Paw­tucket’s Mag­ill leads way at In­vi­ta­tional

Ford­ham-bound swimmer earns pair of top-4 fin­ishes at Brown

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By JOHN BAKER jbaker@paw­tuck­et­

PROV­I­DENCE — At the 31st an­nual Bay View In­vi­ta­tional Swim­ming Cham­pi­onships, held at Brown Univer­sity’s Kather­ine Mo­ran Cole­man Aquatic Cen­ter on Sun­day af­ter­noon, Ben­gals’ se­nior cap­tain and stand­out Kate Mag­ill had hoped to claim her two spe­cial­ties – the 200 and 500-yard freestyles.

The Paw­tucket res­i­dent failed in the for­mer event, man­ag­ing for her a “pedes­trian,” fourth­place clock­ing of 2:01.45. At the longer dis­tance, she ap­peared to have gar­nered a tri­umph with ap­prox­i­mately 30 yards re­main­ing..

East Green­wich High ju­nior Au­drey Brecher, how­ever, had other ideas. She surged ahead with about 15 yards to go to win the 500, a race in which Mag­ill is a three-time de­fend­ing state cham­pion, in 5:13.19. Mag­ill set­tled for sec­ond, just four-hun­dredths of a tick be­hind (5:13.23).

“I’m not dis­ap­pointed be­cause I never ta­per for this meet, mean­ing I’m still work­ing hard in prac­tice,” stated Mag­ill, who will fur­ther her aca­demic and aquatic ed­u­ca­tion at Ford­ham Univer­sity later this sum­mer. “I’m just tak­ing this as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It showed me what I have to work on to be at my best for the (up­com­ing) Di­vi­sion I and state cham­pi­onships. “I missed my fi­nal turn in the 500, which didn’t help mat­ters, but that’s no ex­cuse,” she added. “I think if I had worn the fast-skin suit and shaved and ta­pered, it would have helped me both phys­i­cally and men­tally, but this isn’t the time for that. I don’t think of this as a cham­pi­onship meet, but a prepara­tory meet for the

big­ger ones.

“That’s why I’m not bummed out. I think I could’ve raced bet­ter in the 200; I should’ve gone out faster, and – if I had – I would’ve fin­ished stronger. I’m just moving for­ward.”

La Salle ju­nior Mada­lyn Red­ding eas­ily snared the 200 freestyle in 1:55.50, .70 sec­onds off of her seed time, while Brecher col­lected sec­ond (1:57.19) and North Smithfield ju­nior Sara Gen­dron third (1:58.70).

Gen­dron also de­liv­ered a third in the 100 but­ter­fly (58.30), and came ever-so-close to earn­ing the Bay View Out­stand­ing Ju­nior of the Meet lau­rel.

Be­cause she’s the lone aqua­woman rep­re­sent­ing the school on Route 104, she has to train with Bull­dogs Aquat­ics out of Bryant Univer­sity, and ad­mits she has big­ger fish to fry once the cham­pi­onship sea­son ap­proaches.

“I didn’t ta­per for this meet,” mean­ing her Bull­dogs Aquat­ics coaches didn’t slice her yardage so she could be­come stronger, swim with less fa­tigue. “I’m look­ing for­ward to the state meet, and then the USA Swim­ming-(af­fil­i­ated) Sec­tion­als meet at Ithaca (N.Y.) Col­lege. Af­ter that, I’ll go to the U.S. Ju­nior Na­tion­als in Clear­wa­ter, Fla.

“I don’t have to swim in high school meets like this, but I want to,” she con­tin­ued. “It gives me a chance to swim against my Bull­dogs team­mates who do swim high school, kids I’ve been friends with since I started.

“I’m pretty happy; I think I had some pretty good times con­sid­er­ing the fact I’m not ta­pered yet. I’m right where I want to be, so I’m more than sat­is­fied.”

As well she should. The North­woman, by her lone­some, sup­plied her school with 32 points, good for 15th in the 24-team field.

Cum­ber­land led the area pack with 63 points and an 11th-place fin­ish. The Clip­pers were a fry cry from scratch­ing the top 10, as Mid­dle­town took that spot with 113.

Bar­ring­ton, as an­tic­i­pated with an un­beaten dual-meet squad, cap­tured the meet ti­tle with 247 points, a mere five more than run­ner-up North Kingstown, and 30 bet­ter than third-place East Green­wich (217).

CHS fresh­man Caro­line Shen, a team­mate of Gen­dron at Bull­dogs Aquat­ics, is a rel­a­tive new­comer to in­ter­scholas­tic com­pe­ti­tion, but she al­ready is turn­ing heads – and not just dur­ing stroke work. She had been seeded fifth in the 50 freestyle with a 25.75 clock­ing, and nailed down that place­ment with a time of 25.87.

Later, she de­liv­ered a 57.18 in the 100 freestyle to snag sixth over­all.

“The 25.87 wasn’t my best, but it’s still Jan­uary, so we’ve got more than a month be­fore the end of the sea­son,” she noted. “We’re still in the ‘hard-work’ phase of our work­outs, both at Cum­ber­land and with Bull­dogs Aquat­ics. Once we ta­per, the times should drop.

“My best time in the 100 is 56high, and I re­ally wanted to go a best time here, so I’m a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed,” she added. “It (nev­er­the­less) shows what I need to work on. I’m try­ing to fix my stroke, (as) my coaches have told me I need to ex­tend my arms and hands more to get the most out of each stroke.

“My hands don’t al­ways en­ter the wa­ter at the same place, so they’ve asked me to stretch it out … Com­ing into this meet, I didn’t know what to ex­pect; it’s my first re­ally big high school meet, but I love it! Ev­ery­one seems so happy and mo­ti­vated to do well, where USA Swim­ming (club) meets are more in­di­vid­u­al­ized, just you against the clock. There’s a lot more team-build­ing in this (genre).

“It’s a re­ally fun at­mos­phere. I thought it would be a lot more se­ri­ous like a USS meet, but I’m with all of my friends. Some of us are on op­pos­ing teams, and we’re com­pet­ing against each other, but in a more pos­i­tive way.

File photo

Bay View se­nior Kate Mag­ill, who is a Paw­tucket res­i­dent, earned a sec­ond-place fin­ish in the 500-yard freestyle at Sun­day’s Bay View In­vi­ta­tional at Brown Univer­sity.

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