By Chris Villani
The Grafton swimming co-op was anchored by five Nipmuc swimmers this year, including the team’s only two captains for the girls’ and boys’ teams.
Katie Kilcoyne and Jack Bruno were tasked with being leaders in and out of the pool this winter, a challenging task when one considers that the co-op is composed of athletes from eight different schools.
“It was hard at first because a lot of the schools only have one or two people, so they come to the first week of practice and don’t know anyone and it can be really silent and awkward,” said first-year head coach Adrianna Yuen. “But they somehow got really close to one another, they all cheered each other on and it’s nice to see how the team formed so quickly.”
Both Kilcoyne and Bruno played a big role in the team gelling.
“They were really good at communicating with the rest of the team and they were very good captains this year,” Yuen said. “They led the team a lot.”
The pair also found success in the pool. Kilcoyne competed in the backstroke in both sectionals and states and Bruno competed in the butterfly during the sectional meet. Yuen, who just two years ago was part of the Grafton program, said it was exciting to see how well her captains performed.
“I swam with Katie in high school and swimming at states was always one of her goals,” Yuen said. “It’s tough when you’re on the younger side, so her making states this year was huge. Everyone was super excited for her.”
In addition to Kilcoyne and Bruno, Nipmuc seniors Elicia Newton and Kamaria Braham are graduating this spring. Only sophomore Maria Ceruti is slated to return. But Yuen said she hopes the success of her seniors will inspire others to come out for the team.
“The seasons that they had shows that there is a lot of potential for growth, especially if you start out as a freshman,” Yuen said. “Katie and Jack both swam for all four years and it shows in how far they were able to get as seniors.”
Yuen, who is a member of the WPI swim team, said she is unsure whether she will be coaching again next year, but she enjoyed the challenge of balancing her own team and studying with coaching.
“It was a lot of running around from school to practice and then to another practice, but it was worth it,” Yuen said. “It just worked out really well and I had a lot of fun.”
Nipmuc swimmers L to R are Maria Ceruti, Elicia Newton, Jack Bruno, Kamaria Baham, Katie Kilcoyne. (Contributed photo)