Smithfield Sentinel swimmers capture state championship

Smithfield Sentinel swimmers capture state championship

Members of the Smithfield High School boys swim team celebrate after winning the state championship Sunday at Brown University. The team defeated Bishop Hendricken, ending the private school's 24-year reign as champs.

They shook the Rhode Island high school swimming world at its foundation.

Utilizing team depth, the Smithfield High School boys swim team snapped the second longest winning streak in schoolboy sports history Sunday when they defeated 24-time state champion Bishop Hendricken, 323-316, at the Brown University pool.

The only streak longer than the two-decade-plus streak that the Hawks put together is Mount St. Charles Academy's 26-year reign as state hockey champion from 1978 to 2003.

"This was the perfect storm," said Smithfield coach Dave Cote. "Our guys started swimming together at the Smithfield YMCA and we have a nice blend of 11 seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen."

Cote, who coached the team members when they were just starting out at the YMCA, said the major win did not come as a surprise.

"We knew this year was in the pipeline and was coming," said Cote. "We had it all down on paper."

But having it on paper and completing the task in competition are often two very different things, but this group of Smithfield boys were up to the task.

Depth was the key, particularly with the relay teams and the backstroke swimmers, who picked up points by placing three swimmers in the top nine, while Hendricken had none.

Brady Greene placed sixth to pace the Sentinels, while Dan Chadwick was eighth and Evan Sousa, ninth.

Smithfield's 200-yard medley relay team won its race behind the efforts of Brady Greene, Chris Cote, Ryan Cote (both the coach's sons) and Tim DeCoste. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Ryan Cote, Chris Cote, Carlton Eaton and Rick Boardman also took a big first place.

While Smithfield had no individual race winners other than the relay teams, the Cote brothers, Greene, DeCoste, Sousa, Aaron McCutcheon and Eaton all had a pair of top nine finishes in various events.

It was the first state swimming title for Smithfield, which has only been competing in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League for four seasons.

Ryan Cote, who is also president of his senior class, led the team in scoring.

Picking up points in addition to the relay and backstroke swimmers were McCutcheon, sixth and Eaton, 10th, 200-yard freestyle; DeCoste, second, Greene, eighth and Sousa, ninth, 200-yard individual medley; Ryan Cote, second, Chris Cote, fifth, Kai Vennema, 12th, and Boardman, 14th, 50-yard freestyle; DeCoste, seventh, 100-yard butterfly; Ryan Cote, second, Eaton, third and Boardman 11th, 100-yard freestyle; McCutcheon, fifth, 500-yard freestyle; and Chris Cote, ninth, and Josh Morrow, 10th, 100-yard breaststroke.