Optimism and a sustained confidence are the keys that hold the Andover Girls Swimming and Diving together going into its biggest meet of the season, the New England Championships, or Interschols. Though its 2007 season has resulted in some surprising losses, the girls are fired up to show the rest of the league that they are still at the top of their game. However, Andover’s fight will not be easy. Andover has won the Interschols title for the past five years, but competitors like Choate Rosemary Hall, The Hopkins School, Loomis Chaffee and Phillips Exeter Academy are all battling away for a shot to knock Andover off its championship throne. Though Andover won by over thirty points last year, the meet will definitely be a much harder battle. Last season Andover won the meet without winning a single individual event, placing fifth in the 200m Medley relay while placing first in both the 200m Freestyle and 400m Freestyle relays. The team wishes to see just as much success in its freestyle relays this year. The team has also found significant promise in its Medley relay. The Medley, which has not been traditionally strong for Andover, is currently seated second overall in the league. As for individual events, Andover placed nineteen swims in the top sixteen last year. Though official standings have not been released, it looks as though Andover can squeeze just as many of its swimmers into the top sixteen this year as well. Though it may seem that Andover is underachieving this year, there are several factors to consider. When comparing its overall record of three losses, three wins and one tie to the other top five schools, it seems easy to pick Andover as the weaker team. As their final days of practice approached, the girls tried to forget about past meets and to focus on the task at hand. They plan to continue with this same motivation leading into Interschols, and follow the words that Coach Paul Murphy says before every meet: “Nothing matters beforehand, or after, this moment is about swimming fast today, right here, right now.” The girls will leave for Deerfield on Saturday night to be part of one of the most thrilling, adrenaline rushed, close competitions in Andover history, and they are all driven to come back with a win.