Head coach: Thomas Weissmuller (fourth season). Assistant coach: Terry Hiltz.
Last year: Westerly finished 5-3 in the dual meet season, 10th at the Division I meet and 10th at states
Returning to varsity:
Seniors: Nate Guilmette, Madigan Hiltz (captain), Jack Healy. Juniors: Brayden Champlin, Greg Hopkins, Elias Orphanides. Sophomore: Luke Donato.
New to varsity:
Junior: Elias Orphanides. Sophomore: Dom Lombard. Freshman: Jack Kenyon.
Outlook: Westerly returns Hiltz, who is one of the better freestylers in the state.
He finished third in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free at the state meet.
Donato, Champlin and Hopkins will join Hiltz as the top four swimmers on the team. The quartet can swim all four strokes and will comprise a number of the relays.
Hiltz, Champlin and Hopkins were part of the 400 free relay that placed 10th at the state meet.
Others will also contribute in various races.
All of the team’s races will be virtual with teams swimming in their own pools and submitting their times to the RIIL. But there can be delays. The results from the first meet on Monday are still unknown because one of the teams will not be able to swim for some time due to COVID-19 issues.
Swimming without competitors from other teams in the pool does present some challenges.
“We try to get the guys to imagine there is a competitor just one stroke ahead of them. They keep going and not ease up,” Weissmuller said. “But that does have an effect. You see in the relays particularly. It’s hard to get up emotionally. They try to compete with each other and beat each other’s splits.”
Coach’s take: “We want them to have the most fun and pursue their favorite race. We want to try to achieve their goal in that favorite race and everyone is willing to swim anything. I’ve never coaches a more supportive and compassionate group. They are exceptionally kind to one another. I think it has something to do with just being happy to be out there.”