Whittier has strong day in pool but Turners falls to South Hadley

Recorder Staff
Friday, December 08, 2017

It did not take Olivia Whittier long to qualify for the new Central West Swimming and Diving Championships.

The Turners Falls High School freshman opened the season by finishing second in the 100-yard breaststroke and qualifying for the postseason but her team suffered a 61½-21½ loss to South Hadley High School in an independent meet Friday afternoon in South Hadley.

This season marks the first time that the former Western Mass. Championships merged with central Mass., which also made qualifying much more difficult. Whittier was undeterred in her postseason quest, winning the 100 breast in 1 minute, 18 seconds to get under the qualifying mark by a full second. Whittier also won the 200 individual medley in 2:37.

“She swam well,” Turners head coach Nancy Barry-Yankowski said. “She’s been working really hard at practice and she swam very well.”

The elimination of a true Western Mass. meet also led organizers to create a “Last Chance Meet,” which swimmers also must qualify for this season. Anyone who qualifies for that will have a chance to qualify one final time for the Central/West meet, the thinking being that swimming against other top competitors will help swimmers achieve personal bests that could help them get into the Central/West meet according to Barry-Yankowski. Turners Falls had several swimmers also qualify for the Last Chance Meet on the day, including Whittier’s 200 IM time.

Jade Tyler, who qualified for Western Mass. in a pair of events last season, punched her ticket to the Last Chance Meet in two events. The freshman qualified in the 200 freestyle with her winning time of 2:17.96, and she qualified in the 500 free with her winning time of 6:16.06. Allison Wheeler finished second in the 100 backstroke in 1:37.12.

The Turners Falls 400 freestyle relay time of Jordan Muniz, Wheeler, Whittier and Tyler tied for first place in 4:42.68.

• On the boys’ side, Cameron Bradley qualified for the Last Chance Meet in two events but Turners suffered a 46-29 loss to South Hadley.

Bradley won the 100 back in 1:07.14 and finished second in the 100 butterfly in 1:03.82.

He will be joined at the Last Chance Meet by Nick Taylor, who finished second in the 500 freestyle in 6:34.31 to qualify. Taylor also came in second in the 200 free in 2:24.33.

Nik Martin won the 100 free in 1:11.88, and Tommy Hall finished second in the 100 breast in 1:32.56.

The 200 medley relay team of Will Turn, Bradley, Taylor and Martin finished second in 2:17.84.