Co-Captain Alex Li ’15 sped to first place in the 100-Meter Fly against Peddie with a time of 52.40, just a few hundredths of a second short of his personal record. Alex Li’s victory, one of Andover’s only wins in a dual meet against Suffield and Peddie, was not enough to push Andover Boys Swimming to victory on Saturday. Andover lost 84-101 to last year’s championship runner-up Suffield and 60-120 to perennial powerhouse Peddie, its first loss in the regular season in five years.
Last year, Andover clinched the 2014 New England Prep School Conference (NEPSAC) Championships, boasting a 6-1 record in the regular season. The loss of ten key Seniors has taken a major toll on the team’s experience already.
“Since we lost ten members of our 19-man team, our goal is to prove to New England that we are still at an elite level despite our losses. We all believe that we can win again this year, and we have been working extra hard to reach this goal,” said Christian Alberga ’17.
In an email to The Phillipian, Richard Zhong ’17 wrote, “[Last year,] we were able to focus on self-improvement thanks to the Seniors who guaranteed us a win every dual meet. So now it’s just getting your hand to the wall first.”
Many swimmers joined the team this year to compensate for the Senior losses from last season. These newcomers include Nathaniel Smith ’18, Matthew Li ’18, Daniel Tran ’17, Nick Faulkner ’16, Sarp Orgul ’16, Michael Najem ’16 and Felix Liu ’15.
The revamped team struggled against Suffield and Peddie, starting the season with an 0-2 overall record and an 0-1 conference record. Peddie is not in the NEPSAC.
“[We have to] improve with more and more practice, since people are not at their best at the beginning of the season. We hope that once March comes around, we’ll be back at the top,” said Zhong.
The team defeated Suffield both in the regular season and in the NEPSAC tournament last year, but it fell short this time despite their strong performances.
Jonathan Xue ’17 said, “We underestimated Suffield. They came out extremely motivated since we beat them last year. This is going to continue throughout the season. We have a target on our backs.”
Christian Alberga ’17 won the 100-Meter Freestyle in 48:74, giving Andover its first individual victory of the meet. The team of Darren Ty ’16, Marcello Rossi ’16, Chris Li ’15 and Alberga took second place in the 200-Meter Freestyle relay with a time of 1:30:60, while Co-Captain Aaron Teo ’15 snatched third place against Peddie in the 100-Meter Breaststroke and finished before all of Suffield.
Only managing to secure a few victories, Andover found Peddie to be a more difficult opponent than Suffield. Along with Alex Li’s success, Alberga emerged victorious again in Freestyle, this time winning the 50-Meter Freestyle in 22:02. In addition, Jack Belluche ’16 won diving outright, with a score of 170.85.
“There were many positives to take away from the meet. We posted some good times for the first meet of the season, and the team dynamic is excellent. We will continue to work hard to push for the championship,” wrote Teo in an email to The Phillipian.
Andover will travel to Choate for its next meet on January 10, hoping to grab its first win of the season.