Despite having a roster with only 10 athletes, the Hopkinton High School boys swimming team put together some memorable moments this winter, with four swimmers earning spots at the sectional and state meets.
“Having such a small team does make it hard to fill the lanes at our meets, but we did exceptionally well at the Tri-Valley League Showcase meet,” coach Kristen Wells said.
The TVL Showcase followed a 4-4 regular season for the Hillers. Hopkinton earned a third-place finish at the showcase, which took place at Boston Sports Institute in Wellesley.
Junior Davis Peishoff took home first place in the 100 butterfly at the TVL meet and added a third-place finish in the backstroke. Owen Picard, a freshman, earned a pair of top-five finishes by placing fourth in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events.
“He is another really strong swimmer,” Wells said.
Those two swimmers teamed up with juniors Caleb Burke and Lucas Coffman to swim in both the medley relay and the 400 free relay. All four boys qualified for sectionals and states in their respective individual or relay events, and the team’s showdown with Holliston/Medway provided Wells one of the most memorable moments of her coaching career.
“Each leg of the race matched up super well, it was a very even race and, at each leg, the next swimmer kept diving in at the same time,” Wells said. “The energy was great on the deck and in the stands. Everyone was super into that race.”
Adding to the drama was the fact that no other team was particularly close to the two leading relay squads. Even though Hopkinton ultimately finished second, the Hillers swam what Wells called “the race of their lives” to turn what was expected to be a blowout into a nail-biter.
“We dropped 15 seconds from the season’s best time, which is kind of unheard of,” she said.
Peishoff qualified for the postseason in both the butterfly and the backstroke, Burke earned a spot in the backstroke, and Picard in the 100 freestyle. That trio joined Coffman on the two relay teams with qualifying times for both sectionals and states.
Wells said the team has a small but close-knit roster, and practices were more efficient because of the smaller group and the lack of crowds in each lane. Hopkinton will graduate just two seniors — Declan Hanscom and Conner Willadsen — and Andy Li joins Picard as a strong freshman who was able to make some noise in his first season with the program.
“A lot of our strong swimmers are juniors, so they will be great leaders next year,” Wells said. “And having two talented freshmen come in is very promising moving forward as well.”