Indian swimmers want to continue progress

The Turners Falls High School swimming team has some individuals this season who will look to try and give the Indians a presence, once again, in the Western Mass. championships.

Mother-daughter coaching team Nancy Yankowski and Kelly Yankowski return to the post after a one-year hiatus. The duo are greeted by a number of swimmers they are familiar with, many of whom are two years older and primed to compete with some of the best swimmers in the western part of the state.

“We have some very good swimmers,” Nancy said. “The kids have been working hard and they’ve made so much progress from the last time I was coaching. That hard work will hopefully lead them to qualifying for the western Mass. meet.”

As has been the case for years now, the numbers issue facing the team will prevent it from winning meets against larger squads. But the talent that comes back could lead to the team qualifying multiple individuals.

“That’s the hope,” Kelly explained. “We don’t have any seniors on the team, but some of them have been here for a while now and they are showing a lot of improvement.”

The girls’ team consists of 10 swimmers, including three juniors who are all returnees. Mackenzie Salls will compete in numerous events, including the backstroke and individual medley, while classmate Nicole John swims the distance events and butterfly. Matterson Heath is a freestyle swimmer. Mackenzie Phillips is the lone sophomore on the team and is a dual event swimmer with the sprints and backstroke as her main specialties. Freshmen Melissa Hersey and Hailey Trott will both compete in the freestyle and backstroke.

The team also has four seventh graders — Kate Garcia, Bianca Martin, Kimberly Petrowicz and Julia Massey — who will all swim the freestyle events and try some others.

The boys’ team is seven swimmers deep. Junior Ian MacPhail could have a strong season in the butterfly, IM and freestyle, while sophomore Jay Fritz is another swimmer primed to make some noise in the freestyle sprints. Junior Alex Tirrell is back to swim in the freestyle and backstrokes, while junior James Dolan and sophomore Riley Palmer will both compete in sprints and the breaststroke.

The two newcomers to the team are eighth graders Chase Blair and Branden Chapin. Blair has looked good in the butterfly early on, while Chapin will swim the freestyle.

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