By Spencer Schultz
Assistant Editor of Promotion
The Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Varsity Girls Swim team has tried for over 8 years to defeat the league-dominant West Genesee Varsity Girls swim team. After many seasons with unsuccessful attempts, the Red Rams ended West Genesee’s 5-year win streak Sept. 9, adding another win to their 6-0 record.
The West Genesee meet was a challenge for the Red Rams, however, their biggest test of the season was against their rival New Hartford on Sept. 29. “West Genesee was just practice for the New Hartford meet,” says senior captain Meg Parker,” (New Hartford) has some really fast, state-level girls.”
J-D ended up defeating New Hartford 104-81, with help from divers, senior veterans, and many newcomers. Though the win against New Hartford was a success for the Red Rams, it doesn’t bode well for their performance during sectionals. “Who ever wins the dual meet in the regular season loses at sectionals,” says senior captain Meg Parker. In the long “rivalry” between J-D Coach Bob Bewley and New Hartford Coach Tom Wells, history has shown that the loser of the dual meet wins out at sectionals. Last year, J-D blew out New Hartford at the dual meet, but New Hartford came back to win sectionals in a close five point contest. “We’re out to get revenge and beat (New Hartford) in sectionals this year,” says senior captain Meredith Wagner.
It will all come down to who has more depth in their line up for sectionals, says Parker. Out of J-D’s 35-swimmer roster, about half have already qualified for sectionals. That doesn’t guarantee success however; “it doesn’t matter if you have a great front line, you need many quality swimmers to win sectionals,” says sophomore Lexi Phillips. In order to win sectionals, J-D will need help from more than just the team’s best swimmers; it will require everyone to perform their best.
J-D’s strong front lineup has been a large factor in maintaining their undefeated record this season, says Wagner. Senior captains Alden Coyne and Sophia Farchione are both among the top Section III swimmers in their events. Coyne is currently ranked third in in the 100 free with a time of 55.39, while Farchione brought in the fourth fastest 100 backstroke in the section with a time of 1:04.16.
Newcomer Amelia Hesler has been a breakout star for the Red Rams. As an eighth grader, Hesler is ranked fourth in Section III in the 200 free with a 2:02.24. “For a person as young as she is, that’s unheard of,” says sophomore Jamie Boeheim.
This season is the last chance for J-D’s six seniors to qualify for the state meet this November. Coyne hopes to return to the state meet for the fourth year in a row, after placing fourth in the state in the 50 and 100 freestyle last season. Phillips is working hard this season to individually qualify for states in the 200 and 500 free for the first time. Parker and Farchione are attempting to qualify for the state meet after narrowly missing the cuts last season. Other swimmers plan on going to the state meet on the 200 Medley, 200 free or 400 free relays, by being one of the four fastest swimmers on the team.
No J-D swimmer has qualified for the state meet this season. However, Phillips says this is nothing to worry about. “Most swimmers usually post their best times in the later half of the season, during Sectionals,” says Phillips. In the two week before sectionals, the swimmers are on a taper, where the practices are significantly easier to help rest them for Sectionals or the state meet.
Although the Red Rams have achieved tremendous success this season, the path to victory hasn’t come easy. In addition to the daily practice with the varsity team, some of the more dedicated swimmers attend practice before school at Syracuse University with the Syracuse Chargers Club team and lift weights with Evolution Fitness in Jamesville twice a week.
J-D hopes to win the sectional and state qualifier meets at the end of the season. “Everyone on the team is trying hard. It will be exciting to see what happens,” says Parker.