly and so supportive. That’s just the way she is.”

Maude Smith-Montross tied for sixth in the 50 free, and Kate McAdams finished 11th in the event. 

Xian led the way for Barrington in the 100 butterfly. The senior captain finished seventh with a time of 1:01.89. Coach Gorham praised Xian’s devotion to the team-first approach. 

“Absolutely. For four straight years. She does everything. She’s the consummate team player,” Coach Gorham said. 

Bell powered to a 12th place finish, and Vivian Wen finished 15th in the event. 

In the 100 freestyle, it appeared that DiGiacomo might have her second individual victory of the meet. But the BHS standout was out-touched at the wall by a PCD/St. Ray’s swimmer. Meanwhile, Smith-Montross powered to a third place finish in the event, finishing just behind her teammate. 

Graveline and Webster shined in the 500 freestyle. Graveline finished fifth with a time of 5:28.97, while Webster was sixth with a time of 5:30.13. Garcia put together an impressive race and finished ninth in the same event. 

Barrington’s 200 free relay team dominated the event. The team of McAdams, Xian, Graveline and DiGiacomo finished in first with a time of 1:40.60 — that was nearly five seconds faster than the second place team. 

In the 100 backstroke, Tolley finished seventh, while McAdams was 11th, and Jillian Frechette was 13th. Barrington continued to score points in the 100 breaststroke, as Xian finished sixth, Webster was eighth, and Brown finished 14th. 

The Eagles’ 400 free relay team — McAdams, Tolley, Smith-Montross, and Graveline — capped the meet with a fourth place finish. 

“It’s a wonderful feeling," Coach Gorham said. "The older I get, the more I enjoy it. I certainly appreciate it.”

Boys finish fourth

The Barrington High School boys swim team finished fourth at the state championship meet on Saturday, March 2.

The Eagles scored 198.5 points, finishing behind first place Hendricken (296 points), second place North Kingstown (241 points) and third place Moses Brown (220 points).

Coach Gorham said the BHS boys team would have finished higher, possibly in second place, but had one of its relay teams disqualified. 

“We had a swimmer jump,” Coach Gorham said. “That cost us 30 points.”

Despite the set-back, Barrington saw some impressive performances. Coach Gorham praised the performances of Leo Katz, Harrison Barakos, Aydin Duru, Keith Hartman, Zach Carrara, Lucas Ferreira, Ben McClelland, Gavin Nelson, Ben Choi-Schattle, and Justin Kuo among others. 

“I was really proud of them,” Coach Gorham said. 

Barrington finishers:

• 200 free: 4. Hartman, 14. Choi-Schattle

• 200 IM: 12. Katz

• 50 free: 3. Duru, 7. McClelland, 

• 100 butterfly: 6. Barakos

• 100 free: 6. Duru, 14. George Zhukov

• 500 free: 2. Hartman, 14. Carrara, 16. Ferreira

• 200 free relay: 2. Barrington (Kuo, McClelland, Hartman, Duru)

• 100 backstroke: 10. McClelland, 13. (Tie) Barakos, 15. Nelson

• 100 breaststroke: 7. Kuo, 9. Katz

• 400 free relay: 4. Barrington (Nelson, Choi-Schattle, Hartman, Duru)

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