For a moment, it looked like the KP girls 400 freestyle relay was going to sneak the Warriors into second place at the MIAA Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships.
Swimming stroke for stroke against the dominant Westford Academy, two-hundredths of a second was the difference between second and third place in the team standings.
“It was tough. The girls gave it everything that they could. You never know what the other team is gonna have, but they did a really good job,” KP head coach Heather Tomassian said. “For us to come in third place is huge.”
Improving from last year's finish of 10th place, the KP girls finished third at the Division 1 state meet. while the boys finished third at the Division 2 meet.
The boys 200 medley relay team started things off for the Warriors with a time of 1:40.88 that was good enough for second place. Kyle Vieira received runner-up honors in the 200 freestyle (1:47.75).
KP senior Aaron Gustafson ended his career at KP with a second-place finish in the 50 freestyle (21.46) and a first-place finish in the 100 backstroke. The All-American swimmer’s time of 49.24 in the backstroke broke the meet record and set a new state record. The initial state record of 49.62 was previously held by KP’s Pat Myers.
Senior captain Ryan Palmer finished in the top 10 for two events with a third-place finish in the 200 IM (1:57.91) and an eighth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (53.78).
The 400 freestyle relay team ended the meet with a first-place finish of 3:14.34. The time edged out Weston’s time of 3:15.39.
Stephanie Nasson was first in both the 200 freestyle (1:52.77) and the 500 freestyle (4:57.87). In the 500, no one was close to her as the next finisher was 10 seconds behind her. In third place in both events was her younger sister, Sydney Nasson, with a time of 1:55.89 in the 200 freestyle and a 5:08.16 in the 500 freestyle.
Cary Schnabel had a pair of top 10 finishes for the Warriors with a fifth-place finish in the 100 freestyle (55.73) and a seventh-place finish in the 100 backstroke (1:01.22)
The most exciting race of the meet without a doubt was the 400 freestyle. With the race coming down to the final leg, anchor Stephanie Nasson was edged out, as the Westford Academy’s time of 3:36.45 was just enough to beat King Philip’s time of 3:36.47.
"You just gotta hold your breath and hope it all pans out. I know how much she [Stephanie] gave. She had everything in her," Tomassian said.
While both teams will be losing some of their fastest swimmers because of graduation, the future remains bright for the successful KP program. With underclassmen such as Sydney Nasson and Schnabel making an impact right from the start, the potential of many members of the team has yet to be reached.
We definitely have a lot of potential and now these girls have a bit more drive,” Tomassian said. “Now they know it feels like.”