Higham Swim Overcomes Early Obstacles and Finishes Their Season Strong

Senior captain Kelsey Donegan led the team in total points this season. 

February 26, 2024 – Story by Ava DiCecca, photos by Joshua Ross

As sectionals and states came to a close over the past two weeks, Hingham Swim finished their season strong and continued to rise above the many obstacles they have encountered this season. As a team that faced many injuries and small numbers, they put on a fantastic performance this year, the girl’s team finishing 6-2 and placing 4th in the Patriot League Championships and the boy’s team finishing 3-5 and placing 5th in the Championships. Head Coach Kait Mcdonough and her captains worked hard to keep the team continuously enthusiastic and striving for success despite any hardship and they have impressive records and many individual achievements to show for it. 

Senior captain Maksim Zaitsev was part of the 200 Medley Relay.

On top of applauding all her captains and their great success in leading the team this year, she gave a shout out to some swimmers who did especially well this season and in the past meets. On the girl’s side, she mentioned senior captain Kelsey Donegan who led the team in points posting 3rd in the 100 Free and 2nd in the 100 backstroke and sophomore Ella Cignetti who placed 3rd in the 200 IM and the 100 fly. On the boy’s side, she gave a shout out to sophomore Kyle Donegan who placed 4th in the 500 free, sophomore Brian Ma who placed 5th in the 100 backstroke, and sophomore Ronan Flannery who scored 4th in the 100 Breaststroke and the 200 Medley Relay with senior captain Maksim Zaitsev, Ma, and Donegan. In all, freshman Dory Macguire, sophomores Ella Cignetti and Emma Izmirilic, and Senior Captains Kelsey Donegan and Genevieve Vale qualified for sectionals and states, a huge accomplishment for them. Mcdonough commented that in addition to all these amazing performances, she is “most proud of the team for their dedication, resilience, and unity in overcoming challenges and consistently giving their best effort.”

Freshman Dory Maguire, with an impressive rookie season, will be someone to watch over the next couple of years.

The captains also had a lot of positive things to say about the season. Lina Matera was unfortunately not able to get in the pool this year but she talked about the fantastic opportunity she had to take on a coach position for this young team and instruct and guide her teammates. She stated that she noticed since the beginning of the season “everyone got a lot more comfortable taking advantage of the team setting and I would like to think everybody thinks the swim team is more of a family rather than just a high school swim team. It is so much fun, everyone loves each other, and people are improving in the pool as well.” Genevieve Vale had a very strong season herself but was the first to compliment the team as a whole for making up in strength what they were missing in numbers: “even though we may not have the quantity that we used to have, every swimmer is a really quality swimmer.” She was proud to see many of her teammates achieving PRs and making time cuts as the season progressed, stemming from their hard work. Furthermore, both girls applauded their young teammates for never being intimidated by the size of the opposing team and having confidence in their abilities and the team’s despite lower numbers.

Sophomore Brian Ma is another underclassman with a bright future in the pool.

Captain Maksim Zaitsev gave some great insight into the boy’s season as well and also emphasized the supportive environment that they created. He commented, “I feel like the team grew up with each other very well so we really got to know each other. We were rooting for each other all the time, really supporting one another, and we made each other want to do better.” Overall, he seemed happy to have finished out his time on the team in an environment like this one. 

Sophomore Ella Cignetti continued make a huge impact in her second season on the team.

Through strong leadership and a widespread resilient mindset, this team was able to overcome the “headwinds” as Coach Mcdonough called them, that came early in the season. This is both an accomplishment of the coach and captains for leading the team through adversity, and of the young swimmers who were coachable, positive, and determined from start to finish. The team will be in very good hands next season and though they will aim to increase their numbers, we should expect great things from them either way. 


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