Beat Red Devils and nearly upset Belmont
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — For the Melrose Red Raider swim team, each day is only getting better during their winter season. On Jan. 21 the team earned a key league win over Burlington, 89-72, for what may be its biggest victory of the season. The team was led by a strong top-to-bottom effort from its lineup, including the tough relay teams.
In the win against Burlington, Melrose started the day with a 200 medley relay team made up of Joe Connolly, Hudson Rubbins, Ben Fiesel and Justin Hori. The quartet nabbed first place at 1:52.19. Melrose swept the next two events, the 200 freestyle and 200 IM behind efforts from Fiesel in the free and Connolly in the IM. Melrose captured the second to fourth positions in the 50 free behind the efforts of B. Murphy, Justin Hori and Joe Brach (respectively) but Melrose’s Fiesel took a clear win in the 100 butterfly at 101.72 and that helped Melrose take a 71-39 lead. Melrose also took a first place finish in the 500 free behind the efforts of Sam Foley. Joe Connolly took the 100 backstroke and Hudson Rubbins took the 100 breaststroke. As a finale, the 400 free relay team of Joe Connolly, Justin Hori, Jack Steinberg and Ben Fiesel brought it home with a first place finish at 3:52.26. Overall, it was a 89-72 win for the Red Raiders.
Just days later Melrose nearly stunned a reliably strong Belmont team, 86-82, at the Mystic Valley Charter pool, starting with a winning relay from Connolly, Fiesel, Rubbins and Jack Steinberg with a time of 1:53.29. They continued their winning ways with a first place performance by Ben Fiesel in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:01.09. After two races Melrose held a 24-22 lead. Melrose fell in its next race, losing 12 points to Belmont in the 50 free. Belmont swept the next three events, the 100 butterfly, 100 freestlye and 500 free, despite second place finishes by Ben Fiesel (100 butterly), Jack Steinberg (100 free) and Sam Foley (500 free). Melrose fell to a deficit of 78-54 after another relay but earned first place spots that narrowed the gap at 86-70 and 82-80 thanks to a winning swim by Joe Connolly in the 100 back, a second place finish Hudson Rubbins in the 100 breaststroke and a first place win by their relay team of Joe Connolly, Justin Hori, Jack Steinberg and Ben Fiesel. The end was a closer than preferred 86-82 finish by Belmont, who will be sure not to take Melrose lightly next season.
After the meet, coach Richard Whitworth credited his team’s fine performance. “You know, we didn’t have Kyle [Vanderhorst] swimming, he was out today and had he been available we probably would have beaten them by a few points. But what, can you do? I’m just very happy with how they are swimming.”
Melrose will compete in the Middlesex League meet on Thursday (post deadline). Information on post season swimming meets will be forthcoming.