BENNINGTON >> For the team's final home meet of the summer, the Bennington Marauders swim team continued to rack up best times as they get ready for Districts and the State meet in a few weeks.
They faced a top-notch Manchester Tritons group on Tuesday at the Bennington Rec Center.
"The kids did really well, we had some significant drops in times," said Marauders coach Nicole Goswami. "Most have qualified for districts and states. I was impressed with how they swam, some kids dropped five seconds with events they've done. The hard work is paying off."
Zach LaForest won all his individual events, including two heats back-to-back. He competed in the second heat of the 50-yard backstroke and won in 34.15 seconds, just ahead of his Marauder teammate, Anthony Mazzola. Then in the very next event, the 100-yard butterfly, LaForest tired in the final 25 yards, but managed to top another teammate, Morgan Flynn, with a 1:17.43 time.
In her last home meet individually, Phebe Hall also won all of her individual events. That included a win in the 50 fly, the 100 back, the 50 back and the 100 yard fly.
"It's bittersweet [for my last home meet]. I've been on the team since I was 8, so I'm going to miss the team a lot," said Hall, who will attend Southern New Hampshire University in the fall. "I'll probably miss the atmosphere the most, it's like a big family, it's just going to be tough and weird."
Emily Barilone also competed in her final home meet.
"Today, I was like, 'Yay swim meet, but, oh no, it's my last one,'" Barilone said. "I'm going to miss all the little kids, they're the best. You get to know all of them individually and see them grow. I was always the older kid, I'll come back and see them evolve."
Ezra Andres, a newer face to the Marauders, was perfect in his events as well. He won his heat in the 50 yard freestyle, then followed it up with a win in the 50 fly. Next, he won the 50 breast and finished his day with a win in the 100 yard free.
"Ezra is here for the summer and he's a strong swimmer," Goswami said. "He's gotten amazingly better since last summer."
Logan Parizo won a pair of events, the 25-yard fly and the 25 back.
Grace Burhans was the top finisher in the 50-yard backstroke in 36.91 seconds.
For Manchester, Oren Maier and Makenna Mylott won a pair of events each, while Aryn Iannuzzi won the 100 yard Im, along with the 100 yard breaststroke. Her sister Claire won the 50-yard breaststroke.
Goswami said there were a few tears shed on Tuesday but that when the season ends, that will be tough.
"I've had Phebe for 10 years now, saying goodbye is hard, you really get attached to the kids," Goswami said. "You see them grow from little kids to young adults. Phebe and Emily are great role models for the team, when I have [let them go] that will be really hard.
As part of their lives through swimming and otherwise, Goswami said she's been around the kids a lot.
"I didn't have Emily swimming for me as long, her sisters were swimming before her, but she had a love of swimming and she took off. She wanted to come to every practice and meet, she gives me 110 percent every day," Goswami said. "Her personality on the deck is what you the younger kids to see. I've watched them cry, laugh, have heartbreak and joy, all the emotions are there."