MAKING A SPLASH

The Narragansett girls swim team.

It’s been a resurgent season for the Narragansett High School girls swim team. 

After two challenging years in Division I, the Mariners are in Division III, a more suitable spot for one of the state’s smallest public schools. The move coincided with the arrival of a strong freshman class, and the results have been impressive. The Mariners beat their first three opponents by an average of 55 points. 

“This move to Division III has been a breath of fresh air for our five returning swimmers,” head coach Jody Waranis said. “The other breath of fresh air has come from a large freshman class of 11 swimmers. Half of our swimmers are not new to the pool and it has shown.”

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s realignment formula is tricky for programs like Narragansett, which has featured some of the state’s best swimmers over the years despite the school’s low enrollment numbers. The reward for success was the bump to D-I, which resulted in two straight 0-9 seasons. 

Swim teams around the state are experiencing very different seasons this year, with so-called virtual meets instead of the usual head-to-head competition. Teams swim a meet at their own pools, then compare scores. For the Mariners, the success has also been different but more welcome. They beat Cranston West 75-19, PCD/St. Raphael 70-23 and Pilgrim 77-14. 

“Although the girls have to do virtual meets they come to the pool ready to win every meet,” Waranis said. “I not only credit the talented freshman class with the end result of these high scores but I also credit the large number of swimmers contributing. We have been able to fill every event including our relays and because of this we are walking away with five to nine points in every event. It has been rare for us not to walk away with a first place in each swim thus far.” 

Hannah Conlon and Julia Highcove are the lone seniors and are pulling their weight in key events. Junior Livy Waranis – who also plays basketball for the Mariners – is chipping in. Abby Bauman, Daizy Sweetman, Maggie Taplin, Maddie Tally and Isabel Tahlmore have carried the torch for the freshman class. Other contributions have come from everyone on the roster. 

“Every girl this year has earned us a point so far,” Waranis said. 

This Saturday’s virtual matchup with Toll Gate shapes up as Narragansett’s toughest test of the season. 

“It won’t be easy especially when we aren’t swimming side by side,” Waranis said. “But I know they can do it. They remain competitive every time they dive in.”

Postseason plans have not yet been set for swimming, but the Mariners are hoping to get a shot at the division championship. Whatever happens, this year will go down as a great step for the program. 

“If we get to swim in the divisional meet I know these girls have a goal to hang up a banner in their school. But they will have to continue to work hard to make that happen,” Waranis said. “They also have a goal of moving to Division II and possibly back to Division I in the years to come. If all our girls stay swimming, I believe they can make it happen.”

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