Even though many members of the Rye community may not even know the swim team exists, they’re having a pretty phenomenal year. They captured the League title a few weeks ago, for the first time in at least a decade. Coming into November, six members of the combined Rye-Rye Neck-Blind Brook team already had qualifying times for the state meet, which is a pretty difficult task. Not to mention they finished the regular season with an 8-1 record, the only loss being to White Plains at the beginning of the season, who they redeemed themselves against at the League meet in order to capture the title.
The sectional meet takes place over two days, this year November 4th & 5th, and is structured in a trials-finals format. The first day is trials, and the top 16 finishers that day then get to come back the next day and have an opportunity to score points for their team. There are 44 girls swim teams in section 1, many of them combined teams just like ours due to lack of pool space. 27 of them had at least one swimmer or relay qualify for sectional finals, and were back on Tuesday.
The meet started off strong for Rye with senior Katie Laverty winning diving, and getting Rye on the board from the start. Rye had 10 girls qualify for the sectional meet, and 8 make it back for finals. Some notable finishes include the 200 medley relay finishing third in the section, and making the state cut by over 2 seconds.
Senior Lara Geelen finished 7th in the 100 freestyle, also qualifying for states, and junior Ellie Mackle finished 6th in the 100 breaststroke, just missing the state cut by .2 seconds. Rye Neck senior Grace Kujawski finished 4th in the 100 breaststroke, and 10th in the 200 IM, making states for both events. However, the standout performance was certainly by sophomore Lente Geelen. Lente has been a member of the varsity team since 7th grade and has qualified for the state meet every year since 8th. She went into finals seeded 7th in the 50 free, giving her the outside lane in finals, which no one ever wants. Although, this proved to be no challenge for Lente. She took the section title from lane 1, with a time of 24.06 seconds. Her success certainly didn’t stop there. In the 100 backstroke final, she maintained a lead for the first 3 laps but was just edged out by the meet record holder in the event, Scarsdale’s Joy Jiang. The 200 freestyle relay also had an impressive performance, finishing 5th in the section and also qualifying states.
These are just some of the standout swims that allowed the Rye-Rye Neck-Blind Brook team to garner 176 points and finish the meet 4th in the section. 1st place went to the combined team of Sleepy Hollow-Hastings-Edgemont-Irvington(SHEDI), who collected 328.5 points to win the section. Not to mention the SHEDI team also went on to win the state meet last year. 2nd was Horace Greeley with 255.5 points, and 3rd was White Plains who just edged out Rye with 190 points. After finishing below the top 10 for the last several years, 12th last year, a 4th place finish was extremely exciting and shows how competitive the team can be at states.
The Rye swimmers/divers qualifying for states include Lente Geelen, Julie Tiedemann, Lara Geelen, Grace Kujawski, Ella Brady, and Katie Laverty. They will travel to Ithaca, NY on November 21st and compete in trials and finals November 22-23.