PROVIDENCE – When Blackstone Valley Prep ushers in its Athletic Hall of Fame sometime in the next decade or the 2040s, it’s a safe bet that Katie Chiappetta will be a shoo-in to appear in that inaugural class.
The talented BVP swimmer made school history in the girls’ meet at last Saturday’s RIIL Championships at Brown University with a truly incredible performance that saw her become the Pride’s first three-time state champion.
A season after capturing the state title in the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:55.34, Chiappetta returned to the Providence campus to win her second and third gold medals. And like her victory in the freestyle, which saw her seize that event by 0.4 of a second, Chiappetta struck gold by taking close races in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.
In the meet’s fifth event, the butterfly, she clocked a time of 58.28 seconds that nipped the runner-up finisher, Lincoln School junior Isabelle Chou, by 0.3 of a second. And four events later, in the backstroke, she took top honors in a school-record time of 57.48 seconds to edge the 2nd-place swimmer, Barrington senior Kristen Baker, by 0.49.
“It’s very exciting,” Chiappetta said of her multiple victories. “I swam in the (100-yard and 200-yard) freestyle (events) last year, but I decided it was my senior year and I wanted to do something that I could have a little more fun with, and I was really excited with how I swam. It was a lot of fun.”
When Chiappetta won her state title in the butterfly, she tied Bryan Zapata for the most state titles won by a BVP scholar-athlete – Zapata graduated BVP last spring after winning the boys’ 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke – but her championship in the backstroke put Chiappetta in a truly remarkable class by herself.
“I’m glad I could be compared to Bryan because he’s such a great swimmer,” added Chiappetta, who will continue her swimming and academic career at Middlebury College, a Division III school in Middlebury, Vt.
For the second year in a row, Lincoln High appeared in the top five in the team standings by scoring 150 points to finish in a tie for fifth place with the Lincoln School, and highlighting the Lions’ afternoon was senior Olivia Nault.
The top-seeded swimmer in the 50-yard freestyle with a state-best time of 24.5 seconds, Nault matched that time in the finals of that event, but it was only good for fourth place. The winner, Barrington senior Zoe Webster, was 0.24 of a second faster than Nault, and only 0.07 of a second separated Nault from third place.
But Nault came back to place seventh in the 100-yard freestyle in 56.03 seconds, and she also teamed up with the Alonzo sisters, seniors Sophia and Andrea, and sophomore Emma Richards on the 200-yard freestyle relay team that took fifth place (1:45.25) and the 200-yard medley squad that was seventh (1:57.56).
Richards also stepped onto the awards podium by finishing fifth in the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 1:01.37 and eighth in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:02.07.
Also grabbing top-10 finishes were sophomore Amanda DeCarvalho, who took ninth place in the backstroke (1:04.80), and the Lions’ 400-yard freestyle relay squad of juniors Sequoia Drolet and Katherine Kilsey, and freshman Caleigh Parent, and DeCarvalho, who placed 10th (4:10.28).
Cumberland High’s top swimmers were junior Payton Walmsley, who finished sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:11.74), and freshman Kaitlyn Samek, who took seventh place in the 500-yard freestyle (personal-best time of 5:33.05) and 10th in the 200-yard freestyle (2:06.62).
Walmsley and Samek also joined sophomore Kiley DeFusco and freshman Julia Nault on the 200-yard freestyle squad that placed eighth (1:48.82).
The top individual performance in the boys’ meet that took place in the morning came from Lincoln resident Matt Walden, who is a senior at Bishop Hendricken. He helped the Hawks place second in a very close meet with Division I rival Barrington by finishing second in the 100-yard backstroke (52.1 seconds) and 200-yard I.M. (1:55.17).
Walden, who also helped the Hawks’ 400-yard medley relay team win its race and the 200-yard medley relay squad take second place, came very close to striking gold in the I.M., but his time was a mere 0.01 of a second away from the winning time turned in by Classical sophomore George Groves.
Also placing among the top five teams in the standings were Cumberland, which took fourth place with 160 points, and Lincoln, which placed fifth with 130. The Clippers had finished fifth in the last two state meets, while the Lions placed as high as fifth for the first time in four years.
The bulk of the Clippers’ points came in the freestyle events from freshman Jarett Zito, who finished fourth in the 200-yard (1:49.85) and sixth in the 500-yard (5:05.12) events, and senior William Brennan, who took sixth place in the 100-yard (50.45 seconds) and seventh in the 200-yard (1:51.99) races.
Zito and Brennan also teamed up with seniors Anderson Jacinto and Stephen Zerva on the Clippers’ 400-yard freestyle relay squad that took third place (3:27.24), and Brennan, Jacinto, and Zito also joined freshman Jaiden Pontbriand on the 200-yard freestyle relay team that placed sixth (1:36.46).
Adding 9th-place finishes were Jacinto in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.58) and 100-yard freestyle (51.88 seconds) and Zerva in the 100-yard backstroke (59.58 seconds).
Freshman Holden Brown guided the way for the Lions by taking third place in the I.M. (PR of 1:57.42) and fifth in the butterfly (52.65 seconds), and he also joined seniors Ryan Allen, Luke Abrahamson, and Kacper Paprocki on the 200-yard freestyle relay team that finished third (1:35.61) and 200-yard medley relay team that placed fourth (1:45.95).
Abrahamson also placed fifth in the 500-yard freestyle (5:03:02) and eighth in the I.M. (2:06.76).
BVP was led by its youngest swimmer, freshman Jackson Chiappetta, who took third place in the backstroke, 0.01 of a second behind Walden, and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (PR of 52.19 seconds). Junior Nick Iannetta also placed ninth in the butterfly (56.84 seconds).
For the first time in the history of the boys’ meet, a special mixed 200-yard freestyle relay event took place after the 50-yard freestyle, featuring unified athletes from Cumberland, North Kingstown, and East Greenwich.
N.K. won the event, but Cumberland placed second in a time of 2:52:51 behind the team of sophomores Zachary Slesinger, Edward Cook, Anthony Johnson, and Sage Beauregard.
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