PROVIDENCE — Chariho High sophomore Hannah Benavides was the top local girls swimmer, with a second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke at the state championship meet Saturday afternoon at Brown University's Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center.
Benavides finished in 1:05.13, less than half a second behind the winning time of 1:04.76 by Kelsa Dator of East Greenwich. It was one of the most exciting races of the day for those outside of the pool.
“I couldn't see her at all,” Benavides said after the meet, laughing. “I was just trying to finish strong for the last 25 [yards], and to use my arms to push along.”
Benavides also got on the podium with a fourth-place finish in the 200 individual medley (2:11.27), cutting her seed time by a second. Benavides competes as an individual in Rhode Island meets because Chariho doesn't field a girls team, but she practices daily with the Connecticut Aquatic Club in Groton.
“I really love all my teammates there,” she said.
With one championship performance out of the way, Benavides will compete in another Sunday. She skipped the first day of her club championship competition to compete at the state meet.
Burke sisters, Gomes, relays earn points for Bulldogs
The Westerly girls swimming team set two school records, and sophomores Jenna Burke, Jessica Burke and Melanie Gomes earned points in individual events on Saturday.
As a team, the Bulldogs finished with 52 points, good for 13th place. Coach Jim Knapp said he was hoping for a top-10 finish, but noted that it's tough for a smaller team like Westerly to rack up points.
“Our medley relay set a new school record today, so we're pretty happy about that,” he said. “That was a good time for us.”
In the 200 medley relay, the ninth-place finish — in a record time of 1:56.81 — was turned in by the Burke sisters, Gomes and senior Timmary Main. Gomes had the best individual performance of the meet, finishing eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.71)
Jessica Burke took 11th in the 100 butterfly in 1:01.44, a school record, and 14th in the 500 freestyle (5:44.49). Jenna Burke finished 15th in the 50 freestyle (26.24) and 100 backstroke (1:04.18). Westerly's 400 freestyle relay team (the Burke sisters, Gomes and sophomore Grace Armstrong) finished in 4:04.77, good for a 12th.
Knapp noted that most of the points were scored by sophomores, and as a result, he was hoping to build on this year's success.
“We have a lot of young kids, so hopefully next year we'll be more improved and be a better team,” he said.