Cohesion will be the key for the Oliver Ames boys' and girls' swim and dive teams this year as they look to embark on another successful season.
"Part of what we attempted this year is to unify the team so that we’re seen as one cohesive unity rather than breaking us up into boys and girls," head coach Lauren gray said.
The unity, she said, will begin at the top. Gray named five captains to this year’s team. The leaders will be a mix between boys and girls.
Matt Bates, who was a captain last year, will once again be lead this year's team, along with Harris Brenner, Chris Lockworth, Alaina Chmielinska and Candy Sheehan.
"I think this year what they have done is they have taught and led the team by example so the freshmen coming in can see exactly what a champion looks like," Gray said. "I think that these kids are looking for leadership and they’re looking for examples."
One of the freshmen coming in will be Haley Gula. The newcomer will be a major contributor for the Tigers this year, having pre-qualified for states in every single event, Gray said.
Gula will join an up-and-coming girls' squad that placed fifth in the Hockomock League last year and swept Franklin last Friday to improve to 1-0.
Gray said she expects the team to perform at a higher level this year.
Juniors Julia Mudd, Paige Abramson, Christina Watson will look to qualify for sectionals in the medley relays and Jacquey Gover will look to repeat as Hockomock champion in the dive. Gray said to watch out for Ashley Branagan, an up-and-coming freshman, in the dive as well.
Last week, Abramson qualified in both the 200 backstroke and the 100 backstroke.
Captain Matt Bates will look to lead the boys team, which also finished fifth in the Hockomock League this year. The senior qualifed for states and sectionals in the 100 backstroke last week against Franklin and qualified for sectionals in the 100 butterfly. Additionally, sophomores Brad Cicchepti and James Sullivan will look to stand out in 200 IMs.
Connor Fiske, Zack Raynard, Brendan Aborn and Sam Graff will also be significant contributors, Gray said.
While the boys dropped their first meet of the season, 88-81 last Friday, the girls took first place in every event except one in their 126-44 victory.
While Gray said the Franklin victory for the girls is one of many to come this season, she is unsure of hat is to come.
I think this year nobody sees what’s coming, which is a good thing," she said. "We have seen a lot of seniors exit. We have a lot of freshmen. What we’ve lost we’ve gained in strength and numbers and in skill set."
OA will take on King Philip Wednesday at 4 p.m.