Marion sets pair of records in Patriots win

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BENNINGTON — Mount Anthony swimmer Paige Marion is no stranger making waves in the pool.

This past summer, Marion won the Vermont Swim Association Division II state championship in the 50 free and 100 free, while swimming with the Triton Swim team.

Friday night at the Bennington Recreation Center, she added another accolade to her growing list. Marion set school records in the 50 free and 100 free in her team's meet against New Lebanon.

The Burr and Burton Academy senior notched a 26.13 second time in the 50 free, eclipsing the previous record of 26.47 set by Kate Ahearn, and she swam a 57.71 second time in the 100 free, topping the previous record of 58.16, set by former coach Anna Swierad's daughter, Katherine in 2002.

Marion's effort, along with a strong performance from her teammates, was the catalyst to lead MAU to victories against the Tigers on both the girls and boys side.

The girls topped New Lebanon 103-65, while the boys beat the opponent 123-23.

Marion was excited to be able to make history and be a major part of her team's victory.

"It means a lot. I took last year off, so it's a great way to start the season," Marion said.

Patriots coach Ann Webster-Lang pointed out there are many swimmers on the team that could be in a position to set records this season.

"We have a lot kids that are getting close to some records that have been around for years," Webster-Lang said. "That's exciting. I think that motivates the kids to want to swim a little bit faster. They always love swimming with competition."

MAU won every single relay contested Friday night, as they took the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay and 400 free relay on both the girls and boys sides.

As a team, they had three second place finishes in the relays as well.

In individual races, the Patriots had plenty of success as well. For the boys, Anthony Mazzola (200 individual medley and 100 breast), Zach LaForest (50 free and 100 free), Morgan Flynn (100 fly), Owen Denue (500 free) and Caden Watson (100 back), all finished first in their respective individual races.

For the girls, Grace Burhans (200 free and 500 free), Marion (50 free and 100 free) and Emily Aiscuitto (100 back), all finished first in their races.

MAU had 12 second-place finishers in individual events as well.

Some swimmers that stood out in Friday's meet for the Patriots were Marion, LaForest and Mazzola, who all won four events. Watson, Burhans and Aiscuitto all had three wins on the day.

Webster-Lang has seen the effort her team has put in first-hand and knows that had a major bearing on Friday's results.

"They've been putting in a lot of effort in the pool and in practice," Webster-Lang said. "I thought that showed today in how they competed."

"I just really wanted to try my hardest and try to get my best time," said LaForest, about his mindset going into the races. '"I think everybody does that. They try to get their best time and everybody did really well today."

Something that is noticeable about is how tight-knit their group of swimmers are. Being the only high school swim team in Vermont, the team is comprised of swimmers from Mount Anthony, Burr and Burton and Arlington. One would think there might be division between certain people on the team, but the opposite has been the case, and that's something Webster-Lang prides her team upon.

"They get along seamlessly. They interact as a team together," Webster-Lang said. "It kind of bridges any gaps there might have been. I'm lucky too because my son played for the BBA hockey team. I know how welcoming BBA was to my son and I try to do the same thing."

Even though the Patriots won Friday night, they know they can still improve and bring competitiveness to the next level.

"I think we need to make sure we're giving it our all," Marion said. "Everyone can improve on knowing how far, they can go."

MAU will be back in action next Friday against Pittsfield. The meet is set for a 4:30 p.m. start at Bennington Recreation Center.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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