Tuesday’s first dual meet against Apponequet was a loss in quantity, but a win in quality for the Vineyard swimmers. Both Vineyard teams lost; the boys by a small margin, 72-71, and the girls lost 97-62.
Though the numbers show defeat, the team had some great swims. They won event after event, with a small crowd cheering them on. Returning boys co-captains Evan Sauter, who missed last year’s season due to a back injury, and Harrison Dorr, each won two individual events and were on two winning relays. The majority of events were won by the Vineyard boys — six out of eight individuals and two out of three relays, but the team’s low numbers prevented them from racking up points, and were the essential cause of the lower score.
The girls’ team is up by five swimmers this year, for a total of 20, and 10 of them are new to the team. The boys rounded out to 15 swimmers, which is about the same as last year, according to Coach Jonathan Chatinover. “The more swimmers you have, the better. In swimming, it’s really important to have a lot of numbers, because everybody scores,” he said. This factor is most likely what contributed to a string of losses for the team last year, and even with a slightly larger team will be an obstacle for this season. Injuries led to the boys team swimming at least two meets with only five healthy swimmers. Still, the team sent three swimmers to states, and broke school record times.
Coach Chatinover hopes to qualify more swimmers this year for regionals and state meets, with new rules which allow seventh and eight grade students to join the team. Promising young swimmers got to show their strengths on Tuesday, including eighth graders Ruairi Mullin and Oliver Dorr, who each had an individual victory and a third place, and swam on two winning relays. Ruairi won the 50-yard free (27.70) and Oliver won the 100-yard fly (1:08.77). Seventh grader Christian Flanders was third in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Returning boys also made a splash Tuesday. Senior Evan Sauter beat two of his school records with the individual medley (2:15.25) and the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.78), both just two seconds short of a qualifying regional time. Harrison Dorr won the 200-yard freestyle (2:05.16) and the 100-yard freestyle (57.06).
For the girls, Gabby Carr doubled in the distance events, winning the 200-yard freestyle (2:13.36) and 500-yard freestyle (6:00.70). Yayla Dechiara won the 200-yard individual medley (2:32.27) and the 100-yard backstroke (1:08.00). Senior co-captain Lia Potter, who was one of last year’s state qualifying swimmers, won the 50-yard free (28.44), and finished second the 100-yard butterfly. Those three girls, along with freshman Eleanor Hyland, won both the 200-yard free relay (1:57.13) and the 400-yard free relay (4:16.06). The relay times are within three seconds of qualifying for the sectionals.
The meet ended with an exciting 400-yard boys relay, in which the Apponequet Lakers spent most of the race playing close catch-up. Evan Sauter finished strong and far ahead, with a relay time of 3:52.73. However, the difference in numbers made the victories deceiving, and the Vineyarders were not able to bring it home.
The Vineyard’s next meet is on Saturday against Brockton.