Barracudas make waves again

Barracudas make waves again

The North Providence Barracudas youth swim team enjoyed another excellent season that saw the squad not only post an 8-1 dual-meet record, but also break 23 team records and take third place at RIMA Championships at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s Tripp Center.
Swim team finishes third at RIMA championship meet, produces 8-1 record

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence Barracudas did it again.

For the fourth straight winter, the youth swim team that calls the North Providence Pool & Fitness Center its home delivered another exceptional season, one that recently ended with the Barracudas’ fourth straight top-three finish at the RIMA Championships at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s Tripp Center.

A year after wrapping up their dual-meet season with an unbeaten record – and two years after producing a 9-2 mark – the Barracudas impressed again by posting an 8-1 record and placing third at the RIMA meet. And during the course of the season, they broke 23 team records, five more than last winter.

“Overall, the team saw great success this year,” said first-year head coach Russell Hickey, who served as an assistant coach on last year’s team. Each swimmer “significantly improved on their times throughout the season, with a number of significant drops and personal-best times coming at the RIMA championship meet.”

“The swimmers really started to break away from their comfort zones,” Hickey added, “meaning that by swimming an abundance of different distances and strokes, they were able to expand their horizons when it came to events they were capable of swimming efficiently.”

Hickey, who was assisted by coaches Bruna Rebello, Jim Beauvais, and Ron Lamothe, as well as aquatics director Amanda Knuth, received superb seasons from several swimmers, starting with Alexandra Cortes in the girls’ 9-10 division and Cassie Russo in the girls’ 13-14 division.

Cortes, who became a seven-time team record holder in the 50-, 100-, and 200-yard freestyles, 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard butterfly, 100-yard individual medley, and 200-yard freestyle relay, also placed in the top 15 in four events at the New England 10 & Under Championships. She finished eighth in the 200 freestyle, 10th in the 100 freestyle, 13th in the 50 breaststroke, and 14th in the 50 butterfly.

Russo, meanwhile, set five team records in the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay, and 200 medley relay, and breaking multiple records were Angelina Tanzi in the girls’ 15-18 division (50 freestyle and 100 backstroke) and Andrea Cortes in the girls’ 13-14 division (200 and 500 freestyles).

At the RIMA Championships, the Barracudas reeled in several top-three finishes and saw one of their youngest swimmers, Patricia Oussi, capture three events in the girls’ ages 8-under division: the 25-yard freestyle, 25-yard butterfly, and 100-yard individual medley.

In the girls’ 9-10 division, Alexandra Cortes (100-yard individual medley) and Luisa Guo (50-yard backstroke) won their events, Sarah Perreault placed second in the 50-yard breaststroke, and Victoria Badger took third place in the 50-yard backstroke. Sienna McDonald, Cortes, Perreault, and Badger also teamed up to win the freestyle relay and establish a team record in that event.

The boys’ 9-10 division saw Alex Huynh take third place in the 50-yard backstroke, and also finishing third in the 11-12 division were Nicandro Pistacchio (100-yard IM) and Yilmaz Kasapoglu (50-yard backstroke) for the boys and Ava Giorgi (50-yard backstroke) and Christine Pietkiewicz (50-yard butterfly) for the girls.

Another swimmer who enjoyed a fabulous meet was Russo in the girls’ 13-14 division, as she won the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 1:05.62 and took second in the 100-yard butterfly. Adding third places in that division were Andrea Cortes (100-yard freestyle) and Juliana Tanzi (100-yard breaststroke).

Three North Providence High freshmen who enjoyed excellent seasons for the Cougar boys’ swim team also fared well. Jason Kudish won the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:12.86 and seized third place in the 200-yard IM, and Tony Azevedo (50-yard freestyle) and Jeff Cotoia (100-yard freestyle) placed third.

In the 15-18 division, Matt Levesque won the boys’ 100-yard butterfly in a time of 1:02.63, Angelina Tanzi copped second place in the girls’ 100-yard backstroke, and Mabel Huynh, a junior on the North Providence High girls’ swim team, finished third in the 200-yard IM.

Five other relay teams picked up top-three finishes, including two more in the girls’ 9-10 division. Taking second places were the freestyle relay squad of Sofia Benevides, Emily Pace, Lucia Cusati, and Guo and the medley relay team of Guo, Perreault, Cortes, and Badger.

The boys’ 13-14 freestyle relay team of Jeff Cotoia, Dylan Castle, Vinny Cotoia, and Azevedo also claimed first place, as did the girls’ 13-14 freestyle relay quartet of Linda Guo, Valentina Lopez, Cortes, and Tanzi, and tacking on a third place was the girls’ 13-14 medley relay team of Russo, Tanzi, Lopez, and Cortes.

Sarah Carvalho, who competes in the girls’ 11-12 division, and Russo also went on to compete at the Boys & Girls Club National Championships held recently at the Northshore Pool in St. Petersburg, Fla. For Russo, this was her third straight trip to the nationals.