Caroline Zuffante is a junior at Winthrop High School, but she is becoming well known in the City of Lynn for her athletic prowess, specifically as the most valuable swimmer on the Lynn English High School team.
Zuffante just wrapped up another sterling season for the English/Winthrop co-op team, receiving Northeastern Conference All-Star honors and helping English win the Lynn City Meet over Lynn Classical and Lynn Tech. It was English’s first city title in seven years.
At the City Meet, Zuffante took first place in the 200-meter freestyle event and second in the 500-meter freestyle. She also led the 400-meter freestyle and 200-meter medley relay teams to first-place finishes.
The reigning team MVP, Zuffante, who is 5-feet, 7-inches tall, is a leading candidate to repeat that honor at the team’s awards banquet.
Zuffante, 17, has earned the respect of her teammates and head coach Lisa Trahant. She and fellow WHS student Caleigh Petersen were co-captains of the 2017-18 team. Her teammate, Mary Lawlor, was also an NEC All Star.
“Caroline is a leader and always helping the underclassmen with their swimming techniques,” said Trahant. “She’s been a great role model as a captain and brings a lot to the team with her knowledge of swimming. She’s one of the best captains I’ve ever had in my years as a coach.”
Caroline, who is also captain of the WHS girls cross country team, is enjoying her connection to the Lynn English athletes and coaches.
“It’s a long ride to practice each day but the people from English are really nice,” said Caroline, whose favorite swimmer is Missy Franklin. “The coaching I have received is really good. We have people who come in to the program and don’t know how to swim and the coaches teach them how to swim. The coaches [Lisa Trahant and her husband, assistant coach Matt Trahant] run great practices.”
Caroline began the road to high school swimming stardom at the age of 6. She enrolled in swimming at Revere Aquatics where her talent was immediately recognized. She went on to swim for the Crimson Aquatics team and currently swims for the Malden Crocs, as well as the Lynn English team.
Winthrop sports fans will certainly recognize the name “Zuffante.” Her older brother, Chris Zuffante Jr., was a three-sport athlete at Winthrop High, receiving the prestigious Irving Alexander Football Trophy. An excellent student, Chris Jr. is playing quarterback for RPI, one of the top engineering schools in the country. Her sister, Catherine, is a freshman running for the Winthrop High varsity track team.
Her father, Chris Sr., played basketball and baseball at Savio and went on to play both sports in Suffolk University. Her mother, Jeralyn, was a WHS gymnast and became a cheerleader at Division 1 Northeastern University.
In addition to her brilliance in the pool, Caroline is excelling in the classroom. She is a member of the National Honor Society, a high-honor roll student, and is ranked in the top four in the WHS Class of 2019. She realizes that she is a part of athletic royalty in Winthrop, having watched her brother compete in football, basketball, and baseball for the Vikings.
“I have a lot of respect for what my brother accomplished in his high school career and now at the collegiate level,” said Caroline. “We have great parents who are very supportive. They are always at the swim meets and I’m very grateful to them.”
Chris Zuffante Sr., a two-sport star himself when Saint Dominic Savio High School (later Savio Prep) in East Boston was an athletic powerhouse, is proud of Caroline’s accomplishments, knowing that his daughter put in long hours of practice to get to the top echelon of swimmers on the North Shore.
“I have never met a person who works hard than Caroline,” said Chris Sr. “She balances school and athletics with grace. I think it’s something that she learned from her brother. Time management is a key to a student-athlete’s success. I know that her coach said she was a huge part of winning the City Championships, but she deflects any accolades that come way and puts the team first.”
It is possible that Caroline Zuffante could be a candidate for two high school halls of fame in Winthrop and Lynn. But for now, the talented 17-year-old is focusing on her high school career and eventually competing at the collegiate level.