Brown fol­low­ing in mother’s foot­steps

Woonsocket Call - - SPORTS - By JON BAKER [email protected]­tuck­et­

PROV­I­DENCE – Lincoln High fresh­man Sadie Brown en­tered these Bay View In­vi­ta­tional Swim­ming Cham­pi­onships just af­ter high noon Satur­day not know­ing what to ex­pect from her fel­low com­peti­tors.

She did, how­ever, learn about the meet’s pres­tige – and what it would mean to ex­cel at it – long be­fore­hand, as her mom had com­peted and (more than) suc­ceeded at this same event ap­prox­i­mately two decades be­fore.

And for the same school.

Her mother just hap­pens to be for­mer state cham­pion/R.I. Aquatic Hall of Famer Beth Ia­cobucci, who graced this area with nu­mer­ous ti­tles at this and other cham­pi­onship meets dur­ing her ten­ure at LHS.

Brown didn’t men­tion ex­actly her mom’s ad­vice, but she ap­par­ently took it to heart. The small­ish but con­ge­nial LHS new­comer mus­tered a stel­lar sixth in the 200-yard in­di­vid­ual med­ley (2:17.39) and ninth in the 100-yard breast­stroke (1:11.63) to pro­pel the Lions to 52 points and a 12th-place fin­ish in a field of nearly 30 teams at Brown Uni­ver­sity’s Kather­ine Mo­ran Cole­man Aquatic Cen­ter.

“It feels good; I’m very proud of my­self for how well I swam,” the shy Lioness stated. “In the 200 IM, I came in seeded sixth and that’s where I fin­ished, which is great. I felt a lit­tle tired – that’s why I was off my best time by a sec­ond or so – but I wanted to swim well. I had heard how big this meet was.”

She ad­mit­ted be­ing mighty tired fol­low­ing her 100 breast­stroke, and that her 1:11 clock­ing was well off her life­time best. Head coach Tom DiIo­rio knew why.

“We had to swim against Wheeler on Thurs­day night and Bar­ring­ton (Fri­day) night (in dual meets), so I knew com­ing in the girls would be swim­ming tired,” he of­fered. “I just told them to swim their best, try to do their best times and not to get dis­qual­i­fied.

“I also said that I knew how dif­fi­cult it was to swim back-to-back, but that stuff hap­pens; you just have to do it, and I thought Sadie and a lot of other kids bat­tled through that fa­tigue.”

Cum­ber­land ju­nior Caro­line Shen didn’t swim as fast as she had hoped, though she had a pretty good rea­son why. She had been suf­fer­ing from a cold/flu over the past sev­eral days, but ad­mit­ted she ex­pected more from her­self af­ter plac­ing a dis­ap­point­ing 11th in the 50 freestyle (25.98) and sev­enth in the 100 freestyle (57.04).

The good news for Shen? She an­chored both the sixth-place 200 freestyle re­lay team (also con­sist­ing of se­nior tri-cap­tain Cammy Cronin, fresh­man Chelsea Fried­land and ju­nior Kheara Zito), which posted a sea­son-top time of 1:46.59; and the sev­enth-ranked 400 freestyle re­lay (Cronin, frosh/kid sis­ter Cather­ine Shen and Zito), which with a 3:59.39 clock­ing added an­other win­ter-best time.

The el­der Shen mus­tered a 50 split of 25.34 in the 200 race and 57.15 at the 400 dis­tance, help­ing the Clip­pers top LHS for 10th with 85.5 points.

North Kingstown stunned the field to win the meet crown, cour­tesy of 272 points. Way­land, Mass. placed sec­ond with 249, while de­fend­ing Ocean State champ Bar­ring­ton took third ex­actly 50 be­hind.

La Salle notched fourth (171), “host” Bay View fifth (166), We­ston, Mass. sixth (157), Hop­kin­ton, Mass. sev­enth (143), East Green­wich eighth (141.5) and Prout ninth (92).

The Cru­saders edged McGarry’s bunch by a scant 6.5 points.

“I’ve been pretty sick; it’s my lungs, my si­nuses, and I just feel tired,” Caro­line noted af­ter the 200 freestyle re­lay. “I don’t know what it is ex­actly, but no mat­ter how much sleep I get, when I wake up, I’m still ex­hausted.

“Aside from that, I still think I could’ve swum faster,” she con­tin­ued. “I think I have a lot left to work on, like my tech­nique my (tim­ing with) breath­ing, starts and turns, etc. This shows what I have to work on. When I’m at prac­tice, and my coach tells me I have to work on this or that, I have to try to fix it. I be­lieve I have to do more of that.”

CHS men­tor Rod McGarry felt Shen was be­ing too hard on her­self, but cred­ited and ad­mired her mind­set.

“I thought, given her cir­cum­stances, she had a good meet, a very in­spir­ing and in­spired meet,” he stated. “I al­ways tell the kids, ‘We don’t use ex­cuses. We use ex­pla­na­tions as to how we swam, what we did well and what we need to work on.’

“I tell them we have to as­sess the swim, but we also have to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the health and well-be­ing of the ath­letes,” he added. “The whole team knows Caro­line is sick and fa­tigued, as well as a few oth­ers. I had asked Caro­line if she wanted to sit this meet out and rest up, get stronger, but she wasn’t go­ing to have any part of that.

“She in­sisted on par­tic­i­pat­ing in ev­ery event in which she was en­tered; you know, she’s a very self­less girl. She was go­ing to do every­thing she could to help the team put points on the board, and I think she in­spired a lot of our girls. Caro­line set an ex­am­ple and was a ral­ly­ing point, es­pe­cially with the 200 free re­lay. She’s the one who got them to think, ‘Let’s step up and go af­ter this one!’

“Did they ever!” An­other spark, to no one’s sur­prise, hap­pened to be Cronin, who earned 10th in the 100 but­ter­fly with a light­ning-quick/PR 1:04.40. She also joined fresh­men Chelsea Fried­land and Cather­ine Shen and se­nior tri-cap­tain Cait­lyn Long­est on the 11th-place 200 med­ley re­lay (cam­paign-best 2:02.92).

As the but­ter­flyer in that event, she man­aged a 50 split of 28.28, as well as “dead-start” splits of 27.14 and 1:00.39 in the re­spec­tive 200 and 400 free re­lays, to cap quite a mem­o­rable out­ing.

“I feel re­ally good about how I did here be­cause it’s my se­nior year, and of course you want to have a great sea­son,” Cronin grinned. “I swam well, so I’m gain­ing con­fi­dence. I feel like, based on this, the rest of the sea­son will be my best yet, with the amount of strength, train­ing and con­fi­dence I’ve gained.”

Brown hap­pened to be the lone in­di­vid­ual place­ment for Lincoln, yet did nail down top-16 fin­ishes in all three re­lays. The quar­tet of ju­nior Amanda Allen, Brown, sopho­more Melissa Pierce and se­nior cap­tain Lily Ja­cob­son reg­is­tered a win­ter-top time of 2:02.74 (a sat­is­fy­ing .18 ahead of the ri­val Clip­pers), while the con­tin­gent of se­nior Emma Gianetti, Pierce, ju­nior Anna Vy­goder and se­nior Natalie Jorge snared 13th at the 200 freestyle dis­tance (1:55.62).

As for the 400 free re­lay, the four­some of Brown, Allen, Gianetti and Ja­cob­son took 12th in 4:10.10.

Both DiIo­rio and McGarry didn’t hide the fact that they were thrilled by the im­prove­ment of kids who didn’t gain a top-16 (or scor­ing) place­ment. Head­ing that list: CHS se­nior cap­tain Olivia Bar­boza, who fash­ioned eas­ily the best in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance of her life in the 100 but­ter­fly.

She may have placed 24th in the pool of 54 swim­mers, but she hus­tled to a ca­reer-best clock­ing of 1:11.60.

It’s been quite the few weeks for Bar­boza, as she was se­lected the R.I. In­ter­scholas­tic League’s Fe­male Ath­lete of the Month (for De­cem­ber), not to men­tion her school’s Stu­dent of the Month.

“The suc­cess rate of our girls was far be­yond what I ex­pected, ei­ther in this meet or at this point of the sea­son,” McGarry said. “We had a lot of kids drop time; they ei­ther made state-qual­i­fy­ing stan­dards or did life­time bests. We want to do the same thing mov­ing for­ward.”


BAY VIEW IN­VI­TA­TIONAL SWIM­MING CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS At Brown Uni­ver­sity Team stand­ings – 1. North Kingstown 272; 2. Way­land, Mass. 249; 3. Bar­ring­ton 199; 4. La Salle 171; 5. Bay View 166; 6. We­ston, Mass. 157; 7. Hop­kin­ton, Mass. 143; 8. East Green­wich 141.5; 9. Prout 92; 10. Cum­ber­land 85.5; 11. Clas­si­cal 52.5; 12. Lincoln 52; 13. Moses Brown 51; 14. Lincoln School 47; 15. Smith­field 46; 16. Nar­ra­gansett 39; 17. Cranston East 38; 18. Toll Gate 36.5; 19. Portsmouth 34; 20. South Kingstown 24; 21. (tie) Char­iho, Wheeler 23; 23. North Prov­i­dence 13; 24. Cranston West 11; 25. (tie) Mid­dle­town, John­ston 2.

Area place­ments

200y med­ley re­lay – 11. Lincoln (Amanda Allen, Sadie Brown, Melissa Pierce, Lily Ja­cob­son) 2:02.74; 12. Cum­ber­land (Chelsea Fried­land, Cather­ine Shen, Cammy Cronin, Cait­lyn Long­est) 2:02.92.

200y in­di­vid­ual med­ley – 6. Sadie Brown (L) 2:17.39. 50y freestyle – 11. Caro­line Shen (CUMB) 25.98. 100y but­ter­fly – 10. Cronin (CUMB) 1:04.40. 100y freestyle – 7. Car. Shen (CUMB) 57.04. 200y freestyle re­lay – 6. Cum­ber­land (Cronin, Cat. Shen, Kheara Zito, Car. Shen) 1:46.59; 13. Lincoln (Emma Gianetti, Pierce, Anna Vy­goder, Natalie Jorge) 1:55.62.

100y back­stroke – 16. (tie) Fried­land (CUMB), Emily Aliotta (Class.) 1:06.08.

100y breast­stroke – 9. Brown (L) 1:11.63.

400y freestyle re­lay – 7. Cum­ber­land (Cronin, Zito, Cat. Shen, Car. Shen) 3:59.39; 12. Lincoln (Brown, Allen, Gianetti, Ja­cob­son) 4:10.10.

Pho­tos by Ernest A. Brown

Lincoln’s Amanda Allen, above, and St. Raphael’s Mor­gan McCann, be­low, were among the Black­stone Val­ley’s top fe­male swim­mers at Satur­day’s Bay View In­vi­ta­tional at Brown.

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