Warriors will lean on seniors in a building year

CAROLINE SWEENEY, a junior, returns to swim the freestyle after having a solid sophomore campaign a year ago. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

CAROLINE SWEENEY, a junior, returns to swim the freestyle after having a solid sophomore campaign a year ago. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

Published in the September 13, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Last fall, the Wakefield Memorial High girls’ swim team had little depth as it had just 23 swimmers total.

As the 2016 opener approaches, the Warriors have a few more swimmers which gives veteran head coach Kathy Byrne some wiggle room as far as a lineup is concerned.

“We have 28 girls on the team which is a bigger team than we had last year which is good,” said Byrne. “We have a little more wiggle room or at least I hope so.”

The numbers are slightly better despite losing five boys that were part of the squad before Wakefield received final approval to be part of a cooperative program with the Lynnfield High School boys’ swim team during the winter season.

“The big news is the five boys practicing with us will now be swimming with Lynnfield,” said Byrne. “We had two of those boys with the team last year. They’re all wonderful boys and we wish them the best. Chris (Anastasiades) had a great season for us last year. They can concentrate on getting ready for the winter season. That is a big change for us, but I think it is good for Wakefield High School overall and it is a positive for the town with the interest in boys’ swimming.”

Now Byrne will be seeking to get the female athletes on her team ready for the season opener against Reading. Byrne will be looking to her seniors to lead the way as the Warriors seek to improve on the 3-6 record they posted a year ago.

In particular, the Warriors will be led by senior co-captains Brigid Scanlon and Julia Hanley. Scanlon returns and swims the 500 freestyle and Hanley competes in the backstroke and freestyle.

Also returning are seniors Ashleigh Farrow, Caitlyn Collins, Mikayla Foley, and Meghan Pescatore.

Farrow returns to compete in the butterfly, while Pescatore is a freestyler. Collins will swim the breaststroke and freestyle and Foley returns to swim the backstroke and freestyle.

Two returning juniors — CC Colliton and Caroline Sweeney — are returning point scorers and Byrne expects them to contribute in that department over the course of the season. Colliton can swim many events and is extremely versatile. Sweeney’s specialty is the freestyle.

Not only will the Warriors have to forge ahead without Anastasiades who was a state champion in two events last year (male and female swimmers competed separately in the postseason), but they will also are dealing with the graduation losses of Nicole Pecjo, Taylor Guarino, Erin Lucey, Madison Guay, Victoria Tringale, and Erin Lomasney.

Guay also competed as an individual in the Div. 2 state meet last November in the 100 breaststroke and the 100 butterfly.

The Warriors also had three relay teams that qualified for the meet. Sweeney swam in all three relays, but the rest were all seniors that graduated.

“We’re working hard,” said Byrne. “We have Reading in our first meet and they have a full team of year round swimmers. It will be a tough meet. We’ll get everybody out there and do our best.

“I do think this will be a building year for us,” added Byrne. “I’m sure we will have some good performances and our times will go down as the season goes on. I look forward to a great season.”

The Warriors host the Rockets on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Malden High School Pool, Wakefield’s home facility.