A year after Marc Bourgeois won the 100 breaststroke for Old Rochester Regional (ORR) boys swimming at the 2017-18 Division 2 State Championships, the Bulldogs have themselves another state champion.
Jacob Cuoco, only a sophomore, became the state champion in the 100 butterfly after powering his way to a 50.96-second finish. Cuoco narrowly edged out Grant Beebe of Nantucket, who swam the 100 butterfly in 51.02 seconds. The Nantucket sophomore had beaten Cuoco in their previous matchup at South Sectionals. Cuoco finished the heat in 51.86 seconds, narrowly losing to Beebe, who finished up in 51.47 seconds.
But Cuoco was able to make the jump from one meet to the next to earn himself his first state title. As much as he put in the extra work throughout the course of the season, there wasn’t anything different he did physically or in terms of his preparation heading into the final meet of the year. At least, nothing physically changed for Cuoco.
The sophomore did make a slight change to his mental approach heading into the Div. 2 State Championships. He wasn’t thinking about winning or even finishing in the top-10. Cuoco didn’t place his focus on beating Beebe in the 100 butterfly either. All he was looking to do was stay under 51 seconds in the event.
“I was just like, ‘I won’t care about the placement at all. All I care about is getting under a 51.’ And that’s what I did,” Cuoco said. “When I finished, I didn’t realize I’d won. I asked my timer, ‘Wait, did I win?’ He said, ‘I think so.’ and looked at the board and said ‘Yeah, dude. You won.’ I was really, really surprised.”
Cuoco took the approach knowing full well the race would be tight and that he couldn’t afford to give up an inch. If he got caught up in what his competitors were doing, then he’d be left in their wake. Given the top-six finishers in the 100 butterfly all clocking within 1.81, his line of thinking proved true.
“We were grouped so closely together so I figured it could go any way,” Cuoco said. “None of us were really ahead of each other. We were milliseconds apart. So I wasn’t focused on placement as much because I could have been all over the place. I was just focusing on dropping my time.”
Cuoco also competed in three relay events for ORR at the Div. 2 State Championships, securing two top-10 finishes. Both the 200 free relay (1:34.31) and the 400 free relay (3:28.94) came in 10th place. Cuoco also swam a leg for the 13th place for the 200 medley relay team that finished in 1:46.61.
For a litany of reasons, Cuoco has a bright future ahead of him. One reason among them: he still has two years of high school ahead of him.
“He’s a sophomore: he’s 16 years old, and he’s not done growing,” ORR swimming coach Mitch Suzan said. “As he gets bigger and stronger, he’s only going to be more powerful in the pool.”
Old Rochester Regional graduate class of 2017 Ryan Beattybuilt on his freshman season with the University of New England’s basketball team. He averaged 9.6 points per game, shot 38.4 percent from the floor, and averaged 3.3 rebounds per game throughout 2018-19 with the Nor’easters. Beatty played in all 26 of the University of New England’s 26 games, starting in 16.
Boston College Basketball and Tabor Academy alum Chris Herren, Jr. saw the 2018-19 finish in the first round of the ACC Tournament with an 80-70 loss to Pitt. Herren was one of two Eagles to play in all 31 of the team’s games throughout the year. He made eight starts and averaged 15.5 minutes per game. The freshman shot 35.9 percent from the floor, 32.1 percent from deep, averaging 4.2 points per game at the Division I level.
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar