Published November 16, 2018

MELROSE—The Melrose Lady Raider swim team earned one of the MIAA’s most prestigious honors on Saturday when they took home the Div. 2 MIAA Sportsmanship Award.

The presentation took place at the Div. 2 North Swim Finals at MIT in Cambridge. The team was given the award by MIAA officials at the start of the meet. Melrose was nominated by Chelmsford High, a team they compete against every season. 

MEMBERS OF the Melrose High girls’ swim team accept their MIAA Sportsmanship Award on Sunday. Pictured, from left (in red cap) Grace Haseltine, Jen Kahler, Jenna Thorpe, Milania Saggese, Molly Williams, Natasha Brown, Emily Boutchia, Lucy Tyson, coach Kari Miller and Abigail Gauch. (courtesy photo)

“This was a total surprise,” said Melrose coach Deb Deacon. “We were nominated by Chelmsford and we appreciate that so much. I could not have been more proud of my swimmers, all 24 of them.”

The award is presented to teams who demonstrate a sincere commitment to the highest ideals and objectives of sportsmanship during their season of play. Teams can be nominated for this award by coaches, athletic directors and principals.

Melrose’s philanthropic swim team has long been sportsmanlike in gracious in victory and defeat but also has devoted years of volunteer and fundraising for the Best Buddies organization, including taking part in their annual Buddy Walk in Wakefield.

“To me, sportsmanship is the most important thing, period,” says Deacon. “Whether you’re the slowest or fastest swimmer on the team, that matters for not if you are not a good sport. I am so proud of my girls.”