Photo: Jessie Blake-West.
Senior star Jessie Blake-West threw down a couple of gauntlets as the Belmont High Swimming and Diving team prepares their game plan as the team put some serious times on the board finishing fourth in the MIAA North Sectional Meet held at MIT Saturday, Nov. 14.
If this weekend’s times are any indication of what the Marauders – which finished fourth with 236 points as powerhouse Andover won the meet with 474 points – are looking to do this weekend at the Div. 2 State Finals at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool, the Marauders – who placed second behind Bishop Feehan in consecutive years – will have something to say who wins.
And Saturday’s meet showed that Blake-West must be considered one of, if not the best, all-around swimmer in Massachusetts.
In her favorite race, the 100 yard butterfly, Blake-West destroyed the field taking out the race in 25.5 seconds for the first 50 yards and coming home in 54.67 seconds, smashing the meet record by a second-and-a-half and defeating her nearest challenger, Taryn Waite of Lexington, by nearly four seconds in races that are usually measured in tenths of seconds.
A few events earlier, Blake-West took home the 50-yard freestyle sprint title in 23.95 seconds, just missing the meet and state record.
If all that wasn’t impressive enough, she joined freshman Sophia Butte, sophomore Julia Bozkurtian and fellow captain and senior Emily Quinn to defend the team’s title in the 200-yard medley relay. Blake-West’s mind-blowing 24.9-second butterfly leg (the next nearest time for the same segment was nearly three seconds slower) led the team to the win in 1 minute, 51.8 seconds, beating out Reading by three-quarters if a second.
Blake-West finished the night with a 51.6-second final leg in the 400-yard relay to bring Belmont up to third in that race.
Following Blake-West in high finishes was freshman distance specialist Nicole Kalavantis, who took first in the 200, breaking two minutes with a 1:59.6, thanks to a 30.7 second last 50 yards. Kalavantis took second behind another frosh, Andover’s Victoria Amborse, in the 500 yards free, taking more than 12 seconds off her qualifying time, swimming the distance in 5:16.45.
Quinn (who also scored in the butterfly) upped her game for the meet, placing third two more Andover freshman, with a 1.09.87 in the 100-yard breast stroke final. She was joined by Dervla Moore-Federick in 8th in 1:11.4. Moore-Federick also finished 16th in the 200-yard individual medley relay.
Senior diver Cynthia Kelsey placed a solid third behind fellow seniors Michaela Sliney of Haverhill and Lexington’s Emily Zitkozsky in the one-meter springboard with 460.35 points.
Also swimming well were Elizabeth Levy and Sara Noorouzi in the 200 and 500 free, senior Solvay Metelmann in the 50 free, freshman Angela Li in the 200 IM, Butte and Bozkurtian scoring in the 50 and 100 free, Allie Beecroft in the 500 free, Molly Thomas scoring in the 100-yard backstroke which also saw sophomore Stephanie Zhang and Grace Newberry in the competition and a couple of sophomores, Caroline Daskalakis and Katerena Nalbandian in the breaststroke.