All Star Molly Williams crowned league champ in 500

Published November 2, 2018


MELROSE—Melrose High senior Molly Williams became a league champion on Monday, Oct. 29 at the Middlesex League Championship at Bentley University. The team captain earned the title in the 500 free, finishing a good three seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, Lily Barker of Arlington, with a time of 5:31.69, besting her seeded time by two seconds. She also placed second in the 200 free, earning her instant All Star status in a deep Middlesex League crowd. 

Williams will set her sights on the North Sectionals on Nov. 11 and the Div. 2 State finals on Nov. 18, when she hopes to land on the podium and earn hardware for Melrose. 

Melrose coach Deb Deacon lauded her senior swimmer. “I’m so proud of Molly. No one is more deserving of this. She’s the most humble athlete I’ve had the pleasure of coaching.”

Going into the meet, Williams explained she felt a dose of jitters but it didn’t take away her focus. “I’m always a little nervous before a meet, and I knew I was up against some fast swimmers. But I just went out and swam my best.”

SENIOR CAPT. Molly Williams became 2018 Middlesex League champion in the 500 distance on Monday. (Donna Larsson photo)

It’s been a long ride for the senior, who swam competitively as a small child and came to Melrose High during her freshmen year from St. Mary’s School in Melrose. Williams quickly collected hardware at MHS while bonding with her team. “They’ve been like a family to me,” she says. “I didn’t know a lot of kids at the school when I started, but my teammates became my very close friends.” 

Having that teammate support has helped Williams succeed as a Red Raider swimmer. Over the course of four years, she has been a member of record-breaking/state medal winning relay teams, became a Div. 2 State bronze medalist in the 500 and was 4th in the state in the 200  last year while nearly breaking the MHS school record in the 500. Now, as Williams prepares for her last tournament season, she’s also keeping an eye on her collegiate prospects. Williams plans to swim and study nursing in college and is going on recruiting trips to meet swim coaches. Her lifelong commitment to the sport will no doubt help her thrive on the collegiate level.

“She’s the hardest working member on the team and has been since her arrival freshman year,” says Deacon. “She is the quiet underdog who pushes her teammates to get better every practice. She always listens intently to our advice and follows a conversation with “thank you coach.” I could not be more excited for her. Way to go, Molly!”   

Melrose swimmers make splash; await Sectionals 

Williams was in good company at the League Championship as many of her teammates had some best times and top finishes. Among those cracking the top ten was Abby Gauch in the 200 free (9th) and Jen Kahler, who was 9th in the 100 free and 10th in the 50 free.

“Jen has been swimming just on her personal best time in the 50 free and did a phenomenal job in her 100 free swimming her fastest time to date,” says Deacon. “And Abby swam her best meet of the season. As a new member to the team, she has quickly become a force who is a key member in both freestyle relays.”  

Melrose saw many swimmers compete in the 50 free including Maggie Doyle, Jenna Thorpe, Allison Stoelzel, Lily Sullivan, Melissa Aguirre, Alessia Pari-di-Monrovia, Natalia Warton and Camila Werner. In the 100 fly, Melrose was represented by Lucy Tyson and Julia Paiewonksy, and in the 100 free saw swims from Abby Gauch and Maggie Doyle. Grace Haseltine and Emily Boutchia also represented Melrose in the 500 free. Melrose saw plenty of swimmers in the 100 backstroke, including Lucy Tyson, Miliana Saggese, Katie Tully, Demya Allen. And in the breaststroke, Melrose saw swims from Haseltine, Stoelzel and Stephanie Overlan. Natasha Brown and Milania Saggese also swam the 200 IM.  

The team’s relay teams also performed solidly. The team’s 200 free relay of Jen Kahler, Abby Guach, Milania Saggese and Molly Williams placed a solid 5th at 1:51.47. The quartet then swam the 400 free relay and came in 5th at 4:06.54. The team’s 200 medley relay placed among the top ten with a finish of 2:13.28 behind the laps of Natasha Brown, Grace Haseltine, Lucy Tyson and Emily Boutchia. 

Deacon was quite pleased with her relay teams. “Our 200 and 400 free relays swam their best times,” said the coach. “And I expect our medley relay to improve [their time] at Sectionals in two weeks.”

To date, all three relay teams have qualified for North Sectionals. Individuals who have qualified are Williams in the 200 & 500 and Kahler in the 50 free with a goal to qualify in the 100 free.