By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE — Coming off a season in which they compiled their best record in five years, the Melrose High boys’ swim team has created a blueprint for the program in which to build on success. They currently return with most of their starters from last season, some year-round swimmers who’ve turned the program around.
Melrose saw a revival in 2013-14, sending five athletes to Sectionals and States and compiling a record of 4-5, their best in nearly half a decade. It’s a steady climb up but last year the team enjoyed unexpected victories over opponents such as Burlington and Lowell. The Raiders kicked off their season on Dec. 19 at the Reading YMCA and, while taking a loss against an always strong Rocket squad, Melrose compiled 75 points in the 86-75 loss, which speaks volumes about their abilities to contend with the best.
Competing for Melrose this season are Joe Connolly, Hudson Rubbins, Jack Steinberg, Joe Brach, Ian Brophy, Sean Cady, Collin Coyne, Addison Dowell, James Dwyer, Ben Fiesel, Sam Foley, Andrew Fox, Justin Hori, Duncan Leitz, Will McCarthy, Connor McDaid, Colin Mullane, Brian Murphy, Geoffrey Rowe, Tom Steinberg and Kyle Vanderhorst.
This year’s senior captains are Jack Steinberg and Hudson Rubbins.
Last year Melrose saw much success behind the swimming of Rubbins, Connolly, Fiesel and Steinberg, among others. All three are back and ready to pick up where they left off. Rubbins is a multi-talented, year round swimmer with a strong breaststroke and backstroke; Fiesel, a league All Star, excels in sprints and distance events including the butterfly. Connolly took out competition last season in the 100 backstroke and earned All Star honors for it, and Steinberg is a Middlesex League All Star with various specialties, including strong IM’s and breaststroke. Fiesel, Connolly and Rubbins were also part of the team’s strong 200 medley relay team, who stunned many teams last season when they swam their way to State appearance last February. Both Connolly and Fiesel qualified for States in individual events.
For those who’d like to see the team up close, they will be hosting meets at their home facility at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter pool facility on Eastern Avenue in Malden. Melrose hits the road to Lexington on Monday for a 6 p.m. meet. Their next home meet is on January 23 against Belmont at 4:30 p.m.