Bulldog swimmers end regular season on a high note

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Sophomore Brianna Gilchrist has been a key part of 2 sectional-qualifying relays. (Mike Barucci photo)

Sophomore Brianna Gilchrist has been a key part of 2 sectional-qualifying relays. (Mike Barucci photo)

The Canton High boys swim team notched its eighth win of the season and the girls produced two more sectional qualifiers in an exciting final meet against Mansfield last Thursday night at Wheaton College.

“It was such a good meet and both teams were very close,” noted head coach Cheryl Cavanaugh. “The boys won 87.5-82.5 and the girls meet came down to the 400 freestyle relay. We needed to finish first and were winning for most of the race, but the Mansfield swimmer, who was the state champion from last year, caught us at the last second.”

While the Canton girls went on to lose the meet 89-82, the runner-up 400 free relay team did manage to qualify for the south sectionals behind strong performances from Emily Beatty, Brianna Gilchrist, Maddie Nourse, and Brianna Mitchell.

Freshman Jessie Hart, who is the daughter of longtime Canton Dolphins coach Sandy Hart, also qualified for sectionals in the 100-yard breaststroke with a personal-best time against the Hornets. The girls 200 freestyle relay has qualified as well, and both Nourse and Mitchell are “very close” in their respective strokes with one final shot at this weekend’s Hockomock Championship meet in Milford.

In the Mansfield meet, Nourse won the butterfly with a new personal best and also took first in the 50-yard free, while Mitchell placed second in both the 200 free and 100-yard backstroke. Gilchrist added a win in the 500 free with a personal-best time and Beatty took third with a personal best in the 200 IM. The 200 free relay team of Hart, Emily Pham, Maddie Rousseau, and Gilchrist finished first and briefly helped the girls tie the score at 62-62.

On the boys’ side, no one has qualified for sectional or state competition, but senior Justin Diep still has a chance to do so in the 50 free. Diep won the event against the Hornets and also placed second in the 100 fly with a new personal best.

Freshman Matt Thompson also had a great meet with wins in both the 200 and 500 free — both with personal-best times. Also posting personal bests against Mansfield were Brendan Mitchell in the 200 IM, Devin Kelley in the 100 free, Colin Messinger in the backstroke, and Chris Milne in the breaststroke. All four swimmers placed second in their events while Mitchell added a third-place finish in the 100 fly.

With the victory, the boys finished 8-3 overall and clinched second place in the Davenport Division with a 4-1 league record. The girls also placed second in the Davenport at 4-1 and finished the regular season at 6-5 overall.

Both teams will now prepare for the league meet at Milford High School with the boys racing tomorrow afternoon and the girls competing on Saturday starting at 9 a.m.

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