Sports: Girls’ Swimming Preps for State Championships with 3rd in Sectionals

The feature photo is of the winning 200 yard medley relay squad in the 2014 North Sectionals from Belmont High School: (from left) Alison Sawyer, Maya Nagashima, Jessie Blake-West and Emily Quinn. (Ginny Blake photos).

The Belmont High School Girls’ Swimming team dove into the pool with the big girls of Massachusetts swimming this weekend and gave them more than they could handle.

Coming off winning the Middlesex League Meet the previous week, the Marauders’ took home third place in the team event in the MIAA North Sectional held Sunday, Nov. 9 at Wellesley College.

In competition against powerhouse Division 1 schools – including Acton-Boxborough (second) and Andover (first) – with nearly twice as many students to recruit to winning swimming programs, the Marauders compiled 217 points, finishing higher than strong teams as Chelmsford, Central Catholic and league rival Lexington.

Belmont’s performance – up a place from last year’s fourth in the sectionals – augurs of another epic battle between the Marauders and Bishop Feehan High School of Attleboro for the Div. 2 State Championships taking place this Sunday.

Last November, the Shamrocks won the title with Belmont the runner up.

Leading the Marauders was their junior ace Jessie Blake-West who took home three sectional victories; the 200-yard medley relay (with senior Maya Nagashima, junior Emily Quinn and freshman Alison Sawyer in 1:53.36), the 200 individual medley (2:11.57) and her speciality, the 100 butterfly.

In the race, Blake-West powered through the 100 yards in 57.20 seconds, winning by a remarkable 2.37 seconds in a contest usually decided by tenths of seconds.

With her 6th place in the 200 freestyle relay – with Sawyer, junior Solvay Metelmann and freshman Ophelie Loblack (1:45.30) – Blake-West helped account for just about half of Belmont’s point total.

The Marauders’ impressive breaststroke trio of junior Emily Quinn and seniors Sarah Osborn and Klaudia Nagrabska took three of the top eight spots in the race, with Quinn taking second by dipping under 1 minute, 10 seconds (1:09.82) with Osborn fourth (1:11.68) and Nagrabska seventh (1:13.05).

In the scoring column, Nagashima was fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:04.06) and seventh in the individual medley while Quinn took 13th (2:23.54) in the IM. Also taking a fourth was junior one-meter diver Cynthia Kelsey who finished in the top tier with 448.40 points. The frosh Sawyer also scored points with a 12th in the 50 free in 26.30 while on the opposite end of the distance spectrum, junior Sara Noorouzi‘s 5:42.22 was good for 13th in the 500 free. And contributing 12 points was the 400 free relay of Loblack, sophomore Dervela Moore-Federick, senior Eunice Lee and Metelmann coming in 11th in 3:58.80.

But it wasn’t just those scoring points who swam well; in fact, nearly all the Belmont swimmers made impressive appearance in the sectionals.

Belmont’s distance swimmers – Lee in the 200 free (21st in 2:07.95), sophomore Allie Beecroft (19th in the 500 dropping her time 5:49.81 by nearly 10 seconds) while Noorouzi (22st in 2:08.03) and junior Elizabeth Levy (24th 2:09.39 in the 200 and 17th in the 500 in 5:47.00) taking on the gut busting 200/500 double – and the sprint free squad – in the 50, Metelmann (26.68), Loblack (26.73) and sophomore Molly Thomas (26.78) took 18, 19, and 20th while Loblack and Sawyer broke the minute mark in the 100 free – all showed a great amount of improvement in their pre-meet times.

In the IM, Moore-Federick put in a great 37.30 second 50 yard butterfly segment in her 2:27.04 for 21st while fellow 10th grader Katerena Nalbandian finished 20th in the breast stroke in 1:16.69.

Lee placed 24th in the butterfly; while in the backstroke, Thomas in 20th brought home sophomore Grace Newberry (1:08.25 for 22nd) and Metelmann (24th in 1:08.58).

Next up, the state championships.