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After growing in size from just 82 swimmers last summer to 105 this summer, more than half of which (59) qualified for the A Regional Championships, along with an 8-3 dual meet record in the Suburban Summer Swim League, it’s safe to call the summer of 2019 a successful one for the Needham Sharks. In fact, it might even be the best the program has ever had. In a town like Needham where swimming is more than just a passion, that’s saying something.
"This season was our first season at the new Rosemary Recreation Complex and Needham Park and Recreation has been so supportive towards our program this season,” said Sharks head coach Kate Curtin. “They’ve allowed us to expand our coaching staff and providing us with practice time in the evenings as well as stroke clinics in the morning. With that support, our coaching staff was able to work more individually with swimmers, and we were able to see major improvements throughout the season. We had over half of our team make the cut times for A Regionals -- which is the qualifying championship meet in our league.”
The program, which has doubled in size since 2017 when there were just 50 swimmers, was a force to be reckoned with this summer no matter what pool or lake they splashed into. Wins against Millis, Westwood, Dedham, Medfield, Norwood, Natick, Sherborn, Canton helped Needham to a fourth place finish in the league.
"I am so happy with how our team performed this season, and I cannot wait to see what's in store for our program Summer 2020!”
In the Ehrlich Mile Swim on July 26, the Needham girls had five swimmers place in the top-50; Ava Sirignano (2nd), Ula Haller (7), Julia Rowe (21), Emma Jorgensen (45), Becky Hwang (46). The Lady-Sharks finished in fourth place out of 12 participating towns.
For the boys, Needham had five swimmers finish in the top-40. Henry Keegan took home first place while teammates Will Vallatini (10), Tommy Reichard (25), James Joyce (34), Gabe Simmons (36) right behind. The effort resulted in a fifth-place team finish.
At the A Regionals on August 10, Needham took home a third place team finish. Zoei Howard (25.49) won the 15-18 girls 50-yard freestyle. Allison Manning took first in the eight-and-under 25-yard backstroke with a time of 20.67. Callie Wukitch won the 15-18 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.85 as well as the 50-yard backstroke (27.85). The girls 10-and-under 100-yard freestyle relay team composed of Lacey Williams, Caroline Condon, Norah Simmons and Madeline Rowe won first place with a time of 1:03.13. The 9-12 200-yard freestyle relay team of Sydney Rubin, Carolyn Simmons, Julia Rowe and Rylan Jones also took first at 2:01.85.
On the boys side, Charlie Nascimben won the 15-18 50-yard breaststroke, breaking the league record with a time of 27.65.
At B Regionals, Needham’s 18-and-under 100-yard medley relay team of Maria Zimplas, Emma Jorgensen, Arielle Kim and Nichole Cauti placed second (1:21.61). Arielle placed second in the 11-12 50-yard butterfly (39.27). Nora Joyce (33.47) placed second in the 11-12 50-yard freestyle while Natali Guarrera took first. Emma Jorgensen won the 15-18 50-yard breaststroke at 38.92. Nora Joyce and Arielle Kim placed first and second respectively in the 11-12 50-yard breaststroke. Sophie Guarrera placed second in the 13-14 50-yard freestyle. Natali Guarrera won the 11-12 50-yard freestyle (33.41).
Needham’s 9-12 200-yard freestyle relay team of Lauren Wong, Katie Reale, Nora Joyce and Natali Guarrera placed second (2:26.33), while the 11-14 200-yard freestyle team of Maria Zimplas, Rosy Reale, Kylie O’Hearn and Sophie Guarrera took third (2:14.76).
Joey Boulous placed second in the boys eight-and-under 25-yard backstroke (28.61).