BRISTOL — Two school records were broken, and a lot of personal records were set by the Westerly High girls swim team on Saturday at the Division II championships at Roger Williams University.
Many of those results produced points for the Bulldogs, who finished sixth in the 10-team meet with 196 points. Bay View won the Division II title with 366, while Cumberland (299.5) and Moses Brown (270) rounded out the top three.
“We did very well. The kids’ times were better than we expected and we set two school records today,” Westerly coach Jim Knapp said. “We’re happy. The kids had good times … and overall, we had a really good day.”
Jessica Burke broke the school record in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1 minute, 1.44 seconds to finish second, while fellow sophomore Melanie Gomes set a new mark in the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.74 and came in third.
“I was kind of nervous, because I knew there were girls really close to my time, and I wanted to pace off of them so I could get the record,” Gomes said of the breaststroke. “It ended up working really well. Last year, I had a weird touch and I missed the record, and this year, I also had a weird touch, but I still got it. So I was really excited that I still had not the best finish that I wanted to and I still was able to put up a good time.”
Knapp likened Gomes’ “weird touch” to a hurdler’s steps being just a bit off as she approached a hurdle.
“Usually, looking at the pool, you can plan out your strokes into the wall so it’s a nice medium touch, where you’re not stretching out or too close,” Gomes explained. “Mine was a little too close, so I was afraid that, with the extra stroke, I added too much time.”
Burke’s seed time for the butterfly was 1:03.37, and she bettered that by nearly two full seconds to break her own school record.
“I felt good,” she said, adding that she was trying for a time around 1:01 or 1:02.
“She had a big smile on her face when she saw the 1:01 up there,” Knapp added.
Burke also finished fourth in the 500 free (5:45.44) and was part of Westerly’s 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams, both of which took fourth place. The 200 medley team of Burke, twin sister Jenna Burke, Gomes and Myranda Johnstone finished in 1:58.08, while the Burke sisters, Gomes and Grace Armstrong swam the 400 free relay in 4:05.25.
Jenna Burke was sixth in the 100 backstroke (1:04.04) and third in the 50 free (26.07). Armstrong was 10th (28.37) and Timmary Main 14th (28.94) in the 50 free.
Gomes took third in the 100 free (57.19), a race Lincoln School’s Sonia Mlakar won in 55.01.
Other scorers for Westerly were Jordan Allen in the 200 individual medley (2:50.99) and 100 breaststroke (1:26.60), Lindsey Pride in the 500 free (7:00.11), and Kata Cummings in the breaststroke (1:27.50). The Bulldogs finished ninth in the 200 freestyle relay with the team of Armstrong, Johnstone, Allen and Emma Turano.
“Lindsey Pride had personal bests in both of her races (500 free, butterfly) and really did a good job. She was really excited today,” Knapp said of the junior. “Kata Cummings did a personal best in the 100 breaststroke, Jordan Allen had a personal best in the IM, I think Timmary Main did a personal best in the 50 free and our medley relay was very good today.”
The Bulldogs can now set their sights on the state meet, Feb. 23 at Brown University.
“We got 11th last year, and we’ll probably end up in ninth place this year. I think we’ll get top 10,” Knapp said. “There’s some really good teams here, and at states, the Division I teams are pretty good. … But, in swimming, you’re always looking at your times, because that’s the only thing you can control. You can’t control anything else.”