MVRCS girls swim team cruises to CAC title
The girls’ varsity swimming team at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School wrapped up a phenomenal regular season in late January at the Commonwealth Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship meet at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School. The girls competed against some of the top competition in the conference. The Eagles emerged victorious, besting the CAC competition across the board. The final scores reflected a truly full team finish, highlighted by the girls winning every individual and relay event.
In the first event of the day, the girls 200 medley relay team of eighth-graders Lucia Antonucci, Khloe Co and Isabella Cirame and freshman Crystal Tang finished with a time of 2:07.50, besting the field by nearly 10 seconds. In the next event, the 200 freestyle, twin sophomore sisters Makda Johannes and Miriam Johannes led the way with a one-two finish, with Miriam collecting the gold in 2:19.63, a full six seconds faster than her previous lifetime best. Makda collected the silver in another lifetime best by five seconds.
Up next was the 200 individual medley; the team’s two senior captains shined, as Deanna Guo began her last CAC meet with a gold medal finish in 2:23.28, a state qualifying time and her best time of the season. Guo has racked up more overall gold medals in the CAC than almost any other competitor in the history of the league. Fellow captain Rupa Raj followed close behind for the bronze medal in 2:41.78, an in-season best for the senior captain.
Not to be outdone by their upperclassmen leaders, the superstar group of Eagles eighth-graders led the way in a one-two-three finish in the 50 freestyle. Leading the way was Cirame, in 27.56, just off a sectional cut. Following close behind was Britney Nayiga in 27.60 and Antonucci in 28.24.
After the diving break, the Eagles were back in the water for the 100 butterfly. Guo, in her final CAC individual race, led the Eagles swimmers to another one-two-three finish. She was followed close behind by Co in 1:13.66 and Raj in 1:16.93. Co’s time drop in the 100 butterfly has been over 10 seconds since the beginning of the season.
Not to be outdone by the Eagles seniors and eighth-graders, the ninth-graders were now up in the 100 freestyle. Lana Santos scored her first-ever CAC gold medal and sectional cut time in 58.61. Cirame completed her sprint day by taking second in 1:01.42, and Tang finished in third place with a lifetime best of 1:01.95.
After the 100 freestyle, Miriam Johannes was back in the pool and completed her double gold medal distance day by capturing the 500 freestyle in 6:21.63, her lifetime best. She was followed by eighth-grader Isabelle Pennachio in 6:31.33 and Makda Johannes in fifth place in 6:49.32. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Antonucci, Miriam Johannes, Raj and Makda Johannes took the gold in 1:59.73.
Following the relay, freshman phenom Santos was back in the water for the 100 backstroke. She turned in one of her best races of the season to grab gold and finish in 1:06.59, another sectional cut for the freshman. Co and Pennachio finished out their stellar first years with the Eagles with third and fifth place finishes, respectively. Co’s time of 1:11.65 reflects another drop of nearly 10 seconds from the beginning of the year.
To close out the individual races of the meet, the eighth grade girls showed that they are truly the future of the CAC. Nayiga, Tang and Antonucci contributed to another Eagles one-two-three finish with times of 1:15.15, 1:17.97 and 1:19.94. Both Tang’s and Antonucci’s times were lifetime bests.
Finally, to close out the meet, the team of Guo, Santos, Tang and Nayiga blew away the field by 26 seconds to record their best time of the season and a state cut.
“We simply were on fire today. What I am most impressed by is the significant contribution by the younger swimmers on this team. We have asked a lot from them over the course of the season in terms of dedication, practice time, and meets. They have continued to respond in a very positive way,” said Coach Andrew DiGiacomo.“As I said early this year, the future is very bright here at Mystic Valley. I am also incredibly proud to send off Deanna and Rupa in their last ever CAC meet with a big win. Both Deanna and Rupa have been swimming for the team since seventh grade and will leave the school as two of the most decorated swimmers in CAC history.”