Alumni Profiles, Sports

Andover Alumni in Rio Olympics

Tim Wynter ’14

Whether he’s soaring through his backstroke competitions or excelling in the classroom as a psychology student at the University of Southern California, Tim Wynter ’14 is a force to be reckoned with. As the only male swimmer from Jamaica to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Wynter demonstrated that his blazing speed and deep knowledge of the sport make him a dynamic threat in the pool.

In his Olympic debut, Wynter swam in the 100-Meter Backstroke, ultimately falling short of the time needed to qualify for the semifinals. With a time of 57.20 seconds, Wynter finished second in his heat and 34th overall. Although eliminated from further competition, the Jamaican national record holder, with titles in both the 50-Meter and 100-Meter Backstroke, showed a lot of promise.

Wynter is paving the path and inspiring many other swimmers from both Andover and Jamaica alike.

Christian Alberga ’17, who will captain Andover Boys Swimming & Diving this winter and also hails from Jamaica, said, “He has not only inspired a generation of Andover swimmers, but all of the youth in Jamaica. The day of his race, hundreds of people of all different ages in Jamaica – some who didn’t even know Tim – were posting congratulations and sharing the video of his race because the entire nation is proud of him.”

Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Wynter’s tenacity and strong work ethic have contributed to his success in the pool. During his time at Andover, Wynter was an NISCA (National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association) All-American, winning the 100-Yard Backstroke at both the 2012 and 2014 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) Championships.

At the end of his Upper year, Wynter’s teammates attested to his natural leadership qualities of charisma and positivity by electing him as Co-Captain of Andover Boys Swimming & Diving.

Alberga said, “Tim is the type of guy to just step up and work when it’s time to work without complaining. He pushed through years of frustration from not improving to get to where he is now. He is very respectful and is the type of person every parent wants their child to be. Take away swimming and he is still an amazing person and student.”

Wynter’s honesty and discipline sets him apart from other swimmers.

“In practice, Tim led by example, with a quiet confidence that pushed everyone around him to work just a little bit harder,” wrote fellow Co-Captain Joe Faller ’14 in an email to The Phillipian. “I think it’s safe to say that Tim was one of the most dominant swimmers in Andover history, a fact that’s backed up by the sheer number of the ‘Tim Wynter 2014s’ that decorate the record board in the pool.”

Faller continued, “Both as a teammate and as a person, Tim was one of the most genuinely caring individuals I had the pleasure of knowing at Andover, and someone I’m proud to call one of my close friends. He was always ready to lend an ear or a hand to anyone who needed it and wasn’t hesitant to point out mistakes in a snarky, loving way, qualities which caused such a wide variety of people to naturally gravitate towards him.”

Wynter’s Olympic debut and his dedication to the sport will serve as inspiration for the many generations of Andover swimmers to come.

Alberga said, “The most impressive thing about Tim for the team and I is probably his Andover career. Tim’s determination to keep swimming at a high level and representing our nation while handling Andover schoolwork and extracurriculars is an amazing feat. Tim’s Olympic performance showed everyone that there is no limit to how well an Andover swimmer can do and that we can all achieve our goals if we put in the work.”

Louisa Chafee ’09

After the Argentinian team committed an unforced penalty in the Olympic Nacra 17 sailing event, the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team pushed its catamaran into fourth place in Guanabara Bay during the medal race. Louisa Chafee ’09 and her partner, Bora Gulari, then rapidly glided through the finish line to secure eighth place overall after a demanding five-day campaign of sailing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

A three-time All-American at Brown University, Chafee said she pursued sailing in college because of her passion for the sport. Following her college career, Chafee and Gulari won the Nacra 17 World Championship in  Clearwater, Fla., in February, which qualified them for the U.S. Olympic tema.

Prior to the start of the 2016 Olympics, Chafee and her skipper, Gulari, knew it would be an immensely tough campaign. The city’s constantly shifting weather would create winds that reached speeds upwards of 20 knots. The city’s pollution also posed a problem to the sailors as trash floated in many of the bays.

Chafee and Gulari weren’t able to finish their first and third races due to boat malfunctions and equipment failures. While the setbacks were initially costly in terms of their ranking, Chafee was determined to come back and succeed.

In the final seven races, the team made an incredible comeback, raising its rank eight positions and qualifying for the medal race. Chafee and Gulari ultimately settled for fourth in the medal race and eighth overall.

Chafee credits Andover for pushing her to pursue her dreams even if it meant deviating from the norm and facing adversity.

“A value I learnt at Andover was to do your thing,” she wrote in an email to The Phillipian. “Andover let me not take a math class Senior year and instead pursue other interests. It reinforced the idea that I can choose what I want to do, even if it’s a little unconventional.”

“I think Andover did a great job of pushing me outside my comfort zone and encouraging me to advocate for what I want,” Chafee continued. “During a new campaign, you’re constantly in situations that are uncomfortable or where you need to be vocal about something, so having that background helped.”

Before arriving in Rio, Chafee had an intense, regimented training schedule.

“I spent two years in the gym essentially, on top of my time sailing,” she said. “I’d be on the water for about three hours, and then do a two-hour gym session. It was grueling, but worth it. There’s a quote, ‘You never burn out mentally, because you always burn out physically.’ I found that to be scary accurate during the end of my campaign. Knowing that my body was strong enough for whatever conditions we’d be sailing in helped ease a lot of the pressure.”

Coming into the medal race, the Americans were the underdogs. After the starting countdown finished, the U.S. maneuvered its catamaran to an early second place. In a crucial mistake, the Americans made a wider turn as their boom swung right, and suddenly they were cut off by other racers. Pushed to fifth place, the U.S. raced steadily throughout the rest of the course.

Nearing the end of the course on the third mark, Chafee and Gulari were still in fifth. Suddenly, Argentina miscalculated their tack and crashed into the mark, causing them to be penalized and opening up a path for the U.S. to glide into fourth place.

Chafee said, “We had two breakdowns that cost us, but overall, we sailed an incredible regatta. My partner and I had only been training together for six months before the Games, so to come in eighth [overall] and fourth in the medal race was amazing. We’re very proud of all we accomplished.”

Sep 16, 2016