On the campus of MIT in front of a sold-out crowd, Westford won its third straight Division 1 girls’ swimming state championship. The team was led by its seniors, including University of Virginia commit Jen Marrkand, who broke state records in the 100 backstroke (54.08 seconds) and the 200 individual medley (2:01.56).
“We have a phenomenal senior class,” said coach Caitlin Klick. “Our three captains were at the top of their events. We are really going to miss them next year. They have really built a legacy for this team.”
The Grey Ghosts compiled 320 points, with Lincoln-Sudbury (211) second and Beverly (168) third.
Marrkand set herself apart from the other seniors in her two events.
“[Marrkand’s] trademark is her underwaters,” said Klick. “She has great underwater kick and that all comes from her discipline and training. It’s great to have the leader of your team and a captain be your hardest worker, too.”
Westford also won two of three team relays, taking the 400 freestyle and setting a state record in the 200 medley with a time of 1:46.39.
“We had a total team effort,” Klick said. “We were able to win two of the three relays and the relays are double points so they really helped us.”
According to Klick, what set Westford apart were its senior leadership and the team’s preparation.
“I know coming into these meets everyone gets nervous, but they still perform like veterans,” Klick said. “We talked before the meet about how this has been four years in the making. The girls know that they have to prepare themselves, they are such hard workers in practice so they know they are ready for this moment.”
According to Marrkand, coach Klick made practices as difficult as possible to prepare the team for a championship season.
“Our coach definitely made the hardest times for sets as possible during practice so I think that really helped us all,” Marrkand said. “[During practice] we would all say that we can’t do it but somehow, miraculously, we would all end up doing it.”
Other swimmers who stepped up for Westford were seniors Courteney Martin and Tori Weinstock.
“Courteney was able to pull off a second in the 100 butterfly and a third in the 100 backstroke, which is the highest she has ever placed,” said Klick. “Tori had two lifetime bests after being on the team for four years. Our seniors really set the tone today.”
Lincoln-Sudbury was led by sophomore Katherine O’Shea, who took second in both the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. Beverly was led by junior Astrid Swenson, who won the 100 butterfly and came in second in the 200 IM.
In other events, Algonquin’s Dorian McMenemy won the 50 and 100 freestyle; Concord-Carlisle’s Meghan O’Brien won the diving title for the third straight year; Chicopee’s Colleen Humel the 200 free; Masconomet’s Carlyn Soares the 500 free; and Milford’s Maddison Garber won the 100 breaststroke.