The Wellesley girls started Sunday’s MIAA South Swimming & Diving Championships with a runner-up finish in the 200-yard medley relay to Ursuline.
After the second event of the afternoon, the 200 freestyle, in which the Raiders placed swimmers in the fifth, sixth, and ninth spots, the two-time defending champions never trailed again at Boston University’s Fit Center.
Wellesley piled up 386.5 points to outdistance Bay State Conference rivals Needham (331.5) and Framingham (250).
The Raiders had just one individual champion, freshman Naomi Boegholm in the 200 individual medley (2:09.46), but soared with their depth, racking up 33 top-16 finishes.
“I never believe it until the scores are read,” said Wellesley coach Jen Dutton. “That first relay that we placed second in was actually a school record, so it just made me think ‘Ursuline’s really strong, that’s a little worrisome.’
“We had so many best times for our girls today, it was just so contagious and fun.”
Marshfield senior Riley Moeykens won the 500 free (5:09.04) and the 100 backstroke (57.29 seconds), setting a meet record in the latter event. Needham junior Zoei Howard took first place in the 50- (24.26 seconds) and 100-yard freestyle (52.68 seconds), propelling the Rockets to the runner-up finish.
Walpole sophomore Amanda Melish dominated the diving competition, scoring 524.15 points to win by a commanding margin of 107.50 points. Two weeks ago, she was on crutches with a severely sprained ankle that sidelined her for a month and a half.
“It was really mind over matter,” said Melish. “I just had to mentally get right back into it and tell myself I can still do this.”
In the boys’ competition, Braintree finished the first event in last place. Thanks to a third, fourth and fifth in the 200 freestyle, the Wamps took the team lead and never relinquished it, despite Walpole’s best effort.
Braintree narrowly edged Walpole, 321-318, thanks to a runner-up finish in the 400 free relay.
“We have some serious competition with Walpole throughout the whole season, so our guys know to not get too comfortable with a lead,” said Braintree coach Jen Keane. “They want it just as bad as I do.
“They’re great competition and I don’t think we’d be as good swimmers if we didn’t have them pushing us all season.”
Walpole senior Michael Rose was one of two double-winners for the boys, taking first in the 50 freestyle (22.93) and the 100 butterfly (58.54, a meet record). Milton’s Joe Pezzini took first in the 200 medley (2:06.63) and the 100 breaststroke (1:01.89, a meet record), also qualifying for next week’s state meet at MIT.