Weston HS Red Tide Rolls In: Senior Night, DCL Title, and Records Broken
Weston High School’s Swimming and Diving team, nicknamed the Red Tide, is having a spectacular 50th anniversary season and it’s not over yet. The Boys were undefeated (12-0) this season in dual meets and the Girls were 7-4. As a result, the Boys are Dual County League (DCL) Dual meet champions for the first time since 2013. If you don’t know how big a deal this is, remember that Weston is a teeny tiny itty bitty town next to other towns in DCL competition*–but the Wildcats Red Tide came up big.
The Owl caught up with coach Jim McLaughlin, who moonlights as a math teacher (haha) but has been coaching the boys and girls since the 2008-9 season. His first 12 years with the program were as an assistant to the Head Coach who was Claude Valle, a name known to many, again for his mathiness and for his coachiness. And now he has Lane 1 named for him at the pool. Anyway, it is now Coach McLaughlin’s second season as head coach, and he credits Mr. Valle for “teaching him everything he knows.”
By the way, no one seems to know exactly why the Red Tide is called that–some would call a red tide very bad news, though perhaps that is what Weston was for our competitors this year. The Red Tide was unable to fully celebrate their 50th anniversary with an invitational meet, unfortunately, due to a postponement (omicron) and then a giant snowstorm (ugh) — the invitational has been canceled and cannot be re-scheduled.
Owl: A couple of records were broken at the last meet on Friday, January 28. What were those?
Coach M: The 200 medley relay pool record was broken by the team of Theo Bodet (25.02), Paul Shen (26.76), Max Nelson (22.81), and Nyle Linnard (21.76) with their time of 1:36.35. The previous record of 1:37.09 was held by the impressive combination of Stuart Butts, Mike Grant, Chris Rossborough, and Graham Frankel. In addition, the team of Nyle Linnard (22.19), Max Nelson (21.58), Evan Hoaglund (21.72), and Theo Bodet (21.82) broke the pool record for the 200 free relay. Their time of 1:27.33 broke the previous pool record of 1:28.04, which was held by the legendary team of Jack Blyzinskyj, Tommy Peacher, Ryan Burrow, and Sam Cekala. [Videos of both of these relays as well as the other events last week can be found on our team youtube site].
Owl: We heard there’s a new 1000-point club member. What is that and who is that?
Coach M: Yes, Nyle Linnard scored 1000 points for us over his 4 years with the team. Each time you win a race in a dual meet, you can get 6 points for your team, 2nd place is 4 points, then it goes 3, 2, 1, for 3rd-5th. A winning relay will score 8 points for the team, so each of the 4 swimmers is awarded 2 points for the win. The most a swimmer can earn in a dual meet is 16 points, so making it to 1000 points is very impressive! At championship meets, where there are many more swimmers, a win can earn 20 points.
Owl: What’s coming up for the rest of the season?
We have our Dual County League meet this weekend, the Sectional meet next weekend, and States on the 26th and 27th of February. These are team competitions where each individual performance or relay swim earns points for the team. Both our Girls and Boys meets should be very exciting- on the Girls’ side we have two-time defending state champion Charlotte Martinkus who will be diving, as well as a group of very talented swimmers. On the Boys’ side we will see if we can continue their winning streak into the postseason.
Everyone participates in the DCL meet, but Sectional and States are limited to swimmers and divers who make the cutoff time/score. We will be bringing roughly 20 kids to the Sectional meet. It is incredibly exciting to have these meets as all of our meets last season were virtual (we would race at our pool while our opponents raced at their pool and the winning team was determined by a spreadsheet).
Owl: How many seniors are on the team and who are the captains?
Coach: All of our twenty seniors are considered captains and they have been amazing all season. They are:
Of these seniors, three were highly recruited and will be going on to compete at the D1 level next year. Ainsley Nalen will be swimming at Holy Cross, Theo Bodet will be swimming at UCSB, and Charlotte Matrinkus will be diving at Princeton.
Owl: Anything I forgot to ask?
Coach: I would like to also mention that I have amazing assistant coaches on staff who know the sport incredibly well and are amazing with kids. They are Cary Monz, Mike Gavin, Beth Jakibowski, Joe Cherico, and Sarah Altman. Each one is an amazing person to work with!
*From the Owl’s interview with Mike McGrath, Athletic Director, this is how small exactly Weston is compared to the hyphenated and other schools: “Being the smallest school in the Dual County League is very challenging. There are only 3 schools which have fewer than a thousand students, with Weston the smallest at 640. The other two, Bedford and Wayland, are close to 900 each. That said, the remaining 8 schools range from 1500-2000 students apiece which is a significant difference.“
All photos except cover photo courtesy of the Linnard family.