Girls Kick Off Season With Pool Record

Andover’s 200 Medley Relay team blew past both Suffield and Peddie to clinch the first event of the season, posting a final time just 0.13 seconds short of the 2002 school record. With a 1:50.27 finish, the combined efforts of Lauren Conte ’14, Danielle Liu ’14, Co-Captain Amy Zhao ’14 and Co-Captain Kaitlin Simpson ’14 put Andover Girls Swimming ahead in a tight race against two strong teams. Despite its strong start and a new pool record, Andover fell 120-65 to the reigning New England Champions, Suffield, and to Peddie 115-61. Having graduated seven Seniors and boasting an undefeated record last season, Andover has room to improve this winter. “Last Saturday’s meet brought together the three strongest swimming programs in the Eastern USA, and there was great swimming all around from all three schools,” said Simpson. In two very close races, Zhao and Liu broke past competing swimmers to secure valuable first-place wins for Andover. Zhao managed to pull ahead of a Peddie competitor and delivered a final time of 24.04 to set a pool record for the 50 Free. In the 200 Individual Medley, Liu beat out another Peddie swimmer by only 0.29 seconds for a time of 2:10.01. “We usually start the season with an inter-squad meet in December and have our first meet in January, so competing in December against other teams is new for us,” said Zhao. “Despite this change, I think everyone really stepped up to the challenge, especially the newcomers,” she continued. “We saw many wonderful, fast swims as well as great team spirit. It will only get better from here, which is so exciting.” Team efforts dominated the meet, with a close third place finish from Elizabeth Duserick ’16, Simpson, Katherine Sweester ’17 and Zhao in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, followed by Sloane Sambuco ’16, Evelyn Liu ’15, Soubie Im ’15 and Morgan Rooney ’17 in seventh place. Sweester, Simpson, Conte and Liu claimed third in the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay, and Andover took both second and fourth in the Mixed 400 Yard Freestyle Relay. “Going against two teams that train all year and who started their seasons in September, we were the underdogs at the meet last weekend in terms of fitness and the amount of practices we’ve had,” said Simpson. Having had only three actual practices before the last meet, Andover Girls Swimming realizes the pressing need to improve if it wants to compete against such skilled teams. “We need to bring ourselves up to their fitness level as quickly as we can given the limited time we have. We definitely need to focus on a lot of technical aspects in our strokes, dives and flip turns, but mainly at this point in the season it is fitness,” she added. Andover Girls Swimming returns to the pool on January 11 at Loomis Chaffee.