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Meriza Werenski, Jessica Harper swim to two state titles

  • Erin Voss of Northampton High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Erin Voss of Northampton High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Meriza Werenski of Holyoke Catholic High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Meriza Werenski of Holyoke Catholic High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Maela Whitcomb of Northampton High School swims in the 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Maela Whitcomb of Northampton High School swims in the 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Samantha Synan of Belchertown High School swims in the Women's 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Samantha Synan of Belchertown High School swims in the Women's 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Samantha Synan of Belchertown High School swims in the Women's 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Samantha Synan of Belchertown High School swims in the Women's 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Julia Maloof of Belchertown High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Julia Maloof of Belchertown High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Julia Maloof of Belchertown High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Julia Maloof of Belchertown High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Claire Nauman of Belchertown High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Claire Nauman of Belchertown High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Erin Voss of Northampton High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

    Erin Voss of Northampton High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.

    SARAH CROSBY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Erin Voss of Northampton High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Meriza Werenski of Holyoke Catholic High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Maela Whitcomb of Northampton High School swims in the 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Samantha Synan of Belchertown High School swims in the Women's 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Samantha Synan of Belchertown High School swims in the Women's 200 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Julia Maloof of Belchertown High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Julia Maloof of Belchertown High School swims in the 200 yard IM final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Claire Nauman of Belchertown High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY
  • Erin Voss of Northampton High School swims in the 100 yard freestyle final of the State 2 Division swim championships, held at Springfield College on Saturday, February 16, 2013.<br/><br/>SARAH CROSBY

And Northampton freshman Erin Voss led her team to a second-place finish in Division 2 in a strong finish to the first year of her high school career.

In Division 1, Easthampton junior Jessica Harper won two state championships.

Werenski won the 200-yard individual medley in 2 minutes, 6.92 seconds and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.79), her sixth and seventh career state championships. She was the top qualifier in both races after a pair of wins in the unsanctioned Western Massachusetts Swimming Championship Meet on Monday.

“For me it’s never been about winning, “ Werenski said. “It’s more about my times and my times were the same or better (than last year) and that’s what I was aiming for.”

In the 200-yard medley, Werenski and Megan Pierce of Wayland were even for the first 100 yards, but Werenski pulled away in the final 25 yards to win by 1.38 seconds.

“I really wanted to go out fast in the first half of the race, because that’s my weaker part, and then bring it home in the breaststroke and the freestyle,” said Werenski.

She started well in the 100-yard breaststroke and touched the wall 1.59 seconds faster than Molly Pierce of Wayland.

“I just knew I had to take it out fast and bring it home fast,” said Werenski.

Overall, Holyoke Catholic placed fifth in the team competition, despite racing with a small squad.

“I was surprised,” said Werenski of her team’s finish. “That’s pretty high up there for only having five girls.”

The Gaels earned a pair of top-five finishes in the relay events — fourth in the 200-yard medley relay and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle medley relay.

Individually for Holyoke Catholic , Delaney Dyjak placed third in the 50-yard freestyle and sixth in the 100-yard freestyle, and Kristyn Popowski was fifth in the 500-yard butterfly and fourth in the 500-yard freestyle.

“We’ve got five swimmers – two freshmen, one junior and two seniors – and they all did really well,” said Gaels coach George Plouffe.

Werenski now moves on to swim for the University of Massachusetts Amherst next year. Besides the seven state titles, she was 8-0 in sectional championship events during her career.

“It feels really weird to know that you’re done … time just flies,” said Werenski.

Northampton second

Voss played a key role in Northampton’s second-place overall finish with a win in the 500-yard freestyle (5:00.08), and second in the 100-yard freestyle (53.44).

The Blue Devils, who won Monday’s sectional event, accumulated 213 points, but finished a distant second to Wayland (340.5) in team competition.

Voss earned a thrilling victory by .16 seconds in the final lap of the 500-yard freestyle over Olivia Jameson of Bedford.

And Voss finished second in the 100-yard freestyle behind Longmeadow freshman Jerrica Li.

“I’m very pleased with her performance,” Northampton coach James Hirtle said. “She had a beautiful 500 (freestyle), her 100 freestyle was very solid and she anchored two very strong relays for us.”

Northampton excelled in the relay events, taking second in the 400-yard freestyle, and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle.

Other than Voss, Maela Whitcomb was the only Blue Devil with a top-five finish as she took fifth in the 200-yard freestyle

“I am just thrilled,” said Hirtle, whose team had its best performance at the state championships in his eight years as coach. “We had a couple poor races, but everyone has those, and for the most part we were on today.”

Abbie Crescitelli and Katie Helly, Northampton’s top divers, finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the one-meter dive.

Division 1

Harper won both her state titles by defeating Katherine O’Shea of Lincoln Sudbury.

Harper, the top qualifier in both her races, narrowly won the 50-yard freestyle, finishing in 24.18 seconds which was just .03 seconds faster than O’Shea.

Harper beat out O’Shea again in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 52.25 seconds.

“I did what I came here to do,” said Harper, who had one first and one second-place finish in the sectional event. “I’m more concerned with times than placing, and I got my best time in both events … winning is just a bonus.”

Belchertown’s Bryanna Veroneau placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle (54.32) and sixth in 200-yard freestyle (1:58.77), and South Hadley’s Sabree Thomas took fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (59.91) and fifth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:15.94).

Boys Division 2

Colin Machat broke a 28-year old school record for the Northampton boys swimming team at the state D-2 boys championship meet Sunday at Harvard University in Cambridge.

Machat, a senior, placed second overall in the 200-free (1:45.19).

“He had his eye on that record,” Northampton coach Steve Constantine said. “It was great that on one of his last swims he could get that.”

Northampton placed 11th overall with 68 points.

Weston High School (299 points) won the event for 12th time in 15 years.

Machat added a third-place finish in the 100-year freestyle (48.09).

The Blue Devils got two 11th place finishes from Reeves Connolly in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.

Northampton’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Machat, Connolly, James Connolly and Aidan Winn placed seventh (1:33.89).

For Amherst Regional (sixth overall, 107 points) the 400-yard freestyle relay team also broke a school record, while placing seventh.

Ciaran Dillon-Davidson, Marc Klepacki, Alan Tang and Eric Chen finished in 4:25.22.

“That’s a young group,” Amherst coach Keith McFarland said. “I’m expecting big things from them in the future.”

Dillon-Davidson finished second in the 100-yard butterfly (52.38) and third in the 200-yard freestyle (1:45.25).

Klepacki placed ninth in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, while Tang had a 12th-place performance in the 100-yard breaststroke for Amherst.

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