Swimming: O’s, Vikes heading for states

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant and Mascenic swim teams competed at Keene on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/21/2019 5:45:32 PM

Catch a Conant swimming pre-meet hype-up session, and you might see the Orioles cheer “Which way are we going?” The response: “That way!”

“Usually, we’re pointing toward the finish,” said Conant junior Garrett Cournoyer. And usually, it’s Cournoyer leading the way for the Orioles; one of Conant’s top swimmers, he’s already qualified for the Feb. 9 NHIAA state championship meet in four events. Cournoyer said he’s likely to swim the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke, and both strokes were on display as Conant and Mascenic swam at Keene on Friday.

“That’s my stroke, the backstroke,” Cournoyer said, “so I feel like I have the best chance to make progress in that.” He’s already got his sights set on the school record of 1:06; on Friday, he swam it in 1:09 but said he expects to cut it to 1:07 by the end of the year. 

Cournoyer’s teammate, Scott Labrecque, should be joining him at UNH at the state meet, in an individual event as well as in the relays.

“Me and Scott, we’re pretty elite, so we always push each other,” Cournoyer said.

Those two teamed up with Matt Simmons and Hunter Devost to swim the 200 Free and 200 Medley relays on Friday, finishing in 1:53.71 and 2:10.51, respectively. Cournoyer said he thinks the Orioles have top-six potential in the relays at the state meet, where they are currently seeded 10th.

“It would be awesome to go top-six,” Cournoyer said. “You get medals for top six, so it would be cool to do that.”

Abby Wheeler is likely the Oriole to watch on the girls’ side this season. On Friday, she took third in the 200 IM, fifth in the 100 Back, and raced on two third-place relay teams, alongside a combination of Zoe Boyd, Sadie Ostergard Toria Stenerson and Sheylina Parkerson.

Mascenic, one of the smallest schools in the state with a swim team, isn’t out for team wins. It’s nearly impossible to win a meet outright with a team of under 10 swimmers, and after an injury, coach Andrea Sbona is left without enough boys to even field a relay squad. But, the Vikings are keeping their heads up.

It starts with senior Britany Boulerice. Boulerice was a rising star as a freshman before a leg injury sidelined her and made her take a long, hard look at her dedication to swimming.

“The fact that I couldn’t swim, it kind of broke me inside,” Boulerice said.

Although she never reached her full potential after that MCL injury, Boulerice stuck with the sport.

“I know my prime time was a while ago, and I’m not where I want to be right now, but at the end of the day, I’m glad I’m still swimming and keeping up with it,” Boulerice said. “Realizing that next Friday is my last meet ever, it’s bittersweet, but it feels like it’s time. I’m ready to see what’s next.”

Boulerice went out with a bang on Friday, swimming to a fifth-place finish in the 100 Breaststroke. A ten-year swimming veteran, Boulerice grew up with many of her teammates, like Zack Allen.

“He was the runt of the group,” Boulerice said. Now, he’s grown into one of the Vikings’ best. Allen has already qualified for the state meet in the 100 and 200 Freestyle races; on Friday, he was less than a second off the qualifying time in the 500 Freestyle, finishing second in 6:21.57. He also took fourth in the 100 Backstroke.

Sam Tucker was fifth in the 100 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke.

Mascenic’s girls didn’t have any top-five finishes, but they did get personal record times from: Emma Mittleider (50 Free, 37.73); Avery McClain (50 Free, 38.22); Julia Covell (50 Free, 45.17); Kailyn Mattson (100 Backstroke, 1:28.80) and Xaria Talbot (100 Backstroke, 1:42.59).

Conant and Mascenic are at Colby-Sawyer Friday for one last regular-season meet and one more shot at qualifying for states. No matter what happens there and the rest of the year, the athletes can come away with lessons that will ast long after their swimming days.

“You can really see this good outlook on life,” Boulerice said. “As long as you do that, you’ll be able to succeed, no matter if you get a bad time or a bad race or this and that, as long as you keep it up and keep everyone else up, you'll be fine. That’s kind of a life thing – as long as you keep a positive mental attitude you can achieve anything you want.”




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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