EASTHAM — The Nauset High swimming and diving team has been without its home pool at Willy’s Gym for most of the season, but that hasn’t stopped it from competing at a high level.
The boys finished out the regular season at 6-2 and the girls finished 7-1. The team was at M.I.T. this past weekend for the M.I.A.A. South Sectionals, competing in team relays, with five swimmers and one diver competing in individual events as well.
Freshman Tim Johnson competed in the boys’ 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard medley, sophomore John Szucs in the 100-yard butterfly, and senior Dory Carlson in the 100-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Alexia Colella competed in the girls’ 50-yard freestyle, freshman Kaitlin Bohannon in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly, and junior Delaney Smith in one-meter diving.
Bohannon, Johnson, Carlson, Szucs, Brady Alden, Tak Decker, Ethan Calouro, and Tristan Miller will represent Nauset at the Division II State Championships at Boston University this coming weekend.
It hasn’t been easy for the swimmers to prepare for competitions this year, with their home pool unusable since Dec. 12, when Willy’s Gym was closed abruptly due to health and safety violations. But the school, swimmers, and their families adapted quickly to salvage the Warriors’ season.
Nauset made arrangements with Sandwich High to hold most of its practices and meets there this season. With available time slots limited there, the team also held practices at the Chatham Health and Swim Club. Team members said they preferred practicing in Sandwich, mainly because the pool is regulation size — 25 yards long, as opposed to Chatham’s 20.
Swimmers got up at 4:30 a.m. to make one morning practice in Sandwich, but most morning practices were in Chatham, starting at 6 or 6:30 a.m.; afternoon practices in Sandwich ran from 4 to 5:30. The school day at NRHS starts at 8:30 a.m. and goes to about 3 p.m. Swimmers still had homework and other responsibilities to attend to throughout the season.
At practice on Feb. 4, all the swimmers were in high spirits, ready to get to work. They talked about what they had done to make the season work. There were shuttles in borrowed minivans, they said, and Sophomore Ethan Calouro even opted to rollerblade to practice in Chatham from his home in Orleans one morning. A teammate gave him a ride to school after practice.
The hardships, said freshman Tim Johnson, “only made us stronger as a team.”
This year’s team has a good mix of ages, with several strong underclassmen. That could bode well for the teams next year.
As for where they’ll practice, that’s not as clear. Besides the Sandwich and Chatham pools, there is only one other indoor pool students might be able to use, at Hyannis Youth and Community Center. “There are not enough pools on Cape Cod,” said Wendy Pierce, aquatics director at Sandwich High.
The pool in Sandwich, used for the school’s teams and rented to others, was built as part of a large-scale renovation done in the 1970s. Although NRHS is currently in the process of finalizing a proposed $130 million renovation project, a swimming pool will not be part of the plan because the Massachusetts School Building Authority has stopped funding swimming pools, along with many other sports facilities.