WATERTOWN — The Watertown girls swimming team’s traditional celebratory dip in the pool felt extra sweet this year.
Jasmine Ferguson won the 100-yard butterfly and was part of two winning relays with Julia Urf and Mallory Peters as the host Cyclones won its 11th straight Frontier League league meet crown Saturday. The team always caps off each triumphant FL championship meet with a leap into the pool.
“I haven’t done that in a really long time, so it was a treat for them,” Longtime Watertown coach Lori Peters said.
Watertown placed first with 471 points and South Jefferson finished second with 371. Lowville, Thousand Islands and Indian River rounded out the top five. The victory felt more enjoyable considering there was no Frontier League meet in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We’ve had to make up for the lost time of last year and we weren’t sure if we were going to win, but we’ve been pushing ourselves every single practice,” Cyclones senior Nina Colello said.
This year’s tournament was also affected by the pandemic as only race volunteers and officials were allowed to be part of the event as was the case in other meets this season.
“It still felt a little crowded because of all the teams, but we just had our parents here,” Watertown senior Julia Urf said.
Peters added that the upcoming Section 3 meets may not allow fans to attend. However, the swimmers, some Watertown parents and volunteers provided enough noise that seemed to match the crowd that attended the previous FL meet, in 2019, at Thousand Islands.
“It was hard for the swimmers to not have spectators,” Peters said. “I know our team of parents cheered for all the other teams.”
One of the more raucous events was the 200 freestyle relay that the Cyclones team of Julia Urf, Olivia Urf, Ferguson and Peters won by a narrow margin. Watertown edged out South Jefferson’s team of Julia Garvin, Carley Hughes, Emma Purvis and Ava Burns by .58 seconds. There was some drama while officials sorted out a timing issue before the Cyclones found out they placed first.
“We didn’t really think we were going to get it (the win),” Julia Urf said. “We had all that suspense with the time mess-up, but we found out we won and it felt so good.”
Loise Pador won the 100 breaststroke to help the Cyclones get some separation after placing the top-three swimmers in that event. Colello just missed out winning the event against her teammate and longtime friend, but was satisfied with her performance.
“We’re both seniors and we’ve both had the last six years together,” Colello said. “Being able to have that last swim together in our home pool was super special and I’m so happy for her.”
The Spartans’ Burns and Purvis both won two individual events with Burns winning the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle. Burns dominated the field in the 500 and won with a mark of 5:45.58, which was 24 seconds better than the nearest finisher.
“I thought for a freshman I did pretty well for myself,” Burns said.
Purvis claimed victories in the sprint events of the 50 and 100 freestyle, but South Jefferson saved the best for last by setting a league-meet record in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Burns, Purvis, Hughes and Aurora Jarvie turned in a time of 3:57.55, which eclipsed the old mark by two seconds.
“Our coach (Pat Conners) told us we have had a chance to break it on Friday and that was our goal going in is to get that record,” Purvis said.
Lowville’s Meredith Lovenduski took the 100 backstroke and her teammate Shelby Law won the 200 freestyle. Emma Dicob of Beaver River won the diving competition on Oct. 15 in Lowville.
The Section 3 meets are scheduled for Nov. 5 with the Class A and B meets at Nottingham and the Class C event at Skaneateles. The diving event is Oct. 30 with Class A competing at Liverpool and Classes B and C at Jamesville-DeWitt.