On Saturday, the high school boys swim team won the Cape Cod Classic, a first for the program. The annual tournament features six local competitors — Barnstable, Nantucket, Nauset, Saint John Paul, Sandwich and the Vineyard — and the competition is heated each year.

“We were going in expecting to give 110 per cent to win because one of the parents of the swim team counted up the [projected] points and we were expected to lose by two points to Sandwich,” said swim team co-captain and senior Emmett Silva.

But on Saturday, securing those few extra points proved easy as the Vineyarders outpaced their nearest competitor, Nauset, by 12 points. Sandwich placed third.

Emmett Silva and Kaua DeAssis. — Ray Ewing

The 11-member boys team ranges from middle school beginners to seniors in high school, but everyone played a part in Saturday’s win, said coach Jennifer Passafiume.

“So far, the boys this year are undefeated,” said Ms. Passafiume. “They walked in confident and excited on Saturday, but also knew that they had to be smart and strong in their swimming. They did exactly what they needed to do.”

Ms. Passafiume has been coaching swimming since she was 16 years old, and swimming herself since early childhood. She began leading the high school team in 2020, when the season was entirely virtual because of the Covid pandemic.

“We would literally set up our equipment here at the pool, run our line-up of swimmers and then merge our results with the other team’s to see who would have won,” she said. “Needless to say it’s much different to swim in person, with someone competing right beside you.... And it’s much more exciting to coach now.”

Tearing up the lane. — Ray Ewing

Ms. Passafiume has been a part of the swimming program at the YMCA for years. She’s been with some of her swimmers since they took their first dips in the water, teaching them their strokes and how to float. It’s surreal, she said, to watch them now, achieving success at the high school level.

Junior Kaua DeAssis has been on the team since his freshman year. Now an upperclassmen, he said he does his best to help mentor some of the younger swimmers, as others did for him.

“When I first joined the team, there was always that one captain swimmer that I looked up to and wanted to be like,” he said. “I wanted to be as fast as him and to get to his level, and that’s what motivated me. Now, I’m one of those people someone might look up to and I’m trying to take that on.”

Senior Olympia Hall, a member of the girls team, agreed. About half of the 15-member girls team are seventh and eighth graders, but she and her fellow high schoolers try to foster camaraderie that spans the ages.

Senior Olympia Hall. — Ray Ewing

The girls team placed fifth overall at the Cape Cod Classic, and several swimmers achieved new personal records or qualified for future meets.

German exchange student Paula Geschke secured a spot at the state championships with her times in the 100 fly and 500 freestyle. In Germany, she swam competitively and continues to do so for the Vineyard team. 

On Monday, back at practice, the boys and girls teams dove back in the water to ready themselves for two more competitions at the end of the week.

Practice ended with some pool games.

Boys team is currently undefeated. — Ray Ewing

“A lot of the sport is individual, but even still we’ve really become like a family,” said Kaua. “And now, if we can get our team to go undefeated and win conference championships...we’ll really make our mark.”