Already qualifying for States, Sectionals

Published in the September 18, 2015 edition

HOLLY COHAN takes a plunge for the Melrose Lady Raider swim team, who qualified a number of athletes for States in their opening meets against Belmont and Lexington. (Donna Larsson photo) 

HOLLY COHAN takes a plunge for the Melrose Lady Raider swim team, who qualified a number of athletes for States in their opening meets against Belmont and Lexington. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE—The Melrose Lady Raider swim team started their season on a strong note after facing Belmont on Friday, September 11 at their home base of Mystic Valley Charter pool.

While Melrose fell in a close contest, 89-76, the team produced many qualifying times. Several Lady Raiders have already punched a ticket for states in their debut meets, including Virginia Guanci in the 100 breast and Sam D’Alessandro in the 100 fly.

New swimmers this season include Molly Williams, Jennifer Kahler, Lauren Sasso, and Julia Paiewonsky. Williams, a freshman, is a lifelong swimmer and according to Melrose coach Deb Deacon, a great addition to the squad. “Molly is a solid swimmer who will be a tremendous asset to team this year. She and other freshmen as well.” In her first varsity meet against Belmont, Williams finished 1st in the 200 free at 2:07.84 (sectional cut) and she qualified for States in the 500 free by finishing 1st in a time of 5:48.46. “She rocked it,” reports her coach.

The Medley relay of Isabelle Bates, Virginia Guanci, Sam D’Alessandro and Olivia DeCecca finished 2nd in a State qualifying time of 2:00.72. Maddie Hughes finished 1st in the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:07.46 (Sectional cut) and Virginia Guanci finished 2nd in the 200 IM in a time of 2:20.71 (State Cut). The 200 freestyle relay of Guanci, Thome, Cohan and D’Alessandro fell just shy of the a State cut finishing 3rd behind Belmont in a time of 1:54.05 and the 400 relay team of Cohan, Alva Ronn, Williams and Hughes finished 3rd for a Sectional qualifying swim at 4:12.50.

“The team is swimming incredibly well with early Sectional and State cuts and we aren’t yet in shape,” reported their coach, after the meet.

Despite losing to Lexington on Tuesday, 99-71, Deacon was pleased with the effort. Melrose was down Holly Cohan and Isabelle Bates, which put them in a disadvantage, but saw solid performances nonetheless. Maddy Hughes qualified for Sectionals in the 200 free at 2:11.19. Molly Williams remained unbeaten in the 500 free at 5:48.06, shaving time of her state qualifying time, and also took first place in the 100 back at 1:06.89, just shy of the state cut. Samantha D’Alessandro qualified for States and finished first swimming a 26.06 in the 50 free and another 1st place finish and State cut in the 100 free finishing at 57.61. Other notable performances were Grace Nally in the 500 free finishing 5th at 6:55.56.

“On the whole, the team is improving and new swimmers to the team are improving each meet as well,” says their coach.

This Friday Melrose will look to pick up a win when they host Arlington at home at 3:45 pm.

2015 Girls Varsity Swim Schedule

(home Mystic Valley Charter pool)

Fri 09/11 3:45pm    vs  Belmont

Tue 09/15 5:30 pm @  Lexington

Fri 09/18 3:45 pm   vs  Arlington

Mon 09/21 3:45pm  vs  North Andover

Tue 09/29 3:45pm   vs  Andover

Thu 10/01 3:45 pm  @  Burlington, Shawsheen Tech HS

Mon 10/05 3:45 pm  vs  Winchester

Wed 10/07 3:45 pm  vs  Woburn

Wed 10/14 3:45 pm  vs  Wakefield Memorial H.S.

Sat 10/17 7:00 pm    @  Reading Memorial, Burbank YMCA

Wed 10/21 3:45pm   vs  Stoneham

Fri 10/23 3:45   @  Haverhill

Wed 11/04 tba  @  OPEN DATE  500 League Meet at Belmont

Thu 11/05 tba   vs  OPEN DATE  League Meet at Bentley College

Sat 11/14 4:15 pm @  OPEN DATE  Sectionals at MIT

Sun 11/22 7:00 am @  OPEN DATE  States at Harvard University