Last spring, Tyngsboro High School co-ed swim and dive team coaches Dan Shanahan and Jen McGlauflin were concerned about losing the team due to lack of participation from Tyngsboro High School athletes. They initiated an effort to team up with Groton-Dunstable Regional High School athletes, and this winter the team was made up of half Tyngsboro students and half Groton-Dunstable students.
Little did the coaches know that not only would the added students provide the numbers to fill the roster, but the swimmers and divers gained from Groton-Dunstable would significantly raise the competitiveness of the team, and result in a team presence at both the North Sectionals and the States for both the boys and girls.
This year, Tyngsboro competed in the Dual County League against the likes of Wayland, Lincoln-Sudbury, Concord-Carlisle, and Westford -- powerhouses of winter swimming and diving in the state. After only winning a single meet in the past last two seasons, the Tyngsboro teams this year ended the season with a set of respectable records.
The boys team finished with five wins and seven losses while the girls bettered that with five wins, five losses and a tie.
At the Dual County League championships, Jonathon Cahoon of Groton captured eighth place in the 50 Freestyle and seventh place in the 100 Butterfly, while his brother Thomas earned 15th place in the 50 Freestyle, and 13th in the 100 Backstroke.
On the girls side, Heather Bonnett of Groton earned a pair of 12th place finishes (200 Individual Medley, 100 Butterfly) while sister Renee finished 13th in the Breaststroke. Caleigh Dion of Dunstable placed ninth in the 100 Freestyle, and Sarah Francisco of Groton earned a 12th place finish in the 200 Freestyle, and a ninth place finish in the 500 Freestyle.
The highlight of the meet for the Tyngsboro team was in the Girls 200 Freestyle Relay. With a time of 1:49.50, the team of Sarah Rasmussen (Groton), Renee Bonnett, Francisco and Caleigh Dion broke the Tyngsboro school record, qualified for States and jumped five places to finish eighth.
In the North Sectional Meet, that was held at MIT, five boys swimmers (four from Groton-Dunstable) and eight girls swimmers (six from Groton-Dunstable) participated.
The highlight for the boys team came when the 200 Freestyle relay team of Jonathon Cahoon, Thomas Cahoon, Cam Thirkell (Tyngsboro), and James Gresock (Groton-Dunstable) recorded a State qualifying time of 1:37.71.
For the girls, Renee Bonnett dropped 1.37 seconds in the 100 Breaststroke to qualify for States. The 400 Freestyle Relay team of Dion, Renee Bonnett, Heather Bonnett and Francisco dropped over 14 seconds from their previous best to finish in 4:01.40, making the State cut by well over six seconds and jumping five places to grab 10th overall.
Competing at the State Championship meet at Harvard's Blodgett pool from the Tyngsboro team were Jonathan Cahoon in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly, Heather Bonnett in the 100 Butterfly, Renee Bonnett in the 100 Breaststroke and relay swimmers Cam Thirkell, James Gresock, Caleigh Dion, Sarah Rasmussen and Sarah Francisco. The highlight of the meet was when the 200 Freestyle relay team of Rasmussen, Renee Bonnett, Francisco and Dion finished 12th, in scoring position, with a best time of 1:48.98.
For their first experience with high school swimming, these Groton-Dunstable swimmers and divers really made a splash.