Westerly girls swimming

Westerly senior swimmers Emma Turano, Paige Caron and Olivia Lund. Photo courtesy Terry Hiltz.

Head coach: Jim Knapp (fifth season). Assistant coach: Terry Hiltz.

Last year: Westerly finished 9-2 and lost to Classical in the Division II finals.

Returning to varsity:

Seniors: Paige Caron, Olivia Lund (captain), Emma Turano (captain). Juniors: London Armitage, Sofia Cozzolino, Sophia Martino.

New to varsity:

Freshmen: Abbey Donato, Makenzie Gabriele, Penelope Nicolas.

Outlook: With only nine swimmers on the team, it will be an unusual season for the Bulldogs.

“We aren’t going to be able to score a lot of points and we are going to have to approach it differently this year,” Knapp said.

Knapp said most of the Division II teams will have between 20-35 swimmers. Swimmers are limited to four events per meet and a team can only enter two swimmers in a race. The math does not work in Westerly’s favor.

“It’s going to be a different kind of season. We have a good group of kids. We want to make sure they progress as swimmers and that we support each other,” Knapp said.

Armitage is Westerly’s top swimmer.

“She is the most versatile swimmer we have,” Knapp said. “She can swim everything and she is good in everything. She is strongest in the backstroke.”

Donato will also contribute for the Bulldogs.

“She’s doing a pretty good job. She is really strong in the butterfly,” Knapp said.

He said the team’s returning swimmers are solid, and Gabriele (backstroke) and Nicolas (breaststroke) will contribute as freshmen.

Knapp said he is uncertain why the roster number is down this year. The team does draw from the Ocean Community YMCA team.

“I don’t really know what happened,” Knapp said. “We have really good swimmers come out of that program. And the future looks good. Part of it maybe the carryover from COVID.”

Coach’s take: “This year we have to focus on something different. We don’t quite have the depth and skill level of the past. We are going to have to figure out how to support each other and find joy and gratification in what we are doing as a team.”

— Keith Kimberlin

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