EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 1, 2013

Swimming bond

Lifelong friendship a boost for Aramian, Franklin ... and Hillies

By Dave Dyer

---- — HAVERHILL — There are few concerns about chemistry and team unity on the Haverhill girls swimming team.

With seniors Cali Aramian and Maggie Franklin two of the four captains, it’s just not worth worrying about.

Aramian and Franklin are closer than many sisters and work so well together in and out of the pool that their cohesion rubs off.

It’s almost natural when you’ve been best friends and near neighbors since preschool.

Because their mothers were friends and lived close to each other, Aramian and Franklin got together even before they both attended the Pentucket Lake Elementary School and Whittier Middle School.

As youngsters, they both played baseball and basketball together and then were on the same New England Barracudas swim club, which is now Solo Aquatics. They study together, hang out on the weekends and have even shared family vacations, to Florida and North Conway.

And now Aramian and Franklin are the leaders and standouts of another solid Haverhill team (4-1) which could place high in the Division 1 state meet. Both were members of the school record-setting 400 freestyle relay which placed fourth at states. Aramian was on the third place 200-medley relay team.

Each also had success in their individual specialties, Franklin in the 200 freestyle (16th) and 500 freestyle (13th) and Aramian in the 100 butterfly (13th) and 100 backstroke (8th). With a strong summer of training behind them, they’re aiming for at least a top 10 finish if not top five.

With other stalwarts like the Broderick sisters, Meaghan, a senior, and promising freshman Kaitlyn, as well as standout diver Michaela Sliney, that should make up for the loss of 100 backstroke and 50 freestyle state champion Sarah Broderick. She is now swimming for UNH.

Regardless of their individual finish at state, the Aramian-Franklin bond has had a tremendously positive influence on the team, according to veteran coach Rick Battistini.

“They do everything together and they’re stronger because of it,” said Battistini. “The rest of the team sees their wonderful relationship and how hard they both work and it trickles down to the rest of them.”

Although they’re good friends, or maybe because of it, Franklin and Aramian aren’t adverse to going after each other in practice.

“We’re really competitive with each other, but in a good way,” said Franklin, a National Honor Society student ranked 25th overall in her class. “We try to beat each other. We push each other to get better.”

Whoever falls short is never envious or upset. The finer qualities of their friendship prevent that.

When asked what Aramian’s best trait is, Franklin says: “She’s just very selfless and always thinking about people other than herself.”

And Aramian’s response to the same question about Franklin? “She is always in a good mood, carefree and funny.”

Both hope to continue swimming in college. Franklin is focusing on the University of Rhode Island, where older brother and former Haverhil swimmer Tom graduated, while Aramian will probably decide between URI and the University of Vermont.

Thus, there’s a chance that the good friends will remain together. Aramian, who is also an excellent student ranked in the top 10 percent of her class, sees the positive and negative of that.

“That would be awesome if we went to college together, but it’d also be good if we didn’t,” said Aramian. “It might be good to make new friends, and I know I’ll always have Maggie.”

For now, however, there are no negatives for them, and certainly not for the rest of the team.