EAST PROVIDENCE — For the Westerly High girls swim team, losing to Classical in the Division II championship meet boiled down to one fact.

The Purple were just a lot better, and Westerly could not overcome their superior depth and talent.

Classical took first place in eight of the 11 events en route to its 58-36 victory Sunday at Pods Aquatic Center. Westerly (9-2) only outscored Classical (10-0-1) in one race, the 200 freestyle relay.

Both Westerly losses this season came against Classical.

"We lost because they were a better team," Westerly coach Jim Knapp said. "They are a very good team. I’m happy to be here, a little disappointed with a loss, but we lost to a very good team."

Westerly senior Melanie Gomes finished first in the 200 freestyle (2:10.99) and was second in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.03).

Gomes swam a leg in the opening 200 medley relay before entering the pool for the 200.

"Normally, in other meets we have a little more break time, so I was little tired from the medley relay," Gomes said. "So this meet being more fast paced put pressure on our swimming in general.

"I knew if I started out fast and got ahead of the girl from Classical, then I know I could keep that lead."

Gomes won the race by a comfortable 8.35 seconds.

"In our freshman year we were runner-up in the division meet. We came full circle and came back to a top-tier level of competing," Gomes said. "It was just great to be here today, and I'm just thankful I had the opportunity."

Fellow senior Jenna Burke placed first in the 50 freestyle (26.99) and was second in the 100 freestyle (1:01.05). She won the 50 by 1.18 seconds

"I focused on my breathing and not burying my head," she said. "I think I did a good job of that today. Other than that, I didn't really think about too much. It was a 50; I just did it. I was motivated and confident."

Like Gomes, Burke was happy to have the opportunity given the rigors created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think we came together as a team well," Burke said. "We were just motivated. We worked as hard as we could. We all improved our times. It was a weird year, but we all got to swim and that is what is important."

For Gomes and Burke, whose grandfather is coach Knapp, it was their final swim meet for Westerly.

"I will probably remember how much cheering we did for each other," Gomes said, "and how we picked each other up after every single loss and win. It didn't matter what we were doing, we did it as a team.

"And I think I really got to learn about loving and supporting a family. I may not have had the opportunity to experience that if I chose not to swim."

Burke, whose twin sister Jessica also swims, said she will miss cheering with and for her teammates.

"Being with people who have the same competitive mindset, it does feel like a big family," Burke said. "I will remember being surrounded by people I've known forever."

Westerly also won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:50.30. The Burke sisters, Gomes and London Armitage comprised the first-place team.

Westerly was also awarded third place in the 200 free relay when a Classical relay team was disqualified. Emma Turano, Paige Caron, Elena Murdock and Sofia Cozzolino combined to finish in 2:09.49 to receive third place.

Jessica Burke finished second in the 100 butterfly (1:01.05) and the 500 freestyle (5:48.47).

Armitage was second in the 200 backstroke (1:10.44) and third in the 200 individual medley (2:31.02). Jenni Pringer took third (1:28.07) in the 200 backstroke.

Westerly's 200 medley relay team of the Burkes, Gomes and Armitage placed second in 1:58.02.

Turano, Murdock, Cozzolino and Caron finished third in the 400 freestyle relay (4:47.22).

Westerly was missing one swimmer due to issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm extremely happy that the RIIL and our own administration in the school brainstormed to come up with this," Knapp said. "We are all so thankful. The kids are thankful. If you heard anybody talk bad about this format, they are crazy. It was a godsend for everybody. We are just happy to be here."

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