By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — As they reach their halfway point of the season, the Melrose High boys’ swim team have earned a win and, more importantly, have advanced swimmers to state and sectional qualification. Melrose (1-3) has also showed great success with their multi-talented relay teams and specialty strokes.
Red Raiders Joe Connolly and Ben Fiesel have qualified for postseason in individual events. Connolly will compete in sectionals and states in the 200 IM and and Fiesel has qualified for sectionals in the 200 free. The Red Raiders’ 400 free and 200 free relay teams, meanwhile, continue to take out competition along the way this season.
In recent play Melrose saw a close meet fall in favor of the Malden High Golden Tornados, 82-73 at Medford High on Monday, Jan. 19. The Red Raiders fell into deficits of 20-10, 31-15 and 54-23 before Melrose righted the ship. Nabbing first place finishes were Ben Fiesel in the 200 free, Hudson Rubbins in the 100 breaststroke and Joe Connolly in the 100 backstroke. Fiesel earned Melrose’s first victory of the day in the 200 free with teammate Kyle Vanderhorst placing fourth. Connolly placed second in the next race, the 200 yard IM and Fiesel finished second in the 50 free. Behind him were teammates Brian Murphy and Sean Cady. Rubbins took third in the 100 butterfly and Foley in the 100 free.
Melrose’s relay teams, however, proved pretty unbeatable. The 200 freestyle team of Brian Murphy, Joe Brach, Kyle Vanderhorst and Jack Steinberg clinched first with a time of 1:51.84, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Connolly, Foley, Steinberg and Fiesel earned 12 points for their own first place finish of 3:57.24. Some late swims proved winning for the Raiders in the 100 yard races. Melrose swept the 100 yard backstroke with efforts from Connolly (1), Sam Foley (2) and Steinberg (2). They also swept the 100 breaststroke behind efforts of Rubbins (1), Vanderhorst (2) and Joe Brach (3).
There are plenty of meets on the horizon. Melrose will host Belmont on Friday at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter pool at 4:30 p.m. Their senior day will take place on Monday, Jan. 26 at home against Arlington. Also in the forecast, the Middlesex League meet which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 29 at Bentley University.