Boys Swimming Beats Exeter, First Time in 33Years; Neuwirth ’06 Anchors Meet-Clinching Relay Victory

Finally. After a 33-year losing streak, the Andover Boys Varsity Swim team concluded its dual-meet season on Wednesday with a victory against the perennial powerhouse that is, or more accurately was, the Phillips Exeter Academy Boys Swim team. Jamie Neuwirth ’06 anchored the meet-clinching relay in the nail-biting 94-91 Andover victory over Exeter. On Saturday, Andover handily defeated Williston and Iona Prep. Neither team really presented much competition and, though Andover collected two wins, the meet understandably had nowhere near the importance as the win against Exeter. On Wednesday, the 8-0 Andover team stepped onto the Exeter pool deck knowing that this could be their year. Though Exeter won the opening 200 medley relay, Andover hardly let that get it down as the relay of Julian Azaret ’08, Scott McColl ’07, Dennis Jow ’07, and Stephen Lee-Kramer ’09 placed second while the other Andover relay took third. In the 200 freestyle, Neuwirth secured Andover’s first victory with a win while teammate Howie Kalter ’07 took second place. This left Exeter’s top two swimmers with the third and fourth places. In the 200 IM, Exeter took first place, but Andover racked up more points in the event as Scott McColl ’07, Kevin Zhai ’08, and Dennis Jow ’07 placed second, third, and fourth respectively. The 50 freestyle proved to be a competitive race as Captain Jeff Zhou ’06 placed second, losing won by only .01 seconds. Lee-Kramer placed fourth and was also out-touched for third by an Exeter swimmer by .01. Reliable Corey Psoinos ’07 dominated the three Exeter divers, winning by more than 50 points. Then, Captain Zhou dominated the 100 butterfly, winning by almost three seconds, while Brendon Sullivan ’07 placed third. Then, Neuwirth controlled the 100 freestyle and exhibited incredible endurance, as he swam the second 50 meters faster than the first 50, which is almost unheard of. Bob Divers ’07 came in very close behind in fourth place. In the grueling 500 freestyle, Azaret and Kalter placed second and third, following an outstanding Exeter distance swimmer, while Zhai placed fifth. The always competitive 200 freestyle relay followed, and the unstoppable Andover team of Zhou, Lee-Kramer, Divers, and Neuwirth won yet again, this time by more than two seconds. In the 100 backstroke, a very sick Azaret swam two seconds over his personal best, but still captured third, while Andrew Faulkner ’07 took fourth, and Lee-Kramer fifth. Exeter took first in the 100 breast stroke, but Andover stayed strong with Jow finishing second, McColl taking third, and Ryan Ferguson ’07 placing fifth. This left the point total going into the final relay Andover 86 – Exeter 85. Everything depended on this last relay, and all of the pressure was on four of Andover’s best: Zhou, Divers, McColl, and Neuwirth. In an intensely competitive race, they beat both Exeter teams, which was enough to clinch the victory. Captain Zhou said, “I am so proud of everyone who really stepped up today. There is no way we could have won without everyone, because every point counted. After this win, I’m looking forward to Interschols even more.” The meet against Williston and Iona Prep the previous Saturday began with a 1-2 Andover victory in the 200 Medley Relay. Neuwirth then dominated the 200 freestyle, placing first by almost four seconds, and taking two seconds off his personal best. Tony Feng ’09 cruised into third place. McColl easily won the 200 IM with an outstanding time of 2:04:25, while Ferguson took third. In the 50 freestyle, exceptional freshman Lee-Kramer recorded his first victory in an individual event and Sullivan finished third. Psoinos dived to victory yet again, this time more than doubling the score of the only other male diver. Then Jow and Sullivan successfully swept the 100 fly. Neuwirth wowed the crowd with a victory in the 100 freestyle with a time of 48.49. In the 500 free, Azaret and Eric Van Oss ’07 swam great races and placed first and second respectively. The Andover relay of Neuwirth, Sullivan, Lee-Kramer, and Divers won the 200 free relay by a large margin. Azaret and Andrew Faulkner controlled the 100 backstroke, recording Andover’s fourth 1-2 finish of the day, and both finishing more than four seconds ahead of the third place finisher. McColl and Ferguson placed first and second in the 100 breaststroke. The meet concluded with an Andover win in the 400 free relay. Although the Andover Boys Swimming season has already been memorable, without a win at next weekend’s New England Interscholastic Swimming Championships, the team will not truly make its mark in the record books. Star freestyler Neuwirth said, “Exeter will be gunning for us. They are not going to roll over and play dead. We have both proved that we are much better than the rest of the field, so it will really just be a rematch of today. We have the opportunity to take the title. It’s ours to lose.” Exeter will host the competition.