The 2021 Canton Golden Bears Girls Swim team recently concluded another fantastic season. Picking up where they left off almost sixteen months ago, the Bears swam an inspired schedule on behalf of their beloved former modified coach Aggie Toth. “Tothy” would have been proud of these athletes as the pool was again “buzzing” with enthusiasm and activity as the girls took the top spot in virtually every event in the water.
“Virtual” was indeed the theme as the Bears faced every opponent from the comfort of their own pools this season. In an attempt to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 the league schedule was devised so that schools could race each other by setting up their timing systems, hiring one official to ensure the integrity of the event and then swim races against only their teammates in their home pools. The results were then shared and compared to determine the placement of the swimmers. Once again the Canton team flexed their muscles and swept the competition, defeating every opponent on their schedule.
A website which is maintained by Andrew Devins listed all swimmers and their top performances of the season. Standout Senior Grace O’Neill continued her winning ways in the 200 Yard Freestyle with a time of 2:15.95 but was followed closely behind by Maya Thomas (2nd) with a 2:16.51 and Alexis Stuntz (3rd) with a season best 2:19.35.
It was O’Neill again leading the way in the 200 yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:25.74. Emily Wentworth was the dominant swimmer in the 50 Yard Freestyle as she sprinted her way to a season best 24.91 second time. Wentworth also took top honors in the 100 Butterfly with a 1:05.81 which happened to be almost 4 seconds faster than the next swimmer in the entire section, solidifying the Wentworth as one of the most dominant figures in Canton history.
It was a Golden Bear “Senior Sweep” of the 100 Yard Freestyle Race which included 65 competitors on the season. Wentworth came across with the top time of 57.33 seconds, followed close behind by senior teammates Grace O’Neill (59.33) and Brooke Larrabee (59.72).
In the 500 Yard race it was an eye to the future as freshman Maya Thomas raced to a league best second fastest time of 6:15.15 placing her 1 second behind the top swimmer, Malone Senior Elizabeth Bartenslager. The third and fourth place finishes belonged to the Bears Grace O’Neill (6:19.33) and 8th grade athletes Skyler Sanderson (6:19.46).
The 200 Yard Freestyle Relay belonged to the Bears O’Neill, Thomas, Larrabee, and Wentworth in a time of 1:52.02 as the foursome also took the top honors in the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay with a time of 4:00.72.
Finishing off the top place finishes on the season again was Grace O’Neill in the 100 Yard backstroke in a time of 1:06.34 followed closely behind as the third top finsher in Alexis Stuntz with a time of 1:11.13.
It is safe to say that the Bears have enjoyed some competitive times and great moments despite an abbreviated season and unfamiliar situation. Praise and thanks needs to be given to Coach Conrad Stuntz, Modified Coach Suzanne Creurer and Coach Meg McGovern. We would also thank student lifeguards Camryn Sipher and Julianna Richardson a well as timing system operator Gabbie Martineau.
Coach Stuntz commented, “The team rose to the challenges in-front of them. They had been out of the water for 15 months and unable to train for swimming. They came in, followed protocols, and trained hard. Every single swimmer improved from the beginning of the season to the end. Many of them set lifetime personal records.” All of the coaches recall, the Saturday practices, split squad practices, spring break practices, and virtual meets. “20 practices. 5 meets. It didn’t matter. They came. They trained. They conquered”, stated Stuntz.
“Four swimmers tried the sport for the first time. It takes strength to take a risk in a new sport and those swimmers (Etta, Grace, Phoebe, and Peyton) were impressive by their willingness to join the team. In swimming, the athletes often get a push from the competition next to them. In the virtual meet format, they were racing themselves and their teammates. It didn’t matter if they were aiming to win the race or get a personal best, they swam fast and left all of their energy in the pool ” remarked Coach Stuntz.
The coaches thanked their seniors with some nice parting gifts from the parents and commented, “Seniors (Grace O’Neill, Brooke Larrabee, Jo Jo Reed, and Emily Wentworth) have been fortunate to backstop an undefeated swim team for their 4 (or 5) years on the team. When building a team, developing a productive and healthy team culture is key. This group of seniors led with their ability, their humor, and their dedication in the water. They each wanted specific goals in the pool. That drive and desire sets the expectations for younger swimmers and helps create a strong and unified squad.”
The seniors leave a legacy of team and individual achievements, most notably a boasting a 109-0 team record during their tenures. This places them at the very pinnacle in terms of the most successful student-athletes and productive teams in C.C.S. history.
For complete season results, please visit the link below.