Entering the 2018-19 winter, the Cranston East swim teams were not sure what the season would bring their way.
Between graduating key swimmers last year and seeing a drop in numbers, the arrow seemed to be pointing down on the Thunderbolts’ prospects, as they remained at the Division I level.
However, both clubs have jumped out to solid starts this campaign, with each beginning their campaigns with 3-2 records and keeping pace with many of the other top teams in the division.
“We weren’t sure how things would play out this year when we saw the schedule. There were some meets for the girls that we could have won earlier, but they have started to come together lately. We have a young boys team this year but they’re also starting to come around. We have (some big meets) coming up so we’re hoping to get wins on both sides,” said East swim coach Bob Bouchard. “Our boys team is small, we’ve lost a lot over the past couple of years. We only have 10 boys this year, but they’re all coming to practice, swimming, working hard. The girls group has also seen its numbers drop … but the group that we have here is working hard too which is good.”
The girls group is led by a solid core of senior swimmers. Bouchard has been happy with their starts, and believes that they have risen to the occasion throughout the year.
“We have five seniors on our girls team that have been swimming well. Katie Idskou has been our top swimmer, Eleanor Trimm has been competing in the butterfly. Aislinn Baxter is a second-year swimmer and she has stepped up big for us this year and has been competing in a few different events. Sidney Almeida is our captain and has also been pretty diverse.”
Bouchard also hopes to see his seniors finish their careers strong, and believes that they are hungry to do just that.
“They know that this is it for them, they care about the division meet more than anything,” said Bouchard. “It’s been great having (the seniors). They very versatile, can swim different events for us. The next two or three weeks will be important, we need to keep them healthy.”
Overall, the Thunderbolts are optimistic as the second half of the season approaches, and feel that they are just starting to find their rhythm.
“We want the boys to finish with a winning record. Numbers-wise we aren’t a Division I team but if they finish the season with a winning record that would be great for them. The girls want to win the Division meet. It’s going to be important for each side to continue to improve and better their times,” said Bouchard. “Most of them are beginning to hit their groove now, getting into swim shape and they are in that competitive mode. That’s what we’re stressing, we need them to be competitive and want to compete in multiple events.”