Sharks place third at regionals

The Needham Sharks all pose together following a victory at Sherborn on August 9.

It was a season that saw major improvement for the Needham Sharks.

After a 2-9 record in 2016, followed by a 3-8 mark in 2017, the Sharks responded with a 7-4 record this past summer, finishing the season on a four-meet winning streak over Dedham, Norwood, Medfield, and Sherborn and earning third place at the regional championships on August 14.

One of the main contributors to Needham’s rise back to success in the pool this summer was 15-year-old Zoei Howard, who took home first place in the Ehrlich Mile Swim for the second consecutive year with a time of 22:33.90 and helped lead the Sharks to a third-place team finish in the girls division. Ava Sirignano (25:22.99) also placed in the top ten at the Ehrlich Mile, finishing ninth overall.

Zoei Howard poses with her first-place medal and trophy at the Jim Ehrlich Mile Swim on July 27.

Zoei Howard poses with her first-place medal and trophy at the Jim Ehrlich Mile Swim on July 27.

“This was an extremely eventful season, the most we’ve had in recent years” said Needham head coach Kate Curtin. “We had a lot of young swimmers step up, and some of the swimmers who’ve been here really blossomed and saw some great results. The coaches and I are extremely proud of this group.”

Madeline Rowe placed first in the girls eight-and-under 25-yard butterfly at the regional championships with a time of 21.36 narrowly edging out teammate Marilyn Nichols (22.25) who placed second. Reagan Shavor finished 10th in the event’s prelims (26.71). Rowe also finished fourth in the 50-yard butterfly (35.26) and second in the 25-yard freestyle (17.86). Chloe Wukitch (30.44) finished fourth in the 11-12 50-yard freestyle.

Zoei Howard (25.97) placed third in the 15-18-year-old 50-yard freestyle, third in the 15-18-yard-old 50-yard backstroke. Caleigh Wukitch (28.56) finished first in the 15-18-year-old 50-yard backstroke, while sister Chloe (30.44) placed fourth in the 11-12 50-yard freestyle, as well as fourth in the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 40.91. Arina Collin placed econd in the 13-14 50-yard backstroke (31.63).

Needham’s 13-18 200-yard freestyle relay team, composed of Hannah Garrand, Francesca Sirignano, Zoei Howard, and Caleigh Wukitch, finished second with a time of 1:50.03.

Henry Keegan dashed towards the finish during the 100-meter breaststroke at the Natick meet.

Henry Keegan dashed towards the finish during the 100-meter breaststroke at the Natick meet.

On the boys side, Henry Keegan placed first in the 50-yard butterfly preliminaries with a time of 24.97 and finished second in the championship final (25.24). Ryan Choi finished third in the 15-18 50-yard freestyle at 26.99 and second in the 50-yard breaststroke (33.73). Charlie Nascimben (23.67) finished fifth in the 15-18 50-yard freestyle.

Brian Wukitch finished fourth in the 9-10 25-yard backstroke at 19.84. Needham’s 13-18 200-yard freestyle relay team composed of Martin Barbera, Charlie Nascimben, Zibing Zhang, and Henry Keegan placed first in the prelims (1:35.90) and second in the championship (1:34.57).

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