Authors Posts by Michael Cummo

Michael Cummo

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Olivia Smith outjumped the second-place finisher by more than one foot.

Anders Nelson leaps over a hurdle in the meet against. Triton. – Photos by Michael Cummo

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School track and field team went 0-1-1 against Triton Regional High School on Sunday. The girls lost a close meet, 76-60, and the boys tied, 68-68.

Vineyarder Olivia Smith took first in the long jump, finishing with a distance of 16 feet, 1.25 inches, outjumping second-place finisher Juniper Ezanno by one foot and one quarter inch. Olivia also took first in the 400 meter hurdles and 110m high hurdles. Pearl Vercruysse took first place in the mile, finishing at 5:48, and narrowly beating teammate Rose Engler, who completed the mile in 5:50.5.

For the boys, Elijah Larue won the discus toss and Anders Nelson took first place in the javelin throw. Chase Silvia took first in the high jump and second in the long jump, while Eniss Foster won the triple jump. Jake Janak was victorious in both the 100m and 200m sprints, and Aivaras Gedvilas won both the mile run and the two-mile run.

The track and field teams next challenge Somerset Berkley in a home meet on April 29.

 

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The Vineyard hockey team squared off against eight other teams in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The silver medalists: From left, back row: Coach Erick Brugueire, Will Brugueire, Pete Gillis, Lauren Boyd, Hoffie Hearn, Kenny Hatt, and Coach Peter Gillis. Front row: Hunter Meader, Cam Geary, Oliver Lively, Felix Colon, Eli Gundersen, and Jackie Pizzano. – Photo courtesy of Heather Quinn

The Martha’s Vineyard Pee Wee hockey team came away with a silver medal from the Can/Am Challenge Cup competition in Lake Placid, N.Y., between March 26 and 29. They were one of nine teams from the United States and Canada that participated in the Pee Wee B Lillehammer division.

The Vineyard started the tournament off with a 5-1 win over the NHG Pride from Blaine, Minn.  Hunter Meader scored twice, while Pete Gillis, Cam Geary, and Felix Colon each scored once.

MV lost its second game to the Char-Lan Rebels from Williamstown, Ontario, 5-2. Kenny Hatt and Will Brugueire scored for the Vineyarders. The team bounced back with a 6-2 win over the Palmyra Black Knights from Palmyra, Pa.  Hunter Meader and Will Brugueire each scored twice; Pete Gillis and Cam Geary scored the others.

The Vineyarders clinched their trip to the championship game with a 5-2 win over the Grundy Senators from Bristol, Pa.  Hunter Meader, Pete Gillis, Will Brugueire, Eli Gundersen, and Hoffie Hearn scored the MV goals.

MV finished the preliminary rounds with the second-best record in the tournament and advanced to the gold-medal game at the scene of the famous Miracle on Ice, Herb Brooks Arena. They played the MinWis Elites, a select team from Minnesota and Wisconsin in the gold-medal round, losing 7-1. Hunter Meader scored the lone goal.

Oliver Lively was stellar in net for the Vineyard throughout the tournament, while Kenny Hatt, Lauren Boyd, Jackie Pizzano, and Eli Gundersen backboned the Vineyard defense. The Vineyard offense was led by Hunter Meader, Will Brugueire, Pete Gillis, Cam Geary, Hoffie Hearn, and Felix Colon.

 

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The Martha’s Vineyard squad could not overcome the sharpshooting Vikings.

Matt Stone drives past Wareham’s Michael Labonte.

The playoff dreams of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School varsity boys basketball team and their fans ended in Wareham Saturday with a 75-56 loss to the Wareham Vikings. The loss in the south quarter finals in MIAA Division 3 South tournament ended the Vineyarders season.

Tim Roberts reaches for a loose ball against Wareham.
Tim Roberts reaches for a loose ball against Wareham.

Senior Tim Roberts scored a team high 23 points, Alex GordonBeck scored 9 and Matt Stone scored 8 from the bench.

In front of a packed gymnasium the Vineyarders came out swinging early with a strategy anchored by their imposing 7 foot, 2 inch center Mac Sashin that relied on an aggressive attack on the undersized Vikings frontcourt. Wareham countered the Vineyard size advantage by spreading the floor and capitalizing on the 2-3 zone defense, hitting three open 3-point shots in a row.

The second quarter saw Mac Sashin continue to pull down rebounds, but it was not enough. Wareham continued to use its athleticism to stretch Martha’s Vineyard and it began to break the boys in purple down. Vineyard players were caught watching several Wareham shots and the team began to fall behind.

To add insult to injury, the Wareham team could not miss. The Vikings spread the floor perfectly and continued to knock down open jump shots. Three consecutive Vineyard possessions ended with turnovers as the Vikings outmuscled the Vineyard. By halftime, a three point first quarter lead had evaporated and the Vineyard boys were down 33-20.

Freshman point guard Cole Houston dribbles behind his back to change the direction of his drive.
Freshman point guard Cole Houston dribbles behind his back to change the direction of his drive.

Coach Mike Joyce spoke to the team at halftime and the boys emerged with a slightly different 3-2 zone defense, hoping to stop sharp shooting Wareham. But Wareham countered the defensive scheme with aggressive drives to the basket, that Martha’s Vineyard was unable to stop.

The Vineyarders struggled to get the ball to Mac Sashin in the second half. Wareham countered by either double teaming him in the post or jumping any pass intended for the big center.

With three minutes left in the third, the Vineyard began a full court press, which resulted in an instant Wareham turnover. Alex GordonBeck and Tim Roberts took control, and ferociously attacked the glass to grab rebounds. Wareham’s defenders matched their intensity.

Vineyard forward Tim Roberts rises for a shot while under pressure from Wareham defenders.
Vineyard forward Tim Roberts rises for a shot while under pressure from Wareham defenders.

As the second half progressed, MV’s poor perimeter shooting began to improve. Matt Stone hit two three-pointers off the bench to give life to the Vineyarders, but it was not enough to slow the Wareham’s offense. With four minutes left and the game out of reach, coach Mike Joyce pulled his starters to raucous applause from the Island fans. The Vineyard cheers were not just for the day’s performance, but for the entire season  and the eight seniors who had pulled on a purple and white uniform for the last time.

“We played pretty well today but they shot lights out,” Vineyard captain Tim Roberts, a senior, commented after the game. “We tried everything we could to stop their three pointers, but there is only so much you can do when [Wareham] is that hot. We still had a great season, and we were able to win the EAC title to keep the streak alive. I thought we had a chance to go a little further this year, but we definitely still had a great season.”

 

Coach Joyce was proud of his team, whose performances succeeded expectations. “Wareham had the best shooting game of the year, and for us to do well we had to force the ball inside and score,” he said. “They had 13 three pointers and shot 90 percent from the free throw line. That’s tough to beat.”

He praised the boys and their season long effort. “Coming in to the season we only had two players returning, so we knew it was going to be a year of growth,” he said. “After the fifth or sixth game, the seniors in particular bought into playing hard and playing to win. They turned their season around and were excellent.”

Alex GordonBeck extends for a lay-up against Wareham.
Alex GordonBeck extends for a lay-up against Wareham.

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Despite determined play, the girls could not overcome the firepower of one of the strongest teams in the state.

Vineyard goalie Jackie Hegarty came up huge, keeping Martha's Vineyard in the game. – Photo by Michael Cummo

The Marthas Vineyard varsity girls hockey team ended its tournament-season play with a 3-1 loss to Fontbonne Academy at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena Wednesday afternoon. Fontbonne, located in Milton, is the sixth-ranked team in Massachusetts, according to the Boston Herald, but had a difficult season schedule and only managed to be seeded 20th, versus Martha’s Vineyard’s 13th seed.

 

The Martha's Vineyard varsity girls hockey team lines up for what would end up being their last game of the season. – Photo by Michael Cummo
The Martha’s Vineyard varsity girls hockey team lines up for what would end up being their last game of the season. – Photo by Michael Cummo

In the first quarter, the Vineyarders began on their back foot, conceding possession early and eventually giving up the game’s first goal. But in the second quarter, Martha’s Vineyard began to find its confidence. Kylie Hatt scored an unassisted goal to tie the game 1-1.

Fontbonne put two away in the third period, giving them a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish.

Vineyard goalie Jackie Hegarty was outstanding, stopping 18 shots on the night. The Vineyard defense was also extremely impressive. Seniors Olivia Ogden and Erin Hegarty and sophomore Kylie Hatt shut down a powerful Fontbonne for most of the game.

The loss ends the Vineyard’s excellent season, which included a Nan Rheault tournament victory.

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The team’s 55-38 win at home Wednesday propels them to the quarterfinals at home Friday.

Mariah Duarte smiles as the clock ticks down towards Martha's Vineyard's first round victory over Randolph High School. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Martha’s Vineyard beat Randolph High School Wednesday afternoon at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, 55 to 38, to win its opening game in the MIAA girls basketball playoffs.

Fourth-seeded Martha’s Vineyard came out swinging. The girls used fast breaks and pressure defense to jump out to a 10-0 lead. Randolph closed the gap, though, putting the score at 15-8 after the first quarter.

Lackadaisical perimeter defense and several sloppy turnovers allowed the Randolph Blue Devils to get back into the game. At one point in the second quarter they trailed by only three points. But Erin Hill put the Vineyarders back on the winning track, first with a silky hook shot, then with a smooth three-pointer.

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Emily deBettencourt throws a cross-court pass. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Martha’s Vineyard fouled Randolph early and often; the Vineyarders committed 11 first-half turnovers, including guard Mya Houston, who picked up three. Erin Hill led all scorers with 16 points through the first half.

The Vineyarders started the second quarter much more slowly than the first, turning the ball over and giving Randolph several easy buckets. With the score again within three, 29-26, Martha’s Vineyard center Samantha Hargy took over, grabbing several crucial rebounds on both the offensive and defensive end, and giving the Vineyarders the confidence they needed to extend the lead. With two minutes left in the third quarter, Hargy became entangled with a Randolph player, falling hard to the floor. She left the court of her own free will, with tears in her eyes. She would return at the beginning of the fourth quarter, with Martha’s Vineyard up 38-26.

Vineyard star Erin Hill goes up for a shot in the first half of a playoff game against Randolph. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Vineyard star Erin Hill goes up for a shot in the first half of a playoff game against Randolph. – Photo by Michael Cummo

In the fourth, the girls buckled down and pressured Randolph into making mistakes. They continued to extend their lead, and would not relinquish it. Samantha Hargy, in her return after the hard fall, scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter while dominating the paint. Molly deBettencourt also had a standout fourth quarter, scoring nine of her 11 in the final eight minutes. The late push cemented a Vineyard win. The game ending 55-38. Standout Erin Hill ended the game with 20 points.

Coach Maureen Hill after the game said, “The girls came up much better in the second half. We talked about how to improve defensively, and executed much better in the second half.”

The Wednesday win means the Vineyard girls will play the winner of the game between Hanover High School (fifth seed) and Ursuline Academy (12th seed) of Dedham. The quarterfinal game is scheduled for 4:30 pm, Friday, Feb. 27, in the MVRHS gym.

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Kathy Forrester reacts after mishitting the ball. For tennis players like Ms. Forrester, pickleball took some adjusting. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Vineyard Tennis Center (VTC) hosted its first ever pickleball weekend on Friday and Saturday, complete with demonstrations, lessons, games, and dinner. Helen White, a 60-and-over pickleball silver medalist at the 2013 National Senior Games, was on hand to provide instruction to the attendees, as well as to answer questions.

Over the course of two days, 25 people participated in the pickleball clinic, which was given before players could try their hand at round robin gameplay. A combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis, pickleball uses a smaller court, lower nets, and plywood paddles. In addition, the ball used is slightly larger than a tennis ball, is made of plastic, and is full of holes.

Pickleball is intended to be less rigorous than tennis, meaning it can be played longer without injury. Aces, unlike in tennis, are discouraged, and instead replaced by a gentle underhand serve meant to begin a rally.

Helen White demonstrates the most effective way to hit a pickleball. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Helen White demonstrates the most effective way to hit a pickleball. – Photo by Michael Cummo

“It’s an easier racquet skill,” Vineyard Tennis Center tennis pro Connie McHugh said. “There is less court to cover, so it makes it easier to play for longer.”

This philosophy, paired with Helen White’s ideology that pickleball is intended for “fun, fitness, and friendships,” made pickleball a hit at VTC.

The idea for a pickleball weekend was first introduced to Vineyard Tennis Center by Kathy Forrester and Jill Woollacott while visiting Punta Gorda, Fla., with several friends. While playing tennis, Ms. Forrester stumbled onto a game of pickleball and began watching. She was eventually invited out on the court to try the new game, and she instantly fell in love.

“I saw an 80-year-old person playing with a 30-year-old person. There is no age restriction, and I love that!” Ms. Forrester said.

“In 30 minutes,” she continued, “I fell in love with the game. I called Connie [McHugh], and she knew [Helen White], and here we are.”

She approached Connie McHugh, and within a few days Ms. McHugh’s close friend and pickleball veteran Helen White was on board to visit Martha’s Vineyard and give several demonstrations.

Participants, who were mostly tennis players, began with experimenting with the new balls and racquets. They took to it quickly, once they understood how the ball bounces and the correct way to play. The most problematic of the techniques to learn for many was the underhand serve, which goes against the instincts of a tennis player, who is accustomed to an overhand serve. A huge advantage that pickleball has over tennis, though, is finesse. The game is not about who has the strongest forehand or who plays at the net, but instead focuses on strategy and where to hit the ball.

Vineyard Tennis Center tennis pro Connie McHugh, right, high fives Jill Woollacott during a pickleball game. – Photo by Michael Cummo
Vineyard Tennis Center tennis pro Connie McHugh, right, high fives Jill Woollacott during a pickleball game. – Photo by Michael Cummo

“[In tennis] hit it hard or hit it smart,” said Connie McHugh. “In pickleball, hit it smart.”

With smiles on their faces, participants took to the court after several rounds of practicing as a group. Everyone playing was laughing, high-fiving and truly enjoying being active on the tennis court. After switching opponents several times, the players were treated to dinner and drinks hosted by the Vineyard Tennis Center.

Will pickleball find a more permanent home on the Island? Connie McHugh thinks so, and after the clinic most, if not all, of the participants were eager to play again.

“Anyone can play,” said Kathy Forrester. “That’s the beauty of pickleball.”

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Bryce Nelson and Steven Brown try to push the puck in during a scramble in front of the Nantucket net.

In a Saturday afternoon match against their island rivals at MV Arena, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys varsity hockey team unleashed its offensive firepower and defeated the Nantucket Whalers by a score of 9-1.

Senior captain Austin Morley slides a near post shot past the Nantucket goalie for the first goal of the game.
Senior captain Austin Morley slides a near post shot past the Nantucket goalie for the first goal of the game.

The first period began with a bang when senior captain Austin Morley’s near post shot slid past the Nantucket goalie after only 3 minutes into the game. Martha’s Vineyard skated well and kept possession for the majority of the first period, limiting Nantucket to very few offensive opportunities. With 4 minutes remaining in the first, the Vineyard dialed up the pressure. Off three consecutive face-offs, Emerson Mahoney, Joe Davies and Nainoa Cooperrider all had shots on the Nantucket net.

Emerson Mahoney doubled the Vineyard’s lead only 3 minutes into the second half following a slick pass from Austin Morley. The Vineyarders continued to pressure the Whalers and with 2:49 left in the second period, Jonas Lukowitz received the puck at the blue line, skated through the Nantucket defense and slotted the puck into the corner of the net for a beautiful unassisted goal, increasing the home team’s lead to 3-0.

Emerson Mahoney skates towards the Nantucket goal.
Emerson Mahoney skates towards the Nantucket goal.

Just 72 seconds later, Nantucket got one back after Vineyard goalie Nick Kent’s save ricocheted into the path of a Whaler.

With a score of 3-1 entering the third and final period, Nantucket increased the pressure. After just 30 seconds, Martha’s Vineyard goalie Nick Kent was forced into making a double save that kept his team’s two goal lead intact and changed the momentum of the game.

The Vineyard responded to the saves with tremendous gusto, scoring six goals in the final 14 minutes of the game.

A scramble in front of the net allowed Tristan Araujo to find an open Emerson Mahoney, and he would not be denied, scoring his second goal, and increasing the Vineyard lead to 4-1. The Vineyarders next goal came 150 seconds later when Greg McCarron slotted a goal through a pile of skaters that had fallen in front of the Nantucket goal.

During the celebration, Vineyard forward Steven Brown and a Nantucket defender had words for each other but were quickly separated by an official. Following that incident, the remainder of the hockey game was scrappy. The refs called several penalties and the players had several tangles, none escalating further than a shove and a shout.

With 11:29 left in the third period, Barry Macdonald’s goal put the Vineyard up 6-1. To the delight of the supporting student section, Nantucket’s goalie was replaced with their backup to a cacophony of cheers rising from the stands.

The prettiest goal of the game was unquestionably Tristan Araujo’s that put the Vineyard up 7-1. The sophomore defenseman received the puck at Nantucket’s blue line, fought off pressure from two Nantucket defenders and slid the puck through the legs of Nantucket’s goalie, making it look effortless.

Tristan Araujo races past a Nantucket defender on his way to putting the puck in the back of the net.
Tristan Araujo races past a Nantucket defender on his way to putting the puck in the back of the net.

Freshman forward Jacob Gundersen scored with 4:22 left in the game. The final nail in the Whalers coffin was hammered in by junior forward Jeremey Mercier with 77 seconds left to play.

The Vineyarders will look to continue this dominant performance when they take on Coyle & Cassidy at 5 pm, Wednesday at MV Arena.

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Senior captain Austin Morley celebrates after he scored the first goal of the game.

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys varsity hockey team fought an exciting, competitive game against Bishop Feehan Saturday night that ended in a 3-3 tie at the MV Ice Arena. Senior captain Austin Morley netted his first ever hat-trick. But for a last minute goal by the Shamrocks, the Vineyarders would have picked up the victory.

In front of a group of dedicated fans that chose hockey over the Patriots playoff game, the boys came out fighting. With just 7 minutes gone in the first, Austin Morley released a snapshot from the high slot that slipped past the Feehan goalie, putting Martha’s Vineyard up 1-0. Some solid defense kept the Shamrocks out of the net, most notably from defenseman Nick Vukota, who was solid throughout.

Defenseman Nick Vukota skates away from Bishop Feehan pressure.
Defenseman Nick Vukota skates away from Bishop Feehan pressure.

One minute and seven seconds into the second period, Austin Morley scored his second goal of the game, putting the Vineyard up 2-0. But that lead was short lived when Feehan’s Jack Hanson scored three minutes later, making the score 2-1. After the first Feehan goal, the boys in purple began pressuring Bishop Feehan higher on the ice.

The forwards, notably Nainoa Cooperrider, kept pressuring the puck in Feehan’s third, converting turnovers into shots on goal. Several times in the second period Cooperrider was able to knock the puck from a Shamrock defender and get a shot off, only to have it turned away each time. Junior forward Emerson Mahoney was able to break away for a one-on-one against Bishop Feehan’s goalie, but his shot went wide of net, eliciting a groan from the fans in the stands.

In the third period, the Vineyard came out skating a bit slow. Feehan’s Kyle Brown leveled the score at 2 after a defensive error saw Brown unmarked in front of the net. He was able to receive a pass and slot it into the Vineyard goal with little difficulty. But the Vineyarders responded, not content with a tie. Vineyard ice man Jonas Lukowitz had a great shot saved after a one-timer pass from Emerson Mahoney. The Vineyard’s Steven Brown also had a shot denied after a great spell of possession.

Forward Joe Davies tries to slide through two Feehan players.
Forward Joe Davies tries to slide through two Feehan players.

With 9 minutes left in the game, Martha’s Vineyard really began to turn up the pressure. Emerson Mahoney outskated everyone, leaving him alone with the Shamrocks goalie, but he was unable to convert the breakaway. Seconds later, a Bishop Feehan turnover created a one-on-one opportunity with Joe Davies, but the forward shot wide of the Feehan net. This pressure caused problems for the Shamrock defense, and after several minutes the Feehan defense could be heard shouting curses of frustration.

With 6:02 left in the game Emerson Mahoney once again led a Vineyard charge, this time faking a shot before passing to Austin Morley, who would not be denied, giving Martha’s Vineyard a 3-2 lead. The home crowd would only enjoy that lead for 75 seconds, though.

Bishop Feehan’s Kyle Brown tied the game 3-3. With Feehan gaining momentum, defender Matt Davies became a brick wall, not allowing the Shamrocks to cross half-ice, knocking down any passes meant for their forwards.

Despite the tie the Vineyarders play is much improved from earlier in the season. The boys have taken several tough losses this year, but after this performance everyone’s spirits should be up. Martha’s Vineyard skated well, passed extraordinarily and improved on their recent defensive lapses.

Sophomore Nainoa Cooperrider attempts to get a shot off after falling to his knees in front of the Feehan goal.
Sophomore Nainoa Cooperrider attempts to get a shot off after falling to his knees in front of the Feehan goal.

The 3-3-2 Vineyarders take on an undefeated Somerset-Berkeley on Wednesday in Fall River.

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Sarah Thomas clears the puck away from the Vineyard goal.

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School JV girls hockey team lost to a strong-skating Sandwich team, 8-0, Saturday afternoon at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena. The Vineyarders faced a scoring onslaught in the first period that ended with the Blue Knights up by 5 goals.

Amber Cappelli tries unsuccessfully to poke the puck into the Sandwich net.
Amber Cappelli tries unsuccessfully to poke the puck into the Sandwich net.

The girls tightened up their defense in the second and third periods, but could not put the puck in the net. In front of a boisterous crowd, the girls continued to push up-ice trying to score a goal without success.

Vineyard goalie Jaime Joseph did her best to protect the net, and blocked several close-range shots, but could not keep every puck out of the net.

The Vineyard girls hit the third period strong and made several shots on net, but failed to score. Amber Cappelli had a breakaway run and shot, but it was blocked by the Sandwich goalie. Shannon O’Connor and Caroline Roddy also had several strong moves and shots turned away.

Despite the lopsided score, the junior varsity girls had many moments when they looked strong. The next game is Thursday, Jan. 8, in Brookline at Larz Anderson Park.

JV Vineyard goalie Jaime Joseph gets big to protect the net.
JV Vineyard goalie Jaime Joseph gets big to protect the net.

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Participants in the Polar Plunge enjoy a dry moment before charging into the water.
It was a mad dash into Nantucket Sound.
It was a mad dash into Nantucket Sound.

On New Year’s day, a hardy group of more than a dozen men, women and young people dove into the icy waters of Nantucket Sound off State Beach in Oak Bluffs. It was not an example of mass insanity but was the fourth annual Woodland Polar Plunge, and it was all for a good cause.

The event, organized by Rob Baker, owner of the Woodland Grill in Vineyard Haven, raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Family and friends sponsor each participant. Last year, the group raised just under $400 and this year the Plunge raised more than $800 for the charity that helps returning soldiers recover from their wounds.

It was no swim for the faint hearted.
It was no swim for the faint hearted.

Most of those who ran down the beach sprinted into the surf and sped right back out into the warm embrace of towels. Only a few participants stayed in the water for longer than 20 seconds.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that this year’s plunge raised almost $500. In fact, the swim raised more than $800.