Northwestern Wins 11th Straight BL Meet

John Torsiello

April 7, 2023
Asa Bannerman, a junior at Northwestern Regional #7, wins the Berkshire League diving championship on March 2 at Shepaug High School. Bannerman broke a 15-year point record and went on to win the state class S championship on March 8.
Savage Frieze

There’s a lot of talk about what constitutes a sports dynasty:

• A three-year championship run;

• Five or more consecutive titles?

By any measure, Northwestern Regional 7 High School’s swim team can safely be called a dynasty. That’s what 11 straight league titles brings with it.

The Highlanders reached the impressive milestone when they dominated the competition at the Berkshire League meet at the John Reardon Pool at Kennedy High School in Waterbury in March. Northwestern tallied 888 points to finish more than300 points ahead of runner- up Shepaug—a school that had a long win streak in the Berkshire League meet before Northwestern assumed the role as perennial champ.

The Highlanders’ Katherine Beauchene won the 100-yard backstroke and broke her own BL meet record in swimming the event in 57.35 seconds. Beauchene, a junior, also finished third in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 51.40 seconds, a girls pool record.

In the Berkshire League, both boys and girls compete on the same team during the winter and girls often score important points in a league-wide meet, where points are awarded deep down the finishers’ list.

Noah Green was a double winner for Northwestern as he took the 200-yard individual medley with a 2:06.45 clocking and 100-yard butterfly in a time of 53.28, breaking his own record in the event he set last year. Green was the high points getter for the meet for the second straight year.

Green also teamed with Forest Russo, Reid Hester and Anthony Ficalora in winning both the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Russo won the 200-yard freestyle, Hester the 500-yard freestyle and Ficalora the 100- yard breaststroke.

Northwestern’s excellence in  the  pool  is  made  more remarkable in that the team has only 23 swimmers and divers this year. But strength at the top of the events and enough depth and versatility powered the Highlanders.

“We have a great group of hard-working kids,” said coach Mary Dimauro, who mentors the Highlanders along with her husband, Pat. “This year, all swimmers greatly improved, and we had a lot of returning swimmers. Our leaders in the pool are Noah Green, Forest Russo, Caven Kreske, Avan Wood, and Catherine Propfe. We take each year one at a time and continue to try to develop all of our swimmers.”

Northwestern diver Asa Bannerman recorded a rare triple feat this winter. She won the CIAC Splash—held for girls competing on boys swim teams—won the Berkshire League diving title—setting a new record for points for girls in the process—and finished first in the state Class S diving championship.

“Asa is the perfect combination of athleticism and mental tenacity—a coach’s dream,” said Northwestern diving coach Chris Royer. “She has a graceful presence on the board matched by an aggressively difficult dive list that she executes with consistency. Most importantly Asa is an amazing human. She has a very thoughtful, very kind mature beyond her years and very self aware. It is a privilege to coach an athlete of this caliber.” Bannerman. a junior, last year finished second in the state Class S diving meet behind then teammate John Courtemanche, and she won last year’s Splash meet dicing competition.

“The possibilities for Asa are endless,” Royer said.

Coach Dimauro savored her team’s accomplishments while looking ahead.

“We were confident going into the Berkshire League championship, but nervous because we always want everyone to swim well,” she said. “All of our swimmers scored points, either individually or in relays. They are a close-knit group of kids. They help each other in and out of the pool. There is pride in being a Northwestern swimmer. We swim for our team as well as the teams that came before us. Next year, we have many key swimmers returning, so we should be strong again.”

In addition to the meet winners, Northwestern got superb efforts from a host of swimmers. Gabriel Johnson was second in the 200-yard free and second in the 100-yard backstroke. Northwestern also finished third in both the 200- yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay and was second in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Beauchene was third in the 100-freestyle and Olivia Olsen was the first girl to finish in the 100-yard breaststroke.

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