Area swim teams are ramping up for the postseason, with a taste of real competition ahead.

The regular season was all “virtual” meets, with teams swimming in their own pools and coaches comparing times after the fact. In lieu of the division and state meets this season, teams will compete in dual-meet brackets in each division and will compete in-person to do it. Matchups are set to begin this week.

Several area teams are hoping to make good runs in the playoffs, as they look to build on solid seasons.

Mariners top D-III

The Narragansett girls team will be the No. 1 seed in the Division III bracket thanks to a dominant 10-0 record in dual meets. The Mariners were coming off two winless seasons in D-I. Realignment happened this year, and a strong freshman class arrived at the same time, combining for a big turnaround.

“Maggie Taplin, Abby Bauman and Maddie Tally have scored the most points in their individual events this season,” head coach Jody Waranis said. “Isabel Tahlmore, Daizy Sweetman, and Livy Waranis are right behind them. It’s amazing to say that it appears our swimmers’ biggest competitors are each other.

“Hannah Conlon, Julia Highcove, Natalia Salvadore and Quinn McGill have been the icing on the cake by swimming times that beat our opponents and keep us scoring in two out of three places in each race. That has been key for us. In swimming, you can only enter two swimmers in each event. Therefore, in order to secure wins, it’s important every swimmer places. I am proud to say we have always placed twice. It’s a nice goal and I’m proud of the girls for achieving that.”

The team won each of its dual meets by at least 39 points and will be the favorite in the D-III bracket. The Mariners will swim a quarterfinal meet on Sunday, against the winner of the preliminary round match between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds.

Co-op takes fourth in D-I

The strange season didn’t alter the trajectory of the South County co-op boys team, which remained one of the top teams in the state in its third year of competition. The team finished fourth in Division I, with a 5-2 dual-meet record.

Featuring swimmers from Prout, Narragansett and Chariho, the team beat La Salle, Lincoln, East Greenwich, North Kingstown and Portsmouth, with its only losses coming against perennial powerhouses Bishop Hendricken and Barrington.

Drew Jalbert won’t get a chance to defend his two state titles from last year, but he’ll lead the way for South County in the postseason.

“Even though they are only racing against teammates at meets they have really done everything they can at each meet to make it fun, and still have good races,” coach Joe Tarasevich said. “Drew Jalbert, August Byrne, and Aivan Durfee have all helped the team environment and kept the boys going.”

The co-op squad will swim against Lincoln in the quarterfinals.

Prout girls deliver strong season

The Prout girls team remained in the top tier in D-I with a 6-3 dual-meet showing. The season began with two straight losses, but a big finish followed, including a four-point win over rival North Kingstown. The Crusaders’ only losses came to East Greenwich, Barrington and La Salle, the three teams ahead of them in the standings.

“It’s been a rough season with quarantines, covid cases, virtual meets but the kids have really showed up,” Tarasevich said.

The Crusaders have only four seniors on the roster, but have leaned heavily on a big group of underclassmen, including nine sophomores.

“Paige Meller, Brenna Furlong, and Izzy Gianetto have been putting up some fast times and helping the girls push forward into our championship season,” Tarasevich said.

Skippers holding their own in rebuilding year

The North Kingstown boys and girls teams both lost big graduating classes last season, but have leaned on returning standouts and growing depth to hang in there against tough D-I slates. The girls team finished 5-5 and the boys went 3-6 in dual meets.

Senior Abby Maguire, the two-time 200-freestyle state champion, was up to her usual tricks despite the lack of competition, swimming her top event in 1:54.12. She also chipped in for the 200 IM, 500 freestyle and 100 butterfly at various points this season.

“Abby Maguire continues to have a great year swimming on the team this season,” head coach Kathy Carlson said. “Her energy gets the team fired up for meets.”

Maguire is a captain along with Molly Coghlin, Emma Cotsonas and Layne O’Connell.

Sophomore Bridget Robenhymer has been a big contributor thanks to her versatility. She swims the 200 IM, 100 backstroke and 500 freestyle, while pitching in for the 50 free and 100 butterfly when needed.

Freshman Marykate Hanus has been a welcome addition, bringing depth to the same events that Robenhymer swims and creating competition between them. Junior Eve Piazza is helping the team in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and two relay teams.

Other members of the team that have chipped in are Ani Tamboe, Julia Cotsonas, Annika Eriksen, Sofia Simas, Grace MacKrell, Cameryn Preble, Fallon Preble and Emma Michaud.

The girls were scheduled to face Moses Brown in a preliminary-round meet on Wednesday.

The boys team has been led by captains Ben Maguire, Alex Ong and Alex Soucy. One of the top standouts is a newcomer. Freshman Zach Szabo has been swimming the 50, 100, and 500 freestyle, as well as the 100 backstroke.

A state contender last season, Gresh Laing is swimming the 200 IM at 2:11.54, the 200 freestyle at 1:56.28 and the 100 butterfly at 59.85. Quinn Powers and Troy Fielding are also scoring big points. Szabo, Laing, Powers and Fielding are leading the relay units, as well.

Other swimmers who have helped the team this year are Maguire, Soucy, Connnor Moreau, Nick Swanson, Drew Downey and Jacob Hall, who are providing important depth. Ong is working to improve his time in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, while junior Nate Wilk is also making progress in his 50 free and 100 breastroke.

The North Kingstown boys, seeded seventh, will face Barrington in the quarterfinals.

Rebels dove in to opportunity

Like the rest of the state, South Kingstown swimmers weren’t sure there would be a season. They also didn’t have a coach until Dec. 6, when former North Kingstown coach Leslie Becki stepped in to help.

“I’ve been living in Pittsburgh but my sister lives here, so I came back to help out,” said Becki, who coached Elizabeth Beisel at North Kingstown. “We’ve made it work and it’s been a lot of fun.”

The boys team finished 3-4 in D-II, while the girls went 2-6. The boys are facing Cranston East in the first round of the playoffs, with the girls slated to swim against Westerly.

Knoll French and Aidan Symington are the captains for the boys team. French has been a standout performer, along with Jimmy Robbin and Andrew Cappelli.

Sarah Duckworth and Hannah Lancia are the captains for the girls. Lilly Robinson, Anna Kelly and and Addy Crout have been among the top performers so far.

“I think our team handled the season really well,” Becki said. “Being virtual, they really competed against each other and tried to beat each other out. I think they appreciated being able to see each other, to train and to compete. The goals were just to see if we could get everybody to improve. Our season was too short to get in great shape, so it was really about fundamentals – starts, turns, sprinting, short distance power.”

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