Six vie for state swimming titles this weekend

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams participated in a six-team meet on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at the Clark Memorial Pool in Winchendon, Mass.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams participated in a six-team meet on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at the Clark Memorial Pool in Winchendon, Mass.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams participated in a six-team meet on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at the Clark Memorial Pool in Winchendon, Mass.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams participated in a six-team meet on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at the Clark Memorial Pool in Winchendon, Mass.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams participated in a six-team meet on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 at the Clark Memorial Pool in Winchendon, Mass.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

All season long, swimmers from around the state have worked toward a trip to the University of New Hampshire this weekend.

And for six locals, they are among a select group to qualify for a shot at becoming a state champion. For some, the qualifying process seemed effortless, while others waited until their last chance to finally secure a spot.

The weekend will begin on Friday with the diving competition, but early Saturday morning is when all the area swimmers will arrive at Swasey Pool looking for their best performances of the season.

For three of the six, Saturday could mark the end of their high school swimming careers. Conant seniors Kory Patten and Kali Mailhot, and Mascenic senior Shawn Thibault will be making their last appearance at the D-II meet, while others like Wilton-Lyndeborough junior Hannah Bailey, Conant sophomore Katie L’Ecuyer and Mascenic freshman Briana Boulerice will have another chance next year. In addition to the six individual qualifiers, there will also be nine relay teams from the three schools.

For Mailhot, this is her third consecutive appearance at the Division II meet. Last year, she finished 15th in the 100-yard butterfly and will try to improve upon that as she enters the event seeded fifth with a time of 1:08.56 set on Jan. 18 at Monadnock. In the previous two appearances at the D-II meet, Mailhot swam a season-best time.

Patten will be making his second straight trip to the Division II meet, competing in the same two events. He enters Saturday’s meet ranked sixth in the 500-yard freestyle after posting a season best time of 5:52.02 on Jan. 18 at Monadnock. Patten will also swim the 200-freestyle and is seeded ninth.

Thibault enters the meet ranked 14th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:16.67, but if not for the Last Chance Invitational at Oyster River on Jan. 30, he would not have qualified. After coming within a second of the qualifying time during the scheduled meets, Thibault was still on the outside looking in before the meet on Jan. 30. But he eclipsed the standard by 0.32 seconds to make his first Division II meet.

Boulerice actually qualified for five events, but can only swim in two per NHIAA rules. So she decided on the 100-yard freestyle and the 100 breaststroke. She is ranked ninth in the freestyle and 11th in the breaststroke, an event she qualified for at the Last Chance Meet. Boulerice also could have swam in the 50- or 200-yard freestyles or the 100 backstroke.

L’Ecuyer is making her second straight appearance at the D-II meet in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. She is ranked eighth in the IM and ninth in the breaststroke after placing 13th and 11th, respectively, as a freshman.

Bailey will also swim the 100-yard breaststroke, joining L’Ecuyer and Boulerice. Bailey is ranked 12th in the event with a time of 1:20.26 after finishing 14th last year.

The Conant relay team of Mailhot, L’Ecuyer, senior Stephanie Simoneau and senior Lianne Vaillancourt will swim in the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle. Mailhot, Simoneau and Vaillancourt will be joined by senior Stephanie Johnson for the 400 freestyle.

The Conant boys team of Patten, Calvin Seppala, Christian Hirsch and Nate Shay will swim the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Mascenic will have three relay teams. The group of Thibault, Tyler Barney, Jackson Whitehouse and Damien St. Cyr will swim the 200 medley, while Nico DeJesus will substitute from Barney in the 200 free.

The Mascenic girls team of Boulerice, Kailey Allen, Kylee Ojala and Sarah Sharp will compete in the 200 freestyle relay.

Bailey, along with Charlotte Bailey, Hannah Lewis and Victoria Lorvig will also compete in the 200 freestyle relay.

The top six finishers in individual events and relays will compete in Meet of Champions on Sunday beginning at 2:30 p.m.

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