When the Pilgrim and Warwick Vets girls’ swim teams got together on Thursday, both teams knew it wouldn’t be overly competitive on the scoreboard.
With the ’Canes just improving and battling through low numbers and the Pats competing to get toward the top half of the Division III standings, the meet played out the way it should have. Pilgrim won 37-19, winning every event of the day in the process.
The Pats got two wins apiece from Casey Adams and Taylor Ryan, and McKenzie Caron and Sophia Caracuzzo each won an event as well.
“I’m very pleased,” Pilgrim head coach Nisa San Giovanni said. “They work hard. They swim for other private clubs as well. They’re a great bunch of kids to be around, so it’s been a fun year so far.”
Vets had only six girls racing on the day, with Phone Htoo, Alyssa Flanagan, Laura Paulin and Kristen Pestana leading the way.
“We have kids that are sick,” Vets head coach Tamra Gallo said. “We’ve got one that’s injured. It’s a small team, but they’re terrific girls. They work hard and they’re a pleasure to be around.”
The Pats are now 3-3 overall, while Vets is 1-4. Pilgrim was riding high coming in, as it had defeated Tolman the day before 54-38.
Right away, the Pats took control against the ’Canes. The team of Ryan, Caracuzzo, Caron and Adams won the 200 medley relay, and Caracuzzo won the 200 freestyle. Ryan followed with a win in the 200 individual medley and Adams won the 50 free.
“We have a core group of swimmers. Abby Slater, Taylor Ryan, Sophia Caracuzzo, Mackenzie Caron, Casey Adams,” San Giovanni said. “We have a good group of kids.”
Ryan came back to capture the 100 fly, with Caron taking the 100 free and Adams winning the 500 free. Vets didn’t have swimmers to fill the 200 free relay, the 100 back and the 400 free relay, but did get a second-place finish from Htoo in the 100 breaststroke down the stretch.
“Phone is here everyday,” Gallo said. “Really hard worker. She wants to get better.
The Pats swam the final four races of the day as exhibitions, with Ryan, Jasmine Tuscani, Caracuzzo and Caron winning the 200 free relay, Jazeon Johnson winning the 100 back and Caron taking the 100 breast, but those races went in the books as being uncontested.
It was a positive performance across the board, especially with Abby Slater – one of the team’s top swimmers – being out sick.
“Everybody has improved actually,” San Giovanni said. “Everybody is improving and we’ve got kids trying different races. That’s great for divisionals. The more kids we have willing to try stuff, the more spaces we can fill.”
Vets has seen improvement too. When the season started, the team had just three swimmers on the roster and is now up to eight. Though the wins aren’t piling up, the times are coming down and the girls are learning the ropes.
“Times are coming down,” Gallo said. “We’re working on different strokes. At the beginning of the season most of them could only do freestyle. We’re getting the breaststroke and the backstroke. We’re starting the fly. It’s good.”
The regular season is nearly over for both teams, with Pilgrim having three meets left beginning today against Middletown at McDermott at 5:30 p.m. Vets has four meets left, with one scheduled for Monday against North Providence with the results unavailable at press time. On Friday, Vets will be at Tolman at 4 p.m.
The regular season wraps up on Feb. 6, with the Division III meet soon after on Feb. 9 at Roger Williams. Pilgrim will be looking to peak at that time and hopefully get itself in the mix, while also qualifying a few of its swimmers for the state meet.
“The kids are just building for the divisionals,” San Giovanni said. “You want to be doing your best at the end of the season so that you can try to get some points at the divisionals. Every week they get better.”