3rd record smashed by Melrose High swimmer
Published in the February 22, 2017 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—Melrose senior captain Joe Connolly made school history at the Div. 2 State Championship on Feb. 19 at Boston University.
His time in the 100 butterfly set a new Melrose High School record. That time of 54.84 broke a 1995 school record held by Melrose High’s Henry Turner, a multi event state champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle and Globe All-scholastic. Henry still holds the school record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:03.28. Additionally Connolly finished 15 in the 100 Backstroke with a time of 56.79.
Sunday’s achievement marks Connolly’s second school record of Henry’s that he has broken, and his third overall. Connolly currently holds three school records: the 100 fly, 100 back in 55.63 and the 200 free relay with Sam Foley, Justin Hori, and Ben Fiesel in a time of 1:33.94.
Connolly, a swimmer since age 9, has been known for his strong backstroke. So, Sunday offered a chance to leave his mark in the butterfly. “I was excited to get a chance to swim the butterfly at a big meet like state,” Connolly says. “I knew I had a lot of potential to improve in that event, so my coach just told me to relax and enjoy the race. The race felt great and it was probably the best butterfly race I’ve done in a while.”
It’s been a remarkable swim career for Connolly, son James and Jacqui and brother to Micaela and Lauren, all of Melrose. His favorite memory as a Red Raider was this year’s league meet. “Everyone got their best times and the atmosphere was exciting. It was a great end to the season with the rest of the team.”
Coach Richard Whitworth lauded Connolly’s effort in the butterfly. “Breaking this record had been a goal of Joe’s since last year at the state championship meet when he set his first school record. He swam a great race. His first 50 split was a 25.32 and his second 50 was 29.52. His start and technique were superb and I do not think he could have gotten any more out of the race. Having been Henry’s coach also I can tell you it is a great accomplishment to break these records.”
Joe Connolly wants to thank his teammates and coach for their support over the years. “Thanks to Coach Whitworth for helping me these four years develop into a better swimmer and realize my potential. And to Melrose swimming for a great experience with great swimmers.”