Horstkamp-Vinekar earns two wins
Cumberland finishes third to finish impressive weekend
BRISTOL – Cumberland coach Rod McGarry just knew he had a perfect way to motivate his swimmers prior to their foray into the Division I Swimming Championships at the Roger Williams University natatorium early Sunday morning.
He simply brought up the fact that, the night before, the Clippers’ aquagirls had achieved a surprise second in the Division II meet standings with 299.5 points, and that only Bay View (369) had bested them.
“I told the guys about how the girls did on the team bus on the way here, and they were pumped up,” Mc- Garry stated. At the same time, he seemed to hint that there wasn’t a better way to inspire his males than to make them think the girls could place higher.
Apparently, the thought process worked wonders. McGarry’s bunch, led by junior double-winner Ian Horstkamp-Vinekar, racked up 225 points to snag third in the standings. Naturally, Hendricken gleaned the team crown with 475 points, while Barrington settled for second 416.
Those 225 recorded by CHS happened to be 17 more than fourth-place Westerly and 32 better than Wheeler School. The Clippers may have not finished second like the ladies, but McGarry couldn’t have been more satisfied with his crew.
“The goal was to dump as many points into the pot as possible, no matter how big or small,” McGarry noted. “The other strategy was to load the money events – the 200- yard and 400- yard freestyle relays. Those are two places where you can offset any weaknesses or disappointing swims, those that take away points, along the way.
“Plus, relays are double the points of an individual event; in the end, we got 64 from those two alone.”
Actually, Horskamp-Vinekar accounted for 104 of his club’s 225 points. He opened with the D-I title in the 200 freestyle (1:46.58), then captured another in the 100 butterfly (53.30). He also combined with freshman Nick Zerva, sophomore Thomas Brennan and junior Aidan Ocampo to col- lect third in the 200 freestyle relay (season-best 1:36.43), the the same quartet nailed down another third in 3:33.40.
“I think this was good for me,” offered Horstkamp- Vinekar, who took the 200 freestyle by almost a second and a half and the 100 fly by a little more than that. “Coach told me just to swim to win, and that’s what I did, but I swam pretty well. This gives me a benchmark of where I should be, so now I know where I should be in terms of times next week [ at the state championships, slated for Saturday at Brown University].
“We looked at this like two meets in one,” McGarry said. “On one side you had Hendricken and Barrington battling, and they always have a great meet whenever they go head-to-head. On the other side, you had everyone else fighting for the third spot. We knew it would be exciting because the state has other good teams in La Salle, Westerly and Wheeler.
“It’s cool because you have parity on two levels within the same division.”
The Clippers racked up those critical championship-heat points in a lot of fashions, and – besides Horstkamp-Vinekar – Zerva led the way. The driven freshman not only placed fourth in the 200 freestyle with a PR of 1:56.01, but also found the same spot in the 500 freestyle (5:13.91).
Then there was Brennan, who gained eighth in the 50 freestyle (24.41); Ocampo, who earned eighth in the 100 freestyle (PR of 56.57) and 15th in the 50 freestyle (25.36); sophomore Jack Doherty, 10th in the 100 backstroke (1:03.73); classmate Evan Goddard, 11th in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.45); and junior Maxx Litchfield, 14th in the 200 and 500 freestyle (with respective times of 2:10.82 and 5:55.16).
Sophomore Joe Beauvais contributed three more points with a 14th in the 200 individual medley (2:34.70), while classmate Nick Quaresma eked out one more with a 16th in the 100 breaststroke.
To be fair, the 200 medley relay unit of Doherty, Goddard, Beauvais and Litchfield got Cumberland off to a good start when it finished sixth overall in 1:55.95.