Times not always judge for ’Canes

Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2022 8:48:52 PM
Modified: 1/14/2022 8:47:59 PM

TURNERS FALLS — While the Amherst swim team might not have had its best times of the season during Friday’s meet against Turners, it was still a successful meet for the Hurricanes. 

The Amherst boys won all but one race to pull away with a 75-10 victory while the Hurricane girls had the winner in each event to earn a 74-19 triumph over the Thunder. 

“Every meet where we’re mentally prepared for it and cheering each other on is a good meet for us,” Amherst’s Sara Baxter said. “These weren’t our best times of the season but we had great energy and were cheering each other on. We had fun so I think it was a good meet.” 

Baxter came away with a first place finish in the 200 free (2:17.00). She also won the 200 free relay along with Rowan Albertson, Adda Hennessey and Lucy Smith as well as the 400 free relay with Smith, Hennessey and Deborah Wells. 

The relay team of Albertson, Wells, Smith and Hennessey took first in the 200 medley relay to close out a sweep in the relays for the Hurricanes. The medley team has its eyes set on the top prize in Western Mass. this year. 

“Our medley relay, we’re hoping to win that at Western Mass.,” Baxter said. “We got first in 2019 but got disqualified. We’re looking for a little comeback.”

Six other Amherst girls came away with individual wins on Friday. Finnley Chambers took the 200 IM (2:39.28), Wells won the 50 free (29.12) and 500 free (5:48.35), Hennessey tallied a victory in the 100 fly (1:10.95), Smith won the 100 free (1:00.44), Sophie Ziomek cruised to a win in the 100 back (1:13.76) and Jayce Lanzafame earned first in the 100 breaststroke (1:40.87). 

After not having a season last year, the Hurricanes are enjoying being back in the pool and competing against other schools. The goal now is to continue to rack up qualifying times for the postseason. 

“It’s super fun to be back with all my friends,” Baxter said. “It’s my senior season so it’s nice. I swim club but getting more ready for college swimming. It’s different and I like it a lot. A lot of us are trying to qualify for Western Mass. and states. A personal goal of mine is to break the 100 back record. My personal best is better but I have to do that in season.”

The Amherst boys had similar success to the girls, with six Hurricanes taking first in their individual events. 

Jacob Laney kicked things off with a victory in the 200 free (2:03.57), Sam Kennedy won the 200 IM (2:18.60), Richard Guerron took the 50 free (25.60) and 100 backstroke (1:09.76), Grant Donta-Venman came out on top in the 100 fly (1:12.31), Evander Maradiaga was the first to the finish line in the 500 free (5:37.80) and Callum McDonald won the 100 breast (1:08.80). 

Maradiaga, McDonald, Kennedy and Guerron won the 200 medley relay, McDonald, Laney, Donta-Venman and Kennedy took the 200 freestyle relay and Laney, Donta-Venman, Eli Laney and Guerron took first in the 400 free relay. 

“The temperature of the water wasn’t preferable,” McDonald said. “We were a little cold. We toughed through it and swam fast. High school swimming is a different experience. It’s nice to be back in the water with people I don’t usually swim with.” 

While swimmers like McDonald have already qualified for states in certain events, the goal the rest of the season is to be able to compete in more events at the state tournament. 

“My goal is to make states in the 100 fly,” McDonald said. “I have the 5 free and 200 free so far but I do really want to make the 100 fly because I know I can make that.” 


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