Looks to be a team to beat heading into league meet

Published in the November 6, 2015 edition

THE MELROSE girls' varsity swim team has compiled their best season record in 20 years. This week the team looks to make waves at the Middlesex League Meet. (Donna Larsson photo)

THE MELROSE girls’ varsity swim team has compiled their best season record in 20 years. This week the team looks to make waves at the Middlesex League Meet. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE — The Melrose Lady Raider swim team has made waves in 2015, notching their best record in nearly 20 years at 7-4, heading into this week’s Middlesex League Meet as a team to beat.

“This is the strongest record in my tenure as coach,” confirms Melrose coach Deb Deacon, now in her 19th year at the helm. “A solid season for sure.”

This fall Melrose saw victory over Middlesex Large teams such as Arlington, Winchester and Woburn and completely dominated the Small league, beating Burlington, Stoneham, Wakefield.

There have been a number of outstanding individual efforts so far this season. Virginia Guanci broke her own school record of 2:19.74 in the team’s meet against Reading on Oct. 17 with a time of 2:17.91. That day she earned a first place finish against a tough and talented Rocket team. Freshman newcomer Molly Williams recently swam her best 500 of the season (5:36.24) as well as her best 100 backstroke (1:04.85) and has qualified for the State meet. Samantha D’Alessandro’s performances in the 50 fly in the medley relay and the 100 fly continues to improve. D’Alessandro serves as the butterfly swimmer in the 200 medley relay and the anchor on the 400 free relay. “Sam works hard and continues to step up for her teammates,” reports her coach.

Melrose finished their regular season with a dual meet against Haverhill, edged 89-81. “It was a very close meet, neck and neck after each event,” says Deacon. “Haverhill proved to have just a little more depth than Melrose. We lost but saw several improved times.”

That included Madeline Hughes who improved her time in the 200 free at 2:06.95. Senior captain Holly Cohan continues to prove her leadership. Against Reading she finished second in the 50 free at 27.60 and third in the 100 free with a time of 1:01.27. Cohan also serves as an integral member of two relays: the anchor in the 200 medley relay and a member of the 200 free relay.

Melrose’s Olivia DeCecca shaved 3 seconds off her 100 fly time in the meet against Haverhill for a fifth place finish.  “She turned around just two races later and swam the 500 free just a few seconds off her best time,” reports Deacon. The coach also points to Katie Meade who continues improve with a recent personal best in the 100 freestyle at 1:13.84. Other improved times include Samantha Farrell in the 100 free 1:16.81, Julia Paiewonsky in the 50 free 31.79 and Alexa Breban in the 100 free 1:30.47.

This week the team will compete in the Middlesex League Meet. All 500 swimmers, which include Natasha Brown, Olivia DeCecca, Alva Ronn and Molly Williams, will represent Melrose at Belmont High on Wednesday (post deadline). The full team will be traveling to Bentley College on Thursday (post deadline) where they hope to finish the season with personal best times.

Qualified swimmers will represent Melrose at the North Sectional Championships on Nov. 14 and State Championship meet on Nov. 22.  They include: Captain Holly Cohan (Sectionals 50 free, likely 200 free relay), Samantha D’Alessandro (Sectionals 200 free 100 fly; States 50 free 100 free), Virginia Guanci (Sectionals and States 200 IM, 100 breast), Madeline Hughes (Sectionals and States 200 free, 100 back) and Molly Williams (Sectionals and States 500 free, 100 back). Alternates and members of relay teams include: Isabelle Bates (relays), captain Ali Thome (relays) and Olivia DeCecca (manager).