Andover Wave Whitewashes Hopkins Girls

The hours of training all led up to this one day, this one race: Hopkins. Andover’s Swimming Women had done a mini-taper so that their bodies would be rested and ready to speed past the competition. Coach Paul Murphy’s plan of a perfect day had gone awry when, only days before the meet, he found that four swimmers were going to be unable to compete. The day started on a sour note, as Murphy’s plan to split the A and B relays (so that the squad could go 1-2 and take the maximum amount of points) failed. Murphy figured this would not be a problem seeing that Hopkins usually only fields fast freestylers. Hopkins, however, stacked their first relay with their fastest swimmers, and by the end of the third leg of the relay, Andover held a slight lead. The Big Blue’s Tracey Zicherman ’03 faced off against Kristen Skroski ’04 of Hopkins, one of New England’s fastest distance freestylers. The relentless Skroski sped past Zicherman, despite her best efforts, to take the win. Andover’s second relay placed third, still leaving the Blue trailed 6-8 at the end of the first event. Hopkins continued to dominate taking the 1-3-5 spots in the 200 freestyle. Although junior sensation Katie Faulkner ’06 gave it her all, she was unable to catch Hopkin’s Megan Loock ’04, last season’s third place finisher at Interschols. Despite finishing second, Faulkner had a great race, touching in under two minutes for the first time this season. As hard as the girls tried, they still could not secure a first place in the 200 individual medley, giving Hopkins their third consecutive win. Kim Walker ’03 and Captain Sarah Demers ’03 tried to catch Hopkin’s A. Tichey but were unable to do so. The senior pair grabbed second and third, leaving the score at a disheartening 19-27. As soon as the meet was starting to look gloomy, Hee-jin Chang ’05 smashed into first place in the 50 free, beating the fastest Hopkins swimmer by almost two seconds. By the end of the first half, the girls trailed their Hopkins competitors by a whopping six points. The PA squad, resilient as always, stepped it up in the second half to bring home yet another win for the Big Blue. Taking a break from the dim first half, the girls were ready to see what the diving divas could do to Hopkins. The divers really pulled through evening out the score by placing first, second and fifth. Captain Janis Scanlon ’03 came in with an amazing score of 234.25. Much to her disappointment, Scanlon only missed the pool record by one point! Making her debut in second place was impressive newcomer Liz Finnegan ’06. Usual star Jackie Leboutillier ’04 was extremely ill and unable to compete. Had she been there, the Big Blue would have swept the event. Opening up the afternoon with another win was Alex Doty ’05 in the 100 fly. To tally her second win of the day, Chang ’05 won the 100 free with a time of 52.22. PG Margaret Ramsey ’03 took third in the event. Faulkner, who had narrowly missed a win in the 200 free, dominated the 500 free, winning it by over six seconds. Faulkner, who came in at a time of 5:19.91, lifted the spirits of the team, keeping PA in the lead. Faulkner’s gusty performances in the most grueling events, the 200 and 500, prove her commitment to the team. Battling it out for fourth were Hopkin’s star water polo player McHugh and Kristina Chang ’04. Neck to neck for the first sixteen laps, McHugh pulled away and took the fourth place. Next up was the 200 free relay, which turned out to be the turning point for the meet. The relay team of Demers ’03, Kate Page ’04, Walker, and Ramsey won the event by a hair, with a time of 1:42.39. For her second win of the afternoon, Doty splashed into first in the 100 back, in barely over a minute. It was the Demers duo, however, that secured the win, taking first and second in the 100 breast. Captain Demers ’03 came in a mere two milliseconds before younger sister Demers ’05. Walker also came in fourth to push the girls over the ninety three point mark, the minimum amount of points a team needs to win a meet. The girls concluded the meet with a 1-3 finish in the 400 freestyle relay. In the words of Mari Ono ’03, “The Hopkins girls made up an incredibly strong team and for the first half of the meet, they had all of us sweating. However, after diving and our stacked second half, I think it was quite clear which team was the superior. We’re all looking forward to some grueling practices so we can go to Interschols, beat Hopkins out again, and take another year as the New England Champions.”