Published in the September 21, 2018 edition


MALDEN—The Melrose Lady Raider swim team picked up their first win of the season in an exciting, down-to-the-wire 92-78 finish over North Andover on Monday at the Mystic Charter pool. 

Melrose is 1-1 on the season and will host rival Burlington this Friday at 4:00 p.m. at the Mystic Valley Charter pool.   

“It’s an exciting start,” says head coach Deb Deacon. “We have some holes to fill and there will be some events we are stronger in than others, but I’m seeing some cool things from this group.” 

Like picking up their first win. 

THE MELROSE girls’ swim team is off to a leaping 1-1 start after a win over N. Andover. (Donna Larsson photo)

Against the Scarlet Knights, Melrose fell to a 12-2 deficit after the first race of the day: the 200 medley. But they narrowed the gap 18-12 by sweeping the top two spot in the 200 freestyle, behind efforts from Molly Williams (first at 2:10.28) and Abby Gauch (2:20.73). 

North Andover took the 200 IM but Melrose had a solid 2-4 place showing in the 50 free behind the efforts of Jen Kahler, Milania Saggese and Maggie Doyle, respectively. Melrose held on 35-27 going into the 100 butterfly which would prove to be a pivotal heat for the Lady Raiders. Melrose swept the top three spots with Lucy Tyson placing first at 1:12.74. Melrose took their first lead of the meet when they swept the 100 freestyle behind the efforts of Jen Kahler (first), Milania Saggese (second) and Abbie Gauch (third) and Melrose now held a lead of 51-43.

Molly Williams kept it open when she blew past all competition in the 500 free with a time of 5:48.84, a good minute and a half ahead of the competition. Says Deacon, “Molly killed it, she’s just way past anyone else’s time. It wasn’t close.” Williams helped give Melrose a lead of 59-51. In just two short meets, Williams has already qualified for state and sectional tournaments, where she is expected to do well later in the season.     

Lucy Tyson is another swimmer who has impressed in the early season. “She swam overseas and is coming into her own as a member of the team. She’s learning the ropes and doing nicely,” says the coach.                                                               

Melrose maintained a lead of 71-53 lead thanks to a 1-2 finish in the 200 free relay. Placing first was the relay team of Saggese, Gauch, Kahler and Williams. Finishing second was the team of Julia Paiewonsky, Demya Allen, Maggie Doyle and Allison Stoelzel. North Andover narrowed the gap after the breaststroke, within striking range at 82-74, fortunately, Melrose came up big in the 400-yard free relay. A first-place finish sealed the deal, thanks to the relay team of Saggese, Gauch, Williams and Jenna Thorpe. 

“It was a great finish,” says Deacon. “We were neck and neck and they came out strong and got the job done.”

Melrose next hosts league rival Burlington this Friday at 4:00 p.m. at the Mystic Valley Pool.