Boys, Girls Swim & Dive Win The Cape Cod Classic

Photo By David Creed

The Nantucket Boys and Girls Swim & Dive teams came out of the 16th annual Cape Cod Classic as winners on Saturday. The boys came from behind to score 101 points on the day and beat second place Martha’s Vineyard, who scored 90 points. The girls dominated from the opening event, scoring 191 points to second place Barnstable’s 71 points.

“There weren’t really any outstanding or mind blowing times,” head coach Jim Pignato said. “It was just nice to get them back in the pool and racing again. They are kind of where I expected them to be but we can’t stay here. We need to get better and seize the opportunities coming up for meets because any of them could be cancelled as we have seen.”

The boys had no choice but to scratch and claw their way to a seventh consecutive CCC title. The standings in full were Nantucket with 101 points, Martha’s Vineyard with 90 points, Barnstable with 55 points, and St. John Paul II with 29 points.

With star swimmer Justin Roethke not available for Saturday’s meet due to COVID protocols, the Whalers had to earn every point they accumulated on the day.

Senior captain Kevin Johnson, his brother and freshman swimmer Jake Johnson, eighth grader Parker Valero, and seventh grader Eli MacIlver were the ones pegged with the task of competing in the final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay, which would earn them the title if they came in first place. They did just that with a first place time of 3:46.98. The Vineyard came in second with a time of 4:21.77.

“We kind of had an idea that we needed to get a time of 4:20 or better going into this relay if we wanted to take it so decided to load up that group to make sure we finished in first place,” Pignato said. “I thought Eli did an amazing job for us stepping in for Justin. He has a whole lot of potential and he played a major role in this win.”

But to Pignato, this win would not have been possible and those four would not have been in the position they were in to win the classic at the end if it weren’t for Wyatt Penrose, Hunter Gross, Cameron Washington, and Sam Iller, the four other boy swimmers who provided quality depth and earned valuable points earlier on in the meet.

“Those four got us huge points,” Pignato said. “They may not be the ones who you consistently see spotlighted in stories, but we don’t win this meet without them. They came up huge and had solid days. I’m very proud of them.”

The boys did not slot anyone into the 500 yard freestyle due to their issues with depth, but made up for the lost points thanks to Gross, who earned seven points for his diving.

“Hunter got us some real valuable points there,” Pignato said. “He did a little bit of everything for us today. I can’t say enough about the kid.”

The girls standings in full were Nantucket with 191 points, Barnstable with 71 points, St. John Paul II  with 34 points, and Martha’s Vineyard  with 10 points. None of the three opposing teams threatened the Whaler’s odds of winning their eighth consecutive Cape Cod Classic at any point during the meet.

“The girls were just super dominating from the start,” head coach Jim Pignato said. “They just have so much depth and that was on display today.”

Pignato said senior diver Alexis Connole’s 186-184 win over Barnstable senior diver Catherine Ellis stood out.

“Catherine is a very good diver so for Alexis to win this was great for her,” he said. “She’s really become a great diver herself. Her dives were clean and smooth today. She was getting some sixes and sevens for scores. (Dive coach) Drew Arent works with her and does a great job.”

Pignato said he couldn’t say enough good things about senior Emma Davis. Davis formed a team with Maddie Bartleman, Hannah Gerardi, and Myah Johnson in the 200 yard medley relay. They earned a first place finish with a time of 1:57.87. She was also part of the 400 yard freestyle relay with Bartleman, Savannah Cox, and Macy Crowell on their way to a first place finish with a time of 3:56.39.

Davis also had two individual first place finishes in the 50 yard freestyle (25.99) and 100 yard freestyle (56.52). All four times were state qualifying times.

“A 25.99 isn’t her best time but it is still a great time and to see her in the 25s again is very nice” he said. “But I can’t say enough about the efforts of all these swimmers along with Alexis. They were fabulous today.”

There was one new state qualifying time from this meet, Pignato said. Kevin Johnson finished with a 52.04 in the 100 yard freestyle. A state qualifying time for this event must be 52.10 or lower.

There were several new sectional qualifying times achieved at this meet. These times included Cox and her effort in the 200 yard freestyle, finishing with a 2:06.25. A sectional qualifying time for this event must be 2:10.54 or lower.

Hannah Gerardi earned a sectional qualifying time in the 200 individual medley of 2:24.35. A sectional qualifying time for this event must be 2:27.67 or lower.

Alexis Connole earned a sectional qualifying score for her performance in her one meter diving (six dives) Saturday afternoon, earning a score of 186.

Hannah Gerardi earned a sectional qualifying time of 1:13.89 in the 100 yard breaststroke. A sectional qualifying time for this event must be 1:17.56 or lower.

Parker Valero earned a sectional qualifying time of 1:08.38 in the 100 yard breaststroke. A sectional qualifying time for this event must be 1:08.55 or lower.

The Whaler’s next meet will be on Thursday when they travel to take on the Nauset Warriors at 4 p.m. Both teams remain undefeated through their first three meets.

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