Vineyard swim team falls to Sandwich High School Blue Knights

Despite the loss, records were broken, and two swimmers qualified for next month’s sectionals.

Vineyard and Sanwich boys dive off the blocks in the 100m butterfly — Photo by Michael Cummo

In their first home meet, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) varsity swim team found themselves outmatched at the YMCA indoor pool complex Tuesday afternoon, losing both the boys and girls meets to Sandwich High School by scores of 63-88 and 66-81, respectively, in the 90-minute match.

The Blue Knights were led by Tony Compton, who is in his 24th year coaching the Sandwich swim team. Going into Tuesday’s win, Mr. Compton’s team was 0-3 for the girls and 2-1 for the boys. The Vineyard had a similar record, entering Tuesday’s meet 0-3 for the girls and 1-2 for the boys.

“If we can get out of here with one win, we’ll be very happy,” Mr. Compton told The Times before the meet. “Martha’s Vineyard has gotten much better, and we’re just looking to get out of here by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin for the boys. Our girls really aren’t that good this year. This might be very a close meet.”

Sandwich has two standout swimmers, senior Brian Cundiff and junior Katlyn Scott. Not to be outdone, Vineyarder Renee Goodale, who qualified for the state tournament last month on Nantucket at the Cape Cod Classic, competes at the state tournament to be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) next month. The weekend prior to MIT, the state sectionals will be held at Boston University for the boys and Wellesley University for the girls; freshman Lia Potter and sophomore Patrick Best qualified for these Tuesday afternoon.

Potter qualified for sectionals in the 100-yard butterfly event, breaking the 1:14.39 school record with her 1:08.41 time. Best qualified for sectionals in the 50-yard freestyle event with a school-record 24.07 swim. Best’s time would have been a pool record, but he was outtouched by Sandwich’s Brian Cundiff at 23.43. Evan Sauter broke another Vineyard school record in the 100-yard backstroke. In swimming, fractions of seconds count, and Mr. Sauter also competed in a spirited 100-yard dash backstroke where he came in second at 1:07.17, compared with first-place Sandwich’s 1:07.15.

The most exciting race of the afternoon was the boys 200-yard freestyle relay, in which anchor Patrick Best pulled in first for the Vineyard win. During the highly charged event the two teams were neck-and-neck much of the time. “We got a race here!” exclaimed Renee Goodale’s dad, Peter Goodale. The relay team’s time was a school record 1:41.47, just missing the 1:40.25 time required to qualify for sectionals. Evan Sauter, Harrison Dorr, and Tucker Cosgrove preceded Patrick Best in the race. The same foursome also shattered the team record by more than seven seconds in the boys 400-yard freestyle relay at 3:55.82.

Renee Goodale glided to victory in two events by a large lead, including the girls 200-yard individual medley (IM), which requires swimmers to use all four strokes — butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle — in one race, and the girls 100-yard freestyle. Goodale made it look easy, and effortlessly was a half-length ahead.

Other highlights were the girls 200-yard freestyle relay, where Renee Goodale, Kate Hansen, Lia Potter, and Galya Walt won in a school record 1:57.23. The same foursome also won the 400-yard freestyle relay. Galya Walt and Kate Hansen took first and second in the 200-yard freestyle.

Many events did not have swimmers in every lane, such as the girls 100-yard breaststroke, which had only three girls participating, including Evan Sauter’s sister Julia, who came in third behind two Sandwich ladies.

Vineyarder Head Coach Jonathan Chatinover is in his second year of coaching the three-year-old Vineyard varsity swim team, which was a club team under Coach Robin Tuck prior to reaching varsity-level status. “We really didn’t have a feeder program when we first started off,” MVRHS Athletic Director Mark McCarthy told The Times, “but now we’re starting to see kids that swam in [the YMCA] Makos come up through the system and then they get to the school — that has been the plan all along. We’re the newbies in the pool.”

“We did very well,” Mr. Chatinover told The Times after the meet. “We had two kids qualify for sectionals who have never qualified before, and Renee has qualified for the states in two events in an earlier meet.”

The Vineyard girls are now 0-4 and the Vineyard boys are now 1-3. Next home meet is this Saturday, Jan. 17, versus Nantucket High School at the YMCA Oak Bluff’s swimming pool, beginning at 12:30 pm.