No swimmer in the state is more disappointed about this weekend’s North Sectional Swimming and Diving Championships being canceled than Colby Cahill.
The Latin Academy junior was eight/100ths of a second away from qualifying for the state meet in the 100 Backstroke and Sectionals was her last opportunity to do so. The meet was canceled because of the impending snowstorm and the MIAA doesn't have a backup date or facility to hold the event.
“All State qualifiers will move forward to the State Championships on the weekend of 16-17 February,” a note on the MIAA website reads. “Best of luck to all.”
Cahill had a seed time of 1 minute 07.68 seconds for sectionals. She needed to swim a 1:07.60 to qualify for states.
“It was really tough, I didn't know how to take it, but you have to have a positive mindset with it,” she said about an hour after hearing the news. “I worked hard to get to Sectionals and I’m going to work even harder my senior year to get to states.”
While MIAA wrestling and gymnastic meets were already canceled earlier, Latin Academy coach Mark Thomas said the swimming meet was still scheduled to go when they started practice on Thursday afternoon.
By the time they got out of practice around 4 p.m. it was not.
Thomas also said there was some talk Thursday morning about rescheduling it at another facility.
“And now she doesn't get a shot, she’s done,” he said. “It is disappointing that’s all, I feel bad for her. We swim a sport that competes during the winter and I know snow and inclement weather is part of it but still ... The problem with getting locked in with a facility like MIT is they don’t have backup dates.
“I know the guys on the [MIAA swimming committee] and I know they probably tried to do everything possible to get it in.”
The Dragons' 200-yard medley relay (Cahill, sophomore Ashley Hickey, senior Sydney McGrath and eighth-grader Olivia McGrath) were also seeded No. 23 at sectionals with a time of 2:12.97. And the school's 200 freestyle relay, which features the same swimmers as the medley relay, were seeded 19th with a time of 1:58.48.
“To be quite honest we were going for the exposure and to give these kids the experience of going for the two relays,” Thomas said, “but [Cahill] had a heck of a shot [at states].”
On Wednesday, Latin Academy won its 22d overall city championships handily at Madison Park High against the city's only two other swim programs, O’Bryant and East Boston.
“We told the kids this year we want to see them win city's, but our goal is to get as many kids as possible qualified for sectionals,” Thomas said. “City's are a nice event and a nice experience, but we want the kids to shoot beyond that and to have that pulled from underneath us …
“This is what they shoot for all year long to be able to go to this meet.”
The only other city athlete to qualify for Sectionals was Cahill’s sister Carly Cahill, a freshman at the O'Bryant who was seeded No. 15 in the 50 Freestyle with a time of 26.37.
The younger Cahill, however, has already qualified for the state meet.
Big sis said she’s not jealous.
“Me and my sister aren't very competitive like that,” she said. “We are supportive of each other. I’m proud she made it at a young age. it’s good for her. It motivates me to work even harder.”
Still, the elder Cahill said she will be disappointed if the snowstorm doesn't match all the hype.
“Probably Saturday morning I’ll wake up and would be like ‘Wow I could be swimming right now trying to beat all my times in competition,'” she said, “but I have to take it in and be positive.”
The bright side for Cahill is that school is canceled on Friday.
“Yeah I’m very happy about that,” Cahill said. “I’ll probably go sledding, do homework and hang out with friends and relax.”
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