Swim Team’s Five-Year Undefeated Streak Ends

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The Williston Girls Swim team impressive half-decade winning streak has come to an end.

Late on Wednesday, December 8, the team suffered a devastating 95-91-point loss against Division I school, Hopkins Academy. The suspenseful competition continued until the last event, as the Williston girls A relay of the 400 freestyle fell just short by just 6.5 seconds, an event that would’ve won the meet. The heartbreaking score abruptly ended the team’s 35-0-0 meet winning streak, spanning just under five years of undefeated seasons.

The Girls swim team are three-time first place NEPSAC champions, and one time 2nd place in the last four years. The last time they lost a meet was February 11, 2017, against Division I Suffield Academy. Despite the team’s impressive record, the loss was predicted by Coach David Koritkoski and the team’s senior captains.

According to the United States SwimCloud, Hopkins Academy participated in the New England Division I prep school championship last year, whereas the Williston Northampton school participated in the New England Division II prep school championship.

Koritkoski, 23-year coach of the coed swimming and diving team, was expecting a significantly larger point difference going into the meet.

“I thought we would be competitive, but I didn’t think it would be as close as it was given the historical greatness of Hopkins,” he said. “As one of the two Division I teams we swim, over all my years coaching, we’ve only beaten them five or six times.”

A boy swimmer, who preferred to remain anonymous, was also expecting the girls’ team to lose to Hopkins Academy given their ability change from previous years.

“I was expecting there was a pretty good chance that you guys were going to lose … everyone went pretty slow the meet before,” he said. “If you guys had to race yourselves from two years ago, the current team would’ve been smoked, it would be over in a minute.”

In the 2019-2020 swim season, both the girls’ and boys’ teams were smaller given the lack of in-person meets. The strict regulations around masking in the pool area, along with the optional afternoon program policy for day students, deeply decreased the number of swimmers on the team. This year, new recruits and other incoming students along with many returners who took a year off created a team with a relatively diverse skill level and unestablished dynamic.

Hayden Hedstrom, a sophomore new to the team from Bolton, Mass., thought the meet was a learning experience for her and the team as a whole.

“The Hopkins meet was a new experience for me, as it was my first away meet and … each time I race I learn new experiences to improve upon,” Hayden said. “As of our team chemistry, we’re always there to cheer our teammates on, even though we may not even know them too well.”

Not only was Hopkins the first away meet for many of the girls, but the first loss on Williston’s swim team for all girls except for four individual six-year seniors. Many people stated the loss was necessary for the overall future success of the team.

Ava Larkin, a D1 commit to Providence College, and Girls Swim Captain, believes this meet was a defining moment for the team’s season.

“Losing our streak was inevitable but having an early season loss has definitely humbled our team and made each girl’s desire for improvement stronger,” Ava said. “Despite the score, I’m proud of how we swam.”

The team’s positive energy continued as both the boys’ and girls’ swim team competed and won first place at the Kingswood Oxford invitational on Saturday December 11, 2021. The team similarly won all four heats of the underwater relay, a unique event only at the K.O. Invitational consisting of a 100-meter race without breathing.

Blayne Lapan, Williston’s strength and conditioning coach, speaks highly of the swim team’s attitude and energy in the weight room on the following Friday as compared to the Tuesday before the Hopkins Academy meet.

“You could tell there was a refocus of the group,” Lapan said. “The enthusiasm was up, the attention to detail was up and there was an overall buzz in the weight room that day.”