In Movie-Worthy Style, Julia Lawlor Joins Red Tide 1,000 Point Club at States; Theo Bodet Also Achieves Milestone at State Meet

Julia Lawlor WHS’22 with Coach Jim McLaughlin. Courtesy Photo

Last Saturday, February 26, at the MIAA Division 2 State Swimming Championships at Boston University, Julia Lawlor, a senior at Weston High School, achieved what only 19 girls in the 50-year history of the Red Tide had done before her–scoring her 1,000th high school point.

At a meet filled with success (Weston Boys won Division 2, Girls came in third, Paul Shen broke the Boys varsity record in 100-yard breaststroke, and Theo Bodet also joined the 1000 point club), Julia’s success was special. Fighting back from knee surgery, Covid cancellations, a freak swimming concussion, and catching Covid herself, reaching 1,000 points at the state meet was vindication and joy. 

In case you’re wondering, 27 boys have reached that point total – two this year (Nyle Linnard a couple of weeks ago (see Owl here), and Theo Bodet at the state meet on Saturday (Theo, Nyle, when you’re ready for your cameo, the Owl is listening). 

Theo Bodet with coach McLaughlin
Nyle Linnard with former coach Valle and coach McLaughlin

“It is just an incredible achievement that Julia got her 1000th point on her final swim at the state meet!”, said Coach Jim McLaughlin. “I couldn’t be happier for her.”

There could not be a more exciting finish for Julia — and if you don’t know what the points actually mean, here’s a quick review from the coach: 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.

Before Julia’s last race at States, which was the 400 freestyle relay, she needed 2.5 more points to complete the 1000 point total. The 400 freestyle team was made up of Julia, Maddy Schiller’23, Natalie Rassiger ’23, and Julia’s sister Celia ’24.  When the race was done, the team had come in 10th place, which added 3.5 points to Julia’s total point count, and pushed her over into the 1,000 point club. There is no more skin-tingling road to victory than with the last race, a one-point margin of success and sharing it with your teammates including your younger sister. That is cool. Tingle away.

The Owl caught up with Julia by email this week:

Owl: What were the biggest challenges to your goal of 1,000 points?

Julia: I would say the biggest challenges to my goal have been setbacks due to personal injuries, as well as the effects of the pandemic on our season. Over the years, I have unfortunately had to miss parts of my season due to injuries, and additionally, have had many meets canceled due to Covid-19. I am so excited that I was still able to accomplish this goal of mine.

Owl: How did Covid make this all more challenging? 

Julia: Covid certainly changed many aspects of our season. Many of our meets in the winter of 2020/2021 were virtual meets. In these meets, point totals still fall as usual, but racing circumstances are more challenging as you cannot see your opponent right next to you. We also had many championship meets completely canceled during my junior season of the winter of 2020/2021. Championship meets often allow athletes to score more points than dual meets, and therefore it was tough for me when these meets were canceled.

Julia at States (parental photo credit)

Owl: Did you ever doubt you would make it to 1,000? 

Julia: This year was an especially difficult season for me, and although I was ecstatic with how it ended, I did doubt that I was going to make it to 1,000 throughout my season. 

At the end of my freshman year, I was beyond excited when I noticed that I potentially could be in the running to score 1,000 points by my senior year. Although my sophomore season was cut short due to a knee injury and surgery, I was still pleased with my point total. During my junior season, however, Covid-19 canceled many of our dual meets and championship meets, so I initially thought that my goal would no longer be possible. 

During my senior season, I learned that my goal might still be achievable, but then things did not go as expected. I missed the first month of my season due to an injury, and just as I was getting back into training, our team was shut down due to Covid-19 cases. Soon after we started up with practices and meets again, I was diagnosed with Covid myself and missed many more meets. The thought of achieving this goal really wasn’t even on my mind when I came back to the pool; I was just hoping to get back to training and having fun with my teammates. 

In the last few weeks of the season, Coach McLaughlin told me that he had totaled my points to be 972. We were honestly both shocked. With only the State Championship left as my final meet, we realized that although it would be difficult, it might be possible for me still to complete this goal of mine.

I was satisfied with my times at the state meet–I competed in the 200 freestyle, the 500 freestyle, and then the 200 freestyle relay. Before my last race in the 400 freestyle relay, I was shocked and so excited to hear that I only needed 2.5 more points to complete the 1000 point total. I could not have been happier to achieve the goal with the help of my teammates Maddy Schiller, Natalie Rassiger and my sister Celia. 

Owl: What would be your advice to any athlete who also wants to break 1,000 points? 

Julia: My advice would be to go for it! All of the Tide coaches are super helpful with strategizing point totals in meets so I would definitely have the conversation with them. Goals are achievable when you are willing to work hard for them, and the best part of the Tide team is how excited teammates are for you when you accomplish something you have been working towards. 

The Lawlors: Hank, Julia, Heather and Celia

Owl: Anything you want to add?

Julia: I definitely owe a huge thank you to all of my friends, family, and coaches who have supported me for so many years. My parents, Hank and Heather Lawlor, have been amazing in all that they have done for me and I cannot thank them enough for their endless support. My teammates on the Tide team are some of the most supportive people I have met and I am so incredibly grateful to have gotten to know each and every one of them. The energy of the Tide team is like no other, and I am really going to miss swimming with my friends more than anything.

I also owe a huge thank you to my USA Swimming team Charles River Aquatics with Coach Jon Castaldo for helping me to improve to the next level and for always believing in me.

Finally, I would not have been able to achieve this goal or also have the opportunity to be a part of this incredible team without my coaches. Coach Valle and Coach McLaughlin have done so much for me throughout my four years, and I have also had the privilege of working with Coach Gavin, Coach Monz, Coach DiPietro, Coach Jakubowski and Coach Handley. All of these coaches have had such a positive impact on my swimming and beyond, and I am so utterly grateful for all of my experiences with the Tide team.


Congratulations Julia! (and to Nyle and Theo as well!) The Owl is amazed at how you all fought through Covid setbacks and cancellations to make us all proud.

Go ‘cats!

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