Rhys Johnstone

Rhys Johnstone

WESTERLY — Rhys Johnstone was a standout for the Westerly High boys swim team in and out of the pool this past season.

In the water, the senior placed second at the state meet in two individual events, the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, to earn second-team All-State honors.

He was also named to the All-Division I second team in both events — at the D-I championships, he was first in the 100 back and third in the 50 free.

"He really had a phenomenal season," said Bulldogs coach Thomas Weissmuller, who also coaches Johnstone on the Ocean Community YMCA Dolphins team. "His stroke is incredibly effective. His reflexes are unmatched — he's usually the first guy off the block."

Johnstone was a close second in the 50 free at states. His time was 21.73, while the winner, Barrington's Ethan O'Connor, finished in 21.41.

In the 100 back, Johnstone's time was 51.91, a school record.

But Johnstone, a team captain, did more than swim for the Bulldogs.

"He put in the work and did a great job with leadership. He led the guys really well," Weissmuller said. "He's really a compassionate guy, too. There were a couple guys on the team with autism and he was constantly with them, helping them, attending to them on the bus.

"He shined in the pool, and everyone can see that. But what they don't see is that he shines as a human being."

The Bulldogs finished ninth at the state meet and fourth at the Division I meet.

During the league season, they were 6-1, losing only to Portsmouth.

"It was a very successful year," Weissmuller said. "The Portsmouth team that did beat us, they are a very dominant team. We knew they were gonna be very competitive. Unfortunately, we didn't have the depth of speed that they had."


Westerly's Burke earns second-Team D-II honors

WESTERLY — Westerly High's Jessica Burke earned second-team Division II honors for the girls swimming team this season.

Burke received the honor after placing second in the 100 butterfly at the D-II meet in February.

Westerly finished sixth in the meet and was 13th at the state meet. The Bulldogs finished 6-2 during the league season.

— Keith Kimberlin contributed to this report

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