Finishing out the season, the Keene State College women’s swim and dive had a stroke of success. Senior Hope Walsh received Little East Conference (LEC) Swimmer of the Year for the third time in her swim career and first-year Jessica Masotta received LEC Rookie Diver of the Year for the first time in her diving career.
Senior Hope Walsh has received LEC Swimmer of the Year three years in a row.
Before achieving this award, Walsh worked her way up the ranks, conquering in her competitions since her first year. As a first-year, Walsh was the champion in the 800 meter free relay in New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) Championship, broke KSC school records in the 800 meter free relay, as well as the 200 meter backstroke, placed second in the mile and third in the 200 and 500 meter freestyle at the NEISDA. She moved on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Invitational and placed third in the mile, fourth in the 200 meter backstroke and fifth in the 500 meter free relay.
Moving on to sophomore year, Walsh continued to perform well, receiving LEC Swimmer of the Year for the first time, as well as breaking the school record in the 1,650 meter freestyle. Walsh was also named NEISDA champion in the 1,650 meter freestyle, NEISDA runner up in the 1,000 meter freestyle and 800 meter free relay, LEC champion in the 1,650 meter freestyle, 500 meter freestyle, and 200 meter backstroke. On top of that, Walsh broke the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Dartmouth pool record in the 1,650 meter freestyle and placed third in the 500 meter free relay.
Going into her junior year, Walsh won LEC Swimmer of the Year for the second time, also receiving the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American Honorable Mention. Walsh went on to win the 500 meter free relay, the 1000 meter free relay, and the 1,650 meter free relay at the 2017 NEISDA championships. Walsh also placed first in the 200, 500, 1000 and 1650 meter freestyle back at the 2017 LEC Championships.
Walsh said she knew that one of her main goals was the claim LEC Swimmer of the Year for the third time. “It has been one of my favorite awards to win and it is such an honor. I was full of pure joy when I got the award,” Walsh said.
Walsh described the win as “the icing on the cake” and said that it proved to her that she has had a wonderful time swimming, and that her hard work paid off.
Walsh said her last season was a roller coaster and bittersweet the entire time.
“It really tested my emotions and love for the sport. It is so hard to cope with the fact that a sport you love is ending so fast, and that you know it’s coming the whole time,” Walsh said.
Walsh added that although there is a lot of pressure because everything is happening for the last time, that she is lucky enough to say she ended her season on great terms.
First-year Jessica Masotta finished her season on a high note as well, receiving LEC Rookie Diver of the Year.
Masotta proved to be a threat during the season, receiving LEC Rookie Diver of the Week three weeks in a row.
Masotta, a young diver and new addition to the KSC swim and dive team had a lot of adjusting to undergo, but quickly grasped diving through each practice.
Masotta went into the rest of the season working on her form and performing exceptionally well on the diving board.
Masotta earned LEC Rookie of the Year and said that earning this award was a huge highlight of her season.
“Especially as a freshman, it feels really nice to accomplish such a big award,” Masotta said. Masotta added that it was extremely nice to be able to train with such a supportive team, who made it all the more fun to be at practice.
“It feels really good to have all my hard work pay off and to finish strong,” Masotta said. With three years left for Masotta to improve, she has high hopes that she will accomplish even more in the years and seasons to come.
Walsh’s and Masotta’s teammates did not respond or comment.
With the season coming to end, winter KSC athletes finish out their seasons with accomplished goals and much earned success.
Caroline Perry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org