Mt. Hope swim teams sending multiple athletes to states this weekend

By Ethan Hartley
Posted 3/1/24

As a team, they were runners up for the division. But when accounting for the odds against them, team participants and coaches say the season meant so much more than what appears on paper.

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Mt. Hope swim teams sending multiple athletes to states this weekend


Too often in sports, an inordinate amount of focus is shone onto the ultimate winners and losers of championships. In the sizable space between, however, are stories of triumph and success despite long odds.

The Mt. Hope High School boys and girls swim teams just finished off such a season, with the boys earning a team title of divisional runners up and sending multiple competitors to the state championships. The girls finished fourth as a team in the divisional round and are also sending a competitor to the state championship at Brown this weekend.

But when accounting for the odds against them, team participants and coaches say the season meant so much more than what appears on paper.

“Division runner up is one of the best outcomes we could have had this year,” said Sean Cummins, a senior captain for the boys team. “The entire season was a tremendous team effort. Everyone had to step up to make it happen."

“We made such strong team bonds this year,” added senior captain Aidan Devine. “We had so much fun. The boys and girls team went into our dual meets competing and cheering as one team.”

The boys earned 369 points during the divisional competition, only falling short of Cranston West, who scored 379.5, and beating South Kingstown, who had 320 points.

Included within the team accomplishment were some individual highlights, including taking the divisional title in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a team made up of Aidan Devine, Cohen Ferreira, Chris Sousa, Finn Pansa. They also took the bronze in the 400-freestyle relay, while Pansa took third in the 50-yard freestyle and second place in the 100-yard freestyle.

“We had nearly universal best times in every swim,” explained Coach Kasey Carr. “A majority of our points came from the willingness of our team members to step up and swim brand new events.”

Senior Sean Cummins and sophomore Nick Chaves both swam and scored in the 100 butterfly. Seniors Ian Areia and Aden Almeida both dropped nearly 20 seconds in their 200 freestyle races to place 5th and 6th respectively. Other top scorers were freshman newcomers Liam Gagner (200 IM, 100 back) and Kieran Riedl (200 IM, 100 breaststroke).

Younger girls team scored highly in many events

Despite a smaller roster, the girls took fourth place overall. Individually, sophomore track and field standout Jessica Deal dominated to Division Champion status in the 500 freestyle (5:55.08), beating the next closest competitor by 25 seconds. She was also the runner up in the 200 freestyle.

The medley relay team of freshman Emma Quigley, sophomores Bridget Courtney, Jessica Deal, and freshman Hazel Bradley earned division runners up with a time of 2:15.04. The team of Quigley, Deal, Bradley, and junior Lindy Cobery were also runners up in the 400-yard free relay in 4:22.13. Other tops contributors were freshman Hazel Bradley (200IM, 100 free) and senior Ella Quesnelle (200 free, 100 breaststroke.

“Our girls team is quite young and has a very bright future,” said Carr.

Off to states, and a bright future ahead

In addition to the divisional championship boys relay team mentioned above, Finn Pansa (200 free, 100 fly), Jessica Deal (100 free, 500 free), Chris Sousa (50 free,100 free), and Aidan Devine (50 free) will go on to individually compete at the State Championships this weekend at Brown University.

Carr said the teams’ consistent effort and willingness to try new things has consistently inspired her and fellow Coach Adam Dutra.

“This team is special. Whether they are a seasoned swimmer trying to break records or someone just learning how to properly swim freestyle, every swimmer is just trying to better themselves for the team as a whole,” Carr said. “On both the boys and girls side, we have student-athletes who never swam competitively before entering our program, and those are the swimmers that made all the difference this year. It takes a special type of person to try out for a sport they have never done before and stick with it; especially one as grueling as swimming.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.