Published February 25, 2021


READING — For the first time in either school’s history, the North Reading-Wilmington co-op girls’ swim team have earned themselves the title of Cape Ann League champions.

Following a strong, undefeated season with a 5-0 record after defeating Lynnfield-Wakefield on Feb. 4, the girls continued to prove their strength during the League meet on the 11th, finishing the meet with a score of 532 total points earned by the team.

Captain Kristina Valenti of North Reading was named the CAL’s girls swimmer of the year following her strong performance in the meet. Kyla Kelley, a Wilmington freshman, claimed first place in each of her events, and so did captain Valenti.

Beginning the night with the 200-yard medley relay, the girls’ relay teams came in first and fourth place, as Maddie Koenig, Kelly Crossan, Kyla Kelley of Wilmington, and Melanie Feffer swam a 2:01.44 for first, and Lindsey Kane, Nicole Steinmeyer, captain Oli Grabar and Lauren Feffer swam a 2:10.63 for fourth.

In the 200-yard freestyle, captain Valenti claimed first place as she swam 2:03.52, followed by captain Emma Ryan of Wilmington, who took third with a 2:11.73, and Brianna Saunders-Correa, swimming a 2:16.6 for fourth.

In the 200-yard individual medley, Wilmington’s Kelley continued her strong performance in the meet swimming a 2:13.51 for first place. Kelly Crossan swam a 2:40.71 for fourth and Melanie Feffer was close behind swimming a 2:45.45 for fifth.

In the 50-yard freestyle, Maddie Koenig swam a 26.14 for second place and Melanie Feffer swam a 27.88 for fifth.

In the 100-yard butterfly, the girls’ team claimed second, third, and fourth places, as captain Ryan of Wilmington swam a 1:05.27, captain Grabar swam a 1:06.15, and Steinmeyer swam a 1:07.9.

Captain Valenti took first place in the 100-yard freestyle swimming a 56.85 and Melanie Feffer swam a 1:04.67 for seventh, followed by Lauren Feffer swimming a 1:04.87 for eighth and Lindsey Kane swam a 1:06.34 for 10th.

Wilmington’s Kelley swam a strong 5:15.01 for first place, and Saunders-Correa took sixth place swimming a 6:29.43.

In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the girls claimed third and fifth places, as captain Grabar, Steinmeyer, captain Ryan of Wilmington and Melanie Feffer swam a 1:53.21 and Crossan, Lauren Feffer, Julia Kane of Wilmington and Saunders-Correa swam a 2:06.2.

The girls took second and seventh places in the 100-yard backstroke, as Koenig swam a 1:02.51 and Lindsey Kane swam a 1:19.03.

Steinmeyer took third place in the 100-yard breaststroke swimming a 1:17.06 and Crossan swam a 1:20.27 for fifth place.

In the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Wild Hornets finished strong, claiming first place as captain Grabar, captain Ryan, Koenig and Kelley swam a 4:04.09.

Following the girls’ undefeated season and CALs victory, Coach Sue Hunter said, “I am unbelievably proud of everything the girls have shown this season. During a difficult time for all of us and a strange year for swimming, the girls still worked incredibly hard and pushed themselves to get the schools’ first ever CAL championship.”

The team’s performance was based entirely on hard work and their strong season earned them the well deserved title of CAL champions.

The week before the CAL league meet, the girls’ team faced off against Lynnfield-Wakefield for their final official meet of the season, and celebrated Senior Night to congratulate the seniors’ accomplishments on the team. Three captains are graduating this year: Captains Kristina Valenti and Oli Grabar from North Reading and Emma Ryan from Wilmington.

While the celebrations were unfortunately less than most seasons as a result of COVID and parents and spectators were still not allowed, the team made posters to set up along the YMCA pool deck, along with designing shirts and buying bouquets to give each senior. Despite having a difficult and strange season, the team proved that they were more than ready to fight against the odds in order to earn the CAL title they hoped for.