Ehret and Gardner reclaim the crown
Gardner senior Jane Ehret’s message to her teammates before the MIAA girls’ Division 1 swimming and diving championships yesterday at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool was simple. “Swim with a vengeance,’’ she said.
Her message was received, then she and six other Wildcats carried out the task and regained the title one year after Lincoln-Sudbury knocked them off after 15 in a row.
Gardner, piling up 207 points on the strength of four first-place finishes, outscored Lincoln-Sudbury (139 1/2) and Minnechaug (113 1/2), getting bookend wins in the 200-yard medley relay (1:50.78) and 400-yard freestyle relay (3:39.84), powered in part by freshman Taylor Strachan and Ehret.
Coach Don Lemieux said that without the triumph in the freestyle relay, the result wouldn’t have been as sweet. “We felt that if we didn’t win that last relay, there would have been something . . . missing, and boy did they come through there,’’ he said.
For Ehret, it was a happy ending topped with vindication. In last year’s states, she was disqualified in the 200 individual medley, and it hung over her until yesterday, when she won the 200 IM in 2:09.04. “Last year at this time I was crying with sadness,’’ she said. “This year I’m crying with joy.’’
Ehret won or helped win three of her four events. Along with the 200 IM victory, she swam the breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay, the third leg of the 400 freestyle relay, and finished third in the 100 butterfly, behind Strachan and Maggie Rosenbaum of Monument Mountain.
After she paced the Wildcats’ 200 medley relay with a great backstroke leg, Strachan’s 56.29 in the 100 fly qualified her as an All-American, along with Rosenbaum. Strachan then finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.84) before dominating the second leg of the 400 freestyle relay.
“I can’t say enough about her,’’ Lemieux said. “Her relay time was three seconds faster than she’s ever went in the 100 [freestyle], so I love the way she bounced back from that [finish in the] 100 breaststroke.’’
Success wasn’t limited to Gardner swimmers. Barnstable senior Anna Cavanaugh won two events, the 100 and 200 freestyle. She won the 200 free last year, as well. Lauryn Brown was Lincoln-Sudbury’s only event winner, taking the 50 free. King Philip’s Stephanie Nasson won the 500 free, and Sloane Brazina of Concord-Carlisle won the diving, one day after classmate Sean O’Brien won a state diving title.