Classical swim team celebrates another season

Classical swimmers Carly Mendonca (left) and Jacob Lang (right) with Rams coach Denise Silva (middle) during Monday's banquet. (COURTESY PHOTO)

LYNN — The Classical swim team celebrated its season Monday night with its annual awards banquet at Old Tyme Italian Cuisine, and a number of accolades were recognized. The Rams went just 2-8 this season, but there were a number of highlights during the year — including taking the Lynn City Meet title.

“We had a terrific season with a lot of improvement from everybody, and I couldn’t be prouder of our effort in the City Meet,” said Classical coach Denise Silva. “All our swimmers and divers saw impressive growth from last season and we’re excited to hopefully see that continue right into next year.”

The big awards of the night went to the Rams’ two top swimmers all year long — senior Carly Mendonca and junior Jacob Lang. Both named to the Northeastern Conference all-conference team, the duo combined to provide nearly 50 first-place finishes for Classical this year, with Mendonca winning 25 times and Lang winning 23. Each swimmer also set a new record this year, with Mendonca breaking the Lynn High School girls 100 backstroke record and Lang breaking his own school record in the boys 500 freestyle. The city-wide awards were also handed out at the banquet, and Mendonca was named Lynn Female Swimmer of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. Lang was named Lynn Male Swimmer of the Year.

“They are just phenomenal, both in and out of the pool,” Silva said of Mendonca and Lang, who were both team captains this past season. “They both work so hard and do so much for us, whether it’s getting wins in the pool or helping our younger swimmers get better in practice. It will be tough to lose Carly this year, and we’re happy to have Jacob for one more year.”

Other team award recipients for Classical were Sophia DeFronzo (Student/Athlete Award), Ava Georgenes (Most Improved), captain Kimberly Avelar, Yassine Bakhouch and Christian Flores (Coaches Award), Cate Hines (Diving Coaches Award), Maxwell Gonzalez and Daniel Puma (Peter A. Sawin Unsung Hero Award), Kassidy Chhoeuth (Spirit Award), Tyler Miller (Boosters Award), Adam Mariano and Kathleen Mannion (Ram “Ultimate Hustle” Award) and Zachary Westin and captain Shannon Dunnigan (Monogram Club Award).

There were also two other recipients of city-wide awards, with captain Ciara Collins earning the Don McKenney Diving Award and Sydney Finnigan earning the John Cahill Award for Outstanding Underclassman.

But one of the biggest honors of the night was reserved for the entire team. The Rams, who put a real focus on being true student-athletes according to Silva, were recognized by the MIAA with the MIAA Team Academic Excellence Award after collecting a team-wide GPA of 3.897.

“We really stress the importance of being a student-athlete here,” Silva said. “Our kids work just as hard in class as they do in the pool, and receiving this award really is a testament to their hard work.”

Another piece of business was taken care of Monday night, and that was the naming of the captains for the 2019-2020 season. Lang and Dunnigan will both return as captains in their senior seasons, while Mariano, Georgenes, Westin, Mushfiqur Dhrubo and Anna Marie Alukonis will be named captains for the first time. The Rams graduate 12 seniors from this year’s team, so Silva knows the leadership from the captains will be more important than ever.

“There are going to be some big shoes to fill, that’s for sure,” said Silva. “But this is a great group we have here, and they all work very hard. I have all the confidence in the world that they will rise to the occasion and continue to help our team get even better next season.”

More Stories From Lynn