Photo: Belmont High senior swimmers and divers.
For the seniors on Belmont High’s Girls’ Swimming and Diving team, the past three meets with the Lexington High Minutemen have been heartbreakers (twice), exhilarating (last year) and always close in determining which team would win the Middlesex League title.
But for those seniors, this season’s confrontation held at Belmont’s Higgenbottom Pool on Wednesday, Oct. 14, would be an outlier as the Marauders scored often and early to easily power past the visiting Minutemen on Senior’s Day.
While the final score was 88-87, the officials stopped tallying Belmont’s score with three events remaining.
“We have a good solid team,” said Ev Crosscup, Belmont’s head coach who has been coping with a serious lung infection over the past five weeks.
“We are continuing to work hard and don’t let down. I’m not concerned that we are peaking too soon. We should be OK going into the sectionals and state championships.”
In two weeks, Belmont will host a red-hot Reading High Rockets, which is returning to its past prominence when it won multiple league titles.
“That will be difficult,” said Crosscup. “They have a ton of good freshmen and are also quite solid in every stroke. It should be a very competitive, exciting meet.”
Shining for the Marauders was, predictably, senior star and co-captain Jessica Blake-West who broke Belmont’s long-standing 50-yard freestyle pool record with a blistering 24.57 seconds, one of four events that Blake-West dominated individually or as part of a team.
The four-year starter, who Crosscup called one of the best overall swimmers in the state, also took first in her specialty, the 100 butterfly in 57.34 (eight seconds faster than the field) in which she is defending Div. 2 state champion.
Blake-West started the meet joining freshman Sophie Butte, sophomore Alison Sawyer and freshman find Nicole Kalavantis to win the 200 medley relay, dipping under two minutes in 1 minute, 59.31 seconds, while later teaming up with Sawyer, Solvay Metelmann (who finished second in both the 50 free and the 100 backstroke) and Julia Bozkurtain to capture the 200 free relay.
Joining Blake-West with multiple wins was Kalavantis, who took first in the 200 (2:05.50) and 500 free (5:36.78) where she led a Marauder sweep with senior co-captain Sara Noorouzi (second) and junior Allie Beecroft (third).
Capturing firsts included senior co-captain Emily Quinn in her specialty, the 100 breaststroke, in 1:11.71 and junior Molly Thomas whose 1:06.88 in the 100 back qualified her for the state championships.
Over at diving, senior Cynthia Kelsey treated the meet with a perfect score of 10 (out of three judges) in her first of six dives to win the competition.
At the midpoint of the meet, seniors from both teams received roses and balloons and Crosscup’s speech about fleas didn’t go over as well as expected. But the girls joined him in reciting a quote from one of their coach’s favorite speakers, UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
“Strive each day to make it your masterpiece.”