None of Warwick’s swim teams had much dual meet success this year, so they were all happy to dive in at the annual city championship meet on Thursday.
Toll Gate ended up happiest of all.
The Titans took first place in 10 of 11 events to win the title. They racked up 131 points, while Pilgrim totaled 85 and Vets finished with 44.
“It was a good day,” said Toll Gate head coach Mike Seidenberg. “Coming down to the end of the year, it was good for us to be able to do this. We’ve had a tough dual meet season so it’s nice to have a win. The girls enjoyed it, and they seemed to come together.”
Toll Gate went 2-5 in Division II this season. Pilgrim and Vets, both D-III teams, went 2-6 and 1-7 respectively in league action.
While the Titans don’t have much depth, their strength at the top was the major difference between them and their city rivals. The Titans got first-place finishes from Emily Smith, Molly Turner, Mikayla Rogers, Mackenzie Kelly and Nina Yu. Each of their three relay teams also took first.
“Everyone looks forward to this meet,” said Rogers, who won the 100 butterfly. “It’s kind of like the last hurrah. It was a great way to end the season.”
Pilgrim finished second in seven events, and head coach Nisa San Giovanni was happy to see several of her swimmers set personal bests.
“The result is what we generally expected. Toll Gate is a strong D-II program,” San Giovanni said. “They had five to six events with state qualifiers, so we knew we weren’t going to beat them. But we had a couple of kids hit their personal bests today, and that’s what you hope for at this point in the season.”
Vets was led by junior Katie Evans, the only swimmer who could keep Toll Gate from a clean sweep of first-place finishes. Evans won the 200 I.M., leading the way for a young team that continues to show improvement.
“Any time we can get an extra meet, it benefits the progression of the girls,” said head coach Shon Campbell. “They had a lot of fun today, and many of the girls continued to better their times. All in all, it’s just a great event for the girls.”
Toll Gate started the meet with a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay. Yu, Kelly, Rogers and Smith teamed up to finish in 2:31.50. Pilgrim’s team of Courtney Smith, McKenzie Caron, Taylor Ryan and Casey Adams took second, with Vets’ Laura Paulin, Michaela Sczuroski, Alyssa Flanagan and Evans taking third.
Smith then won the 200 freestyle for the Titans in 2:56.59, ahead of Pilgrim’s Brenna Reeves. Sczuroski took third, Toll Gate’s Meg Gilbar was fourth, Pilgrim’s Jessica Pope took fifth and Flanagan took sixth for Vets.
Evans then won the 200 I.M., finishing in 2:47.63 to beat Kelly and Ryan.
“Katie is a great swimmer, and she’s had an awesome season,” Campbell said.
After the 200 I.M., the Titans continued to flex their muscles. Turner and Rachel Yorston went one-two in the 50 free, Rogers bested Evans and Ryan in the 100 fly, and Kelly and Yu went one-two in the 100 free. Those performances helped the Titans open up a 21-point lead on second-place Pilgrim.
The Pats got a three-four finish from Adams and Rosario Romare in the 50 free, and a three-four from Caron and Caitlin Pope in the 100 free. Vets had Paulin and Karissa Smith finish fifth and sixth in the 50 free, while Flanagan and Smith finished fifth and sixth in the 100 free.
But it was tough to keep up with the Titans.
“It’s nice to have the girls challenge themselves,” Seidenberg said. “We had a few girls doing different events. It’s nice for them to come out and really do a good job.”
Smith kept the Titans rolling with a first-place finish in the 500 free, and teammate Amanda Wilks took third.
Brenna Reeves took second for Pilgrim but also set a personal best. She had already set a new personal best in the 200 free.
Caron later added a personal best in the 100 breast.
“That was really nice to see,” San Giovanni said.
Toll Gate won the final four events to finish off the meet.
Yu, Smith, Kelly and Rogers teamed up to win the 200 free relay. Pilgrim was second, Toll Gate’s other relay team took third and Vets finished fourth.
In the 100 back, Yu grabbed first in 1:24.61, Smith took second, Chrissy Cavanagh took third for Pilgrim and Paulin finished fourth for Vets.
In the 100 breast, Turner took first in 1:39.56, Caron finished second, Sczuroski grabbed third, Pilgrim’s Shianne Silva took fourth and Toll Gate’s Breana Coleman finished fifth.
In the 400 free relay, the final event of the day, Rogers, Yorston, Turner and Courtney Caesar notched another victory for Toll Gate. Adams, Romare, Caron and Ryan finished second for Pilgrim, while Toll Gate’s Wilks, Gilbar, Coleman and Lauren Hopkins finished third.