THE WAKEFIELD HIGH girls’ swim team had another great season last year, although it was very different as meets were held virtually. The Warriors will get back to competing against opponents in the same pool and will also welcome back fans this season. (File Photo)
By DAN BYRNE
WAKEFIELD — With COVID-19 restrictions loosened this year, family members and spectators will once again be able to witness the Wakefield Memorial High School girls’ swim team live, in-person at Malden High for home meets.
Like so many things last year, swim meets went virtual with each team competing in empty pool arenas and submitting individual time sheets to compare. This year it’s back to in-person, head-to-head competition.
Warriors’ head coach Kathy Byrne spoke recently about who she’ll be featuring in her lineups this year.
For a Warrior team that has seen many tremendous swimmers come through the program recently, this group will have the benefit of experienced leadership in the form of their seniors and two captains.
“We have two great seniors as captains this year: Katie Patt and Abby Lane. They are good leaders for the team as well as very good swimmers,” coach Byrne said.
As far as what events we might see them feature in, coach Byrne mentioned their ability to do it all.
“Butterfly, backstroke, IM, and they’ll both do anything we ask them to do.”
But for Coach Byrne and her assistants Kim Guay and Frank Lee, they won’t just be looking to those two for leadership in – as well as out of – the pool.
“We’re going to ask a lot from our seniors this year,” Byrne mentioned as she began to list off her 11 seniors, making up more than half the roster.
“They’re very versatile, this group, so it’s nice that we can interchange so much.”
“Emily Chan will be a breaststroker/backstroker,” Byrne said, “She is an all-around good swimmer. She will be someone we rely upon to fill different events. Maria Brizon is back and will be helping out with backstroke and free style. Sam Sheedy will swim in freestyle events. The Federici twins, Emily and Hannah will contribute in the relays, especially the freestyle relays. Hannah Morris will swim distance in the 500 and 200 Free, we’re looking forward to seeing her compete in those events this year, we know she will contribute.”
Another senior who could see success this season is Sophie Brown.
“Sophie Brown is so versatile she is able to swim just about any event,” her coach said. “She is always excelling at the 200 and 500 Free. She’s such a great kid to have on the team with her ‘can-do’ attitude, always,” Byrne added.
Gymnastics captain and sister of former swim team captain, Molly Grady, is a new member of the team as a senior.
“Her sister Shannon was the captain a few years ago, so she decided to come out and we’re hoping she can contribute to our lineup,” Byrne said.
Coach Byrne went on to talk about some of the non-senior members of the team.
“We’re hoping to see some good stuff from sophomore Mackenzie Grace. She is looking really strong. I know how hard she worked over the summer.”
“We have a big class of rookies, so we’ll be waiting to shake it out and see who rises to the top,” Byrne said of the newest team members. “Freshman Audrey Cook is looking like a very strong swimmer and we’re looking for some great things to come from her.”
There was one unfortunate development over the summer as one star swimmer will not be seen in the pool this year.
“Katie Patt is returning as an All-Conference swimmer,” Byrne said, “The only other All-Conference swimmer returning this season was to be Grace McKinnon, however she unfortunately will be unable to swim this year after suffering an injury over the summer.”
The Wakefield swim team returns to the pool with their first meet against Lexington today, 4:30 p.m. at Atkinson Swimming Pool in Sudbury.