The Wellesley girls followed a familiar script to the program’s first MIAA Division 2 Swimming & Diving Championship.
The Raiders placed second in the afternoon’s first event, the 200-yard medley relay, to Ursuline Academy, but never trailed again — an exact repeat of last week’s South sectional meet at Boston University.
Wellesley surged to the lead by placing swimmers fourth, seventh, eighth, and ninth in the 200 freestyle and never looked back at MIT’s Zesiger Pool, racking up 430 points to outdistance Central Catholic (279), Ursuline (258), and defending champion Reading (242).
“The top end at this meet is so insanely fast, so I knew that was an obstacle,” said Wellesley coach Jen Dutton. “Once I saw how our girls did in the 200 free, the first individual event, I knew we were here to go. The freshmen came in for us in points today and the seniors were doing best times, so it really set the rhythm for the whole day.”
The Raiders registered an astonishing 31 Top 16 finishes en route to their first overall state crown since 1990.
“Depth is huge for us. I love the team aspect of it, and I want to be a team where everyone contributes, because it is a team sport even though it seldom feels like it,” said Dutton. “I love getting to see them take the team-first mentality because it turns out, they swim better.”
Freshman Naomi Boegholm was the Raiders’ lone individual state champion, winning the 200 individual medley (2:10.92). as one of two first-place finishes, along with the 200 freestyle relay (1:39.63), which senior Nellie Thompson, a second-place finisher in the 50 and 100 free, anchored in her final race.
“We didn’t expect any of this to happen, everything sort of paid off for us in the best way possible. We’ve come really far,” said Thompson. “I’m really happy that I could contribute so much to the team.”
Reading junior Molly Hamlin repeated as state champion in both the 200 free (1:51.74) and the 100 free (51.95), the latter of which broke her own meet record from last year.
Central Catholic’s Kerrigan Hemp, a University of Denver commit, joined Hamlin as a double-winner, taking the state title in the 100 butterfly (56.98) and repeating in the 100 backstroke (55.94), breaking her own meet record set back in 2017.
On the boys’ side, Walpole sophomore Casey Laliberte won both the 200 free (1:54.71) and the 500 free (5:07.96), both new meet records. His teammate, Michael Rose joined him as a double-winner in the 50 free (23.16 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (59.30 seconds), along with Milton senior Joe Pezzini in the 200 IM (2:03.42) and the 100 breast (1:00.69, a meet record).
The Walpole boys set a meet record in the 200 free relay (1:37.29) and Milton did the same in the 200 medley relay (1:46.30). Milton sophomore Andrew Tran, who swam on the medley relay, also won the 100 backstroke in 57.83 seconds, setting a new meet record.