Monday night, January 28, was no ordinary swim meet at the YMCA Allard Center in Goffstown, NH. It was the last Bedford High School home meet for graduating seniors, class of 2019. What is called ‘Senior Night’ is the last swim meet before the state championship meet, but also an annual celebration for seniors who celebrate the fact that these races are of their final races in their high school swimming careers. Friends and family come to support the senior swimmers while the underclassmen coordinate decorations and elaborate posters dedicated towards their mates.
Senior Night 2019 began with breath-taking decorations by the underclassmen to set the exciting tone. The stands were filled with red, black, and silver balloons and streamers, elaborate senior posters were taped up on the wall, and huge cardboard cutouts of the senior swimmers’ heads lined the back wall. Friends and family filled the stands as the meet begun, and the seniors were able to swim events that they had specifically requested.
Usually for any high school swim meet, after the first couple of events, there is ten minute a break for swimmers to hop into the pool to warm back up. For Monday, when the break began, underclassmen BHS swimmers sat in a row on the edge of the pool, ready for the senior celebration to begin. First, Dover seniors were announced name by name. They walked up to the center of the pool deck each one after another and shook hands with Bedford coaches, Jennifer Cullen and Lisa Pratte. After the Dover seniors were introduced, Bedford seniors were announced each one by one: Natalie Anderson, Ainsley Connors, Sydney Leyden, Aubrey Patrick, Sydney Richardson, Emma Jane Tagliaferro, Colin Allen, Cam Piacentini, Alex Tjie, Will Zimmerman, and Jake Zwickau. They shook hands with Bedford coaches and each received a single rose. Pictures with families and friends immediately followed crowded upon the pool deck.
What was very unique and exciting to watch during the second half of the meet after the break had ended was the four pairs of swimmers who raced against their sisters in the 200 yard freestyle relay. This was all fun and friendly competition as each sister faced off against their sibling, head to head. One relay consisted of Megan Leyden (freshman), Isabelle Tagliaferro (sophomore), Sierra Dinndorf (junior), and Emily Richardson (freshman), the relay which was known as the “younger” relay. In the “older” relay was Sydney Leyden (senior), Emma Jane Tagliaferro (senior), Katelyn Dinndorf (junior), and Sydney Richardson (senior). In the results of the race, the younger relay out-touched their older sisters.
Although all of the seniors qualified for the state meet, Senior Night 2019 was the last meet with the team as a collective whole. Though the season is not over just yet, memories from this night will mark part of the end of high school swimming for the class of 2019. Now that eleven seniors are departing on their ways, the team looks forward to the new swimmers who are ready to join their swimming family in next season.