Pennachio takes over for long time coach Whitworth

Published January 3, 2020


MELROSE—The coming new year brings change for the Melrose Red Raider swim team.

Alex Pennachio takes over the helm at Melrose High, where he will lead the boy’s swim team in their 2019-20 campaign. This year marks the retirement of longtime coach Dick Whitworth, a local coaching legend and fixture in the New England swimming scene, who’d been at the head of Melrose High swim for decades. There may be big shoes to fill indeed, but coach Pennachio brings his own pedigree as a swim coach and as a MHS faculty member, so he boasts experience and a similarity with the student athletes of Melrose High.

Pennachio, an Economics and World History teacher , also is a swim coach at North Shore Swim Club and a former coach at Stoneham High. where he guided many swimmers to Div. 1 college careers. Thus, Melrose’s winter team is in great hands.

The Red Raiders bring to the pool three captains: Devin McDaid, Gabe Monzon and Ethan Prospare. According to coach Pennachio, they’ve been of great assistance. “They have been hugely helpful for me coming in as a coach this season,” he says.

THE MELROSE Red Raider swim team hopes to make a splash in 2020. (file photo)

As has the entire Red Raider team. “Our returning swimmers are very committed to the team,” he says. “Often times, I’ve seen coaches leave a team and their athletes will leave as well. All of our swimmers from last season have returned and have been receptive to change this season.”

On the roster this year are the above mentioned captains along with William Burke, Miles Delgreco, Adam Drafts-Johnson, James Frederick, Nick Goodman, Nikolai Mohan, Thiago Nunes, Jonah Peters, Anderson Phan, Nick Sasso, Ian Smith and Cameron White.

One new swimmer who has already made an impact is freshman Nick Goodman, who has qualified for States in the 100 yard Butterfly and 100 yard Backstroke. Backstroke and Butterfly appear to the be the team’s strength in their early season. The duo of Goodman along with senior Devin McDaid has proven to be successful in the first two meets of the season. “This season is all about personal growth,” says the coach. “As a smaller team we need to work on improving ourselves one meet at a time.”

Melrose opened their season against Burlington with a 55-39 loss but it was a family reunion of sorts. Pennachio was a captain for the Burlington High swim team as a player in the 2008-09 season and was now competing as a former student against a former coach. “And while the meet was close we lost by only a few points,” he says. Melrose also took a 93-73 loss against Shawsheen on Dec. 19, but there is plenty of season left for the Red Raiders to get in the win column and continue personal growth.

Fans can see them up close on January 11th at 5:30 p.m. at the Melrose YMCA when they take on Arlington.

A full schedule reads below.

Season schedule

12/14/19 5:30 PM vs Burlington

12/19/19 4:00 PM vs Shawsheen

01/04/20 9:00 AM vs Lexington (Wellesley Boston Sports Club)

01/06/20 4:00 PM @ Malden

01/11/20 5:30 PM vs Arlington

01/12/20 5:30 PM vs Belmont – TBA

01/18/20 7:30 PM @ Reading

01/23/20 7:00 PM vs Lynnfield YMCA – Melrose

01/25/20 5:30 PM vs Winchester YMCA – Melrose