The Reading High School Girls' Swimming team has been so dominate in the Middlesex League – nine consecutive league championships – that most teams settle to play second fiddle to the Rockets.
But this year, the Belmont High School Girls' Swimming decided they weren't going to dance to the tune Reading was playing for the past decade.
With a combination of depth – Belmont dominated the second through fourth places – and swimmers hitting their best times this season, the visiting Marauders came away with a historic victory against a seasoned-Rockets team, 88-82, on Saturday night, Oct. 13, defeating the long-time champions for the first time since 2001.
The victory gives the Marauders a clear path to winning the Middlesex League championship next week when they host another league powerhouse, Lexington – which has lost to Reading – this Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Belmont will win at least a share of the League title by defeating Stoneham at the Wenner Field House on Friday, Oct. 19. The start off the blocks at 4 p.m.
"This victory means a lot to the team as a whole, especially the seniors," said senior co-captain Daphne Assimakopoulos.
"We've been on the team for four years and have never really come close to beating Reading. But this year we are stronger than ever. This win is huge, and is giving us the extra motivation to keep working hard to win our last two meets of the season."
I think it's important that our medley relays got us off to a really strong start and placed first and third. That gave us the momentum and push we needed to get fired up for the rest of the meet.
Belmont got off to a fast start winning the opening relay, the 200-yard medley, taking first and third with Angela Li (junior), Taylor Coutinho (junior), Jessie Blake-West (freshman) and Anastasia Pulak (junior) coming home first.
The 200-yard IM was also important because we won the event, taking second through fourth with swimmers Maya Nagashima (sophomore), Eunice Lee (sophomore), and Taylor Coutinho.
Blake-West came back to the pool to win the 100-yard butterfly by breaking the freshman record – missing going under a minute by 9-hundredth of a second – with Reina Nagashima and Assimakopoulos in third and fourth.
Another PR was recorded by Haruka Uchida (junior) who won the 500-yard free in 5:35:07 with Lee in second with a 5:43:31.
The Marauders' won the penultimate event, the 100-yard breaststroke, with Coutinho taking first in 1:13:56.
When it came down to the finals, the 400 free relay, the Marauders needed a second in win the meet. But second best was no longer on Belmont's mind this night as Lee, Uchida, Blake-West and Nagashima won it going away.
"We didn't come in first every time, but we picked up all the points we could get and I don't think Reading was expecting that," said Assimakopoulos.