Andover Girls Varsity Swimming Completes Four-Peat at Interschols

For the fourth consecutive year, the Andover Girls Varsity Swim Team has proved to be an indomitable force in New England Swimming. Andover once again emerged victorious at the New England Swimming and Diving Championships held at Exeter on March 5th, scoring an astounding 324 points to beat out archrivals Hopkins and Exeter, who scored 261.5 and 223.5 points, respectively. Capturing wins in all three relays-a remarkable feat that proves the unparalleled depth of the team- Andover also took first places in the 100 and 200 Free with Hee-Jin Chang ’05 and in the 100 Fly with Co-Captain Alex Doty ’05. Chang was awarded the Robertson Award for the League MVP, an honor she also received her ninth and 10th grade year. Chang is the only athlete in the history of the league to win this award three out of her four years. The meet started out with an unexpected and exciting win in the 200 Medley Relay. The team of Co-Captain Doty, Co-Captain Liz Demers ’05, Emily Brenner ’06 and Alyssa Hill ’06 gained a first place for the Big Blue in the first event of the meet, and from that moment on the Big Blue was unstoppable. Hill commented on the motivation of the team, saying, “This team is truly amazing not only because we somehow manage to get best times race after race, but because we also inspire each other to swim faster. When I anchored the 200 Medley Relay, I had no idea how fast I was swimming. All I knew was that I had to catch up to the other girl because my team needed me. The true measure of a team is how far they will push themselves not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the team.” Co-Captain Doty’s first place finish in the 100 Fly with a time of 56.93 was a new school record. The 200 Free Relay team of Hill, Brenner, Erika Roddy ’07 and Chang also set a new school record of 1:39.88, which is only half a second off of the New England record. The 400 Free Relay team of Roddy, Katie Faulkner ’06, Doty and Chang secured the final win for Andover, setting a new pool record in the process. Other top finishes for Andover included fourth and fifth place finishes for Roddy and Hill in the 50 Free, and Janet Scognamiglio ’08 and Laura Benca ’05 finished 12th and 14th in the 200 IM. Faulkner and Carly Villareal ’07 followed Chang in the 200 Freestyle, placing fourth and 12th. Faulkner also finished fifth in the 500 freestyle. Liz Finnegan ’06 secured a fifth place finish in the diving event, followed by Rachel Reinauer ’07 in 11th. Co-Captain Doty gained a second place finish in the 100 Back, and Co-Captain Demers showed her talent by placing fifth in the 100 Breaststroke and seventh in the 100 Fly. Despite the many records broken and personal times recorded at Interschols, the most significant accomplishment for Andover was the incredible amount of sportsmanship and team spirit that the girls brought to the deck. Fans had only to glance down on deck at the unavoidable sight of 19 PA swimmers decked out in bright blue T-shirts with the quote “a winner’s strongest muscle is her heart” written on the back and they would know that it takes more than just talent to keep a swim team on top. “Interschols was an absolutely unforgettable experience. The day was more about being together, being a team, and being proud of one another than it was as about which records we were breaking or what places we were coming in. All we could control was the fun and the effort, both of which were cranked up to 100 percent!” said Co-Captain Doty. The monsta’ love of the Andover Girls Swim Team has once again proved that passion and teamwork does indeed create the dynamics and enthusiasm that propel a team to victory for four consecutive years.