The Duxbury girls’ swimming and diving team began its season back in early December with 50 athletes. Through a series of dual meets that lead up to the Patriot League championship, 15 athletes qualified for the MIAA South/Central Sectionals. From there 11 swimmers made it to the MIAA Division II State Championships, the hardest and most competitive meet of their season.
Held last week at the Blodgett Pool at Harvard University, there was a Lady Dragon in every event. Coming in with the highest score for Duxbury was junior Ellie Johnson (25.5pts) with classmate Shelby Rader (24.5pts) right on her heels. Also contributing points were sophomore Hannah Hutchinson (17pts), senior Abby Mullen (15.5pts), sophomores Kelsey Golden (13pts), Jessie Goldberg and Katie Eagan (11.5pts each), Miranda VanDingstee (4.5pts) and senior diver Sam Tougas (3pts).
Beginning every meet is the 200-yard medley relay, typically showcasing the team’s top swimmers in every stroke. As was the case at Sectionals, Rader led with the backstroke, Johnson took over with the breaststroke, Mullen dove in for the butterfly, and Hutchinson ended with the freestyle. The four finished in sixth place, one of the team’s best showings.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Eagan took two full seconds off her previous best time with a 2:07.48. Not to be outdone, Goldberg took almost three full seconds off her time with a season low of 2:05.
The 200-yard individual medley requires each entrant to swim all four strokes. Johnson, who showed her ability as a strong all-around swimmer by adding points to her team’s final score, finished in 10th place.
In the 50-yard freestyle, Hutchinson finished her season with a time of 26.71. Rader demonstrated her excellence in the freestyle sprint and secured 11th place with a time of 25.75.
Catching the spectators’ eyes at the diving pool throughout the meet were the team’s three divers: freshman Avery Pisani, Golden and Tougas. Facing three rounds of diving, Pisani made it through round two, finishing her first States appearance with a final score of 115. Moving on to the third and final round were Tougas and Golden. Tougas, in her final performance at a high school meet, earned 14th place with a score of 310.95. Golden landed an impressive sixth place, tying her for the team’s top placement with a score of 368.90.
Back in the swimming lanes, four Lady Dragons competed in the 100-yard butterfly. VanDingstee and sophomore Michaela Morris ended their season with times of 1:05.51 and 1:04.90, respectively. Later, Eagan and Mullen garnered points for their team with Eagan finishing 16th at 1:02.83 and Mullen finishing 14th at 1:02.60.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Goldberg finished with a notable season low of 57.52.
Completing the exhausting 500-yard freestyle were Mullen and VanDingstee with final times of 5:50.79 and 5:48.91, respectively.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team featuring four athletes doing 50-yard sprints finished ninth overall with Hutchinson, Eagan, Goldberg and VanDingstee shaving almost 7/10s of a second off their seed time.
Facing an All-American swimmer who broke the meet record, Rader held her own in the 100-yard backstroke with an impressive 1:01.48, contributing 12 points to her team by placing seventh.
Johnson also placed seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke and matched Rader’s points by trimming her time down to a season low of 1:10.44.
Coach Jay Craft was charged with the difficult task of choosing four athletes for the meet’s final event: the 400 yard freestyle relay. With a final chance to add points to his team’s total and the top contenders pulling out all the stops, he went with Goldberg, Eagan, Hutchinson and Mullen who finished in seventh place with a time of 3:53.09.
The outstanding performance by Duxbury’s female swimmers earned the Lady Dragons a sixth-place finish (126 points) out of 37 teams at States.