Boys’ Swim crowned 2023 State Champions


Provided by Quinn Schwab

WA’s qualified state swimmers pose for a picture after winning the State Championship.

Victoria Farley, Staff Writer

The WA Boys’ Swim team won the 2023 State Championship at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Sunday February, 19 for the first time since 2015. 

After a dominant season where the boys’ went 14-0 and won the DCL Championship, they faced the setback of placing second in the North Sectionals meet. However, they rallied behind captains Quinn Schwab, who will be attending Providence College next year for swimming, Oliver Yorke, Vincent Xu, and Brian Hall, pulling out the state championship victory. 

“Coming out [of the North Sectionals Meet] with a loss made us realize that we weren’t untouchable. We could not just lay back and just expect the win to happen, we were going to have to fight for this win,” senior Oliver Yorke said. “Losing by one point really stung a lot of people on the team. To come so close to win but still fall short really motivated everyone to put everything they had into the State Meet.”

At the State Meet, WA competeted against 50 other Division I high schools. WA trailed BC High and Minnechaug throughout much of the meet but a final push led by Schwab’s first-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke allowed for WA to finish with 220 points, seven more than second place finishers BC High and Minnechaug. 

Coach Caitlin Klick-McHugh recognized the team’s hard work and passion, especially from the seniors, as the determining factors that led to them being crowned state champions. The team had to overcome the obstacle of having less practice time than most high school swim teams throughout the entirety of the season due to UMASS Lowell’s pool closing, where they used to practice, due to Covid-19.

“I think our team has learned to adapt quickly to different facilities, schedules, and training protocols to make our season successful,” KlickMcHugh said.

The core of this team were the seniors, notably Schwab, Yorke, Xu, and Hall, whose leadership and performance proved to be defining roles of this team.  

“We have eight senior boys on the team, and all eight qualified for states individually. Many of these swimmers have been competing together since age six,” KlickMcHugh said. “We knew that this cluster of talent doesn’t come along often, so if there was ever a year to get this done, it would be this year.”

Heading into the year, expectations were high for the Ghosts as they realized they had the potential to win states. The awareness of WA’s talent was known throughout the state giving them a chip on their shoulders from the very beginning. Through hard work, the qualified state swimmers rose to the occasion. 

“This win means everything to this team. Most of us have been swimming our whole lives and working hard everyday,” Yorke said. “For most of the seniors, this was their last swim meet and to go out on this win meant everything to them.”

WA’s swim coaches, awarded DCL Coaches of the Year, worked tirelessly during the season to set their swimmers up for success. The boys’ acknowledge how hard their coaches work and are grateful for their dedication to the team. 

“They kept us in check, they made sure we were comfortable, they did everything they could to put us in the best possible situation to succeed,” Schwab said. 

All four of the coaches pushed and supported their team everyday. Most importantly, they cheered on the swimmers making it known that they had potential and gave them the confidence to win.

“All four of our coaches, Caitlin [Klick- McHugh], Shauna [Klick-McHugh], Harriet [Kinnett] and Christin [Monaghan] are the best coaches we could ever ask for,” Yorke said. 

Concluding the season with a well-deserved state championship title, WA’s victorious outcome was due to their team chemistry. The way all of the boys’ supported each other made it possible for them to reach their goals. 

“We all have each other’s backs, and all are there for each other when we need it,” Schwab said. “We are there to congratulate each other, and to pick each other’s heads up if needed.”