EAST PROVIDENCE — With four events remaining in the Division II boys swimming title meet, Westerly High was in a bit of a bind.
The Bulldogs trailed North Providence by 12 points and any hope the team had of winning the title required them to split up their two teams in the 200 freestyle relay. The move would put some of their top swimmers on each relay team.
Westerly needed to finish first and second in the relay and, later, do the same in the 400 freestyle relay. Splitting the teams was its only hope of defeating the Cougars and winning the meet.
"We could have won each relay [without splitting the teams]. But we divided them trying to get a one-two [finish], which would have given us the [meet] win," Bulldogs coach Thomas Weismuller said.
Instead, North Providence won the 4x200 and wiped out any chance Westerly had, and the Cougars went on to defeat the Bulldogs, 54-40, for the D-II title on Saturday at the Pods Aquatic Center.
"When we lost the 200 free relay, our meet was effectively over," Weismuller said. "We couldn't score enough points after that."
Westerly's Madigan Hiltz won two events and set a school record in the 200 individual medley. His time of 2:04.91 broke the previous record of 2:05.61 established by Logan Hellwig in 2011.
Hiltz also won the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.91.
"I definitely knew [the record] was possible," Hiltz said. "I've been swimming with coach Tom for four years so I've gotten pretty close with him, and if he tells you you can go out and break a record, beat a time, at this point I'm pretty sure I can. I trust him.
"It feels good to get that, but I just wish we could have gone a little further as a team."
North Providence's depth proved too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
"North Providence has a good program; you have to give them props," Hiltz, a senior, said. "They swam well today. I'm not upset with how our team performed, though. Pretty proud of our guys. Moving forward I think they are going to have a good team."
Luke Donato added a victory for the Bulldogs in the 100 freestyle in 54.03. He finished second in the 200 freestyle. His time was unavailable.
"That was my best race of the season for the 100 free," Donato, a sophomore, said. "All my races I had personal records, so I was happy with that. I was happy I was able to get a win in there.
"We all worked so hard, so it's a shame we didn't win. But I was happy with how everyone did."
Donato said the season has been challenging due to coronavirus restrictions.
"We haven't been able to do as much as we normally would, but I thought we did really well considering everything," Donato said. "I thought we had a really good year.
North Providence, which finished the season 9-0, won nine of the meet's 11 events.
"It was a great season. Our hats are off to the Cougars because they had great depth and great speed. They really had a great season themselves," Weismuller said.
The Cougars moved up to Division II this season after winning the D-III title last year. They were the only team to beat Westerly (8-2) in the dual-meet season, winning by two points, 48-46, on Feb. 8.
Other scorers for Westerly included the following:
• Brayden Champlin finished second in the 100 butterfly (1:01.17) and the 50 freestyle (24.58).
• Greg Hopkins finished second in the 100 backstroke (1:07.08) and third in the 50 freestyle (25.73).
• Jack Kenyon was second in the 500 freestyle (5:53.50).
• The 400 freestyle relay team of Champlin, Donato, Hopkins and Hiltz finished first in 3:43.5.
• The 200 medley relay team of Jack Healy, Dominick Lombard, Elias Orphanides and Nathaniel Guilmette placed third.
• The 200 freestyle relay team of Champlin, Lombard, Hopkins and Donato finished second in 1:42.66, and Orphanides, Healy, Kenyon and Hiltz placed third in the same event in 1:50.44.