Capping off the final home meet of its Andover career, Andover Boys Swimming’s Seniors received roses and congratulations before triumphing over their Phillips Exeter Academy rivals in a thrilling 108-78 victory.
The win continued Andover’s ten-year winning streak against their competitors in the North. The team’s Seniors had never lost to Exeter before, but there were still some nerves heading into the contest.
“Exeter has always been a strong team in the league. However, for the past ten years, we have been able to come out on top in the meets. After losing ten Seniors last year, it was a challenging season. Having not lost to Exeter in the past decade, there was definitely some pressure going into this meet as we wanted to maintain our record against them,” wrote Co-Captain Aaron Teo ’15 in an email to The Phillipian.
Nonetheless, Andover shook off the nerves and claimed a satisfying victory, allowing the Seniors to end their final meet in Andover’s pool on a positive note.
Felix Liu ’15 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “This season has been amazing. Everybody worked incredibly hard for the last swim meet. We thought the meet would be close, but our hard work paid off and we smoked them.”
Exeter jumped out to its first and only lead of the meet with a victory in the 200-Yard Medley Relay, giving it a 10-4 edge. Andover countered with a resounding victory in the 200-Yard Freestyle to tie the score up, as Marcello Rossi ’16 won in 1:46.38, while Thomas Choi ’16 finished in 1:51.44 and Daniel Tran ’17 in 1:54.74 to take third and fourth place, respectively.
Darren Ty ’16 then gave Andover its first lead of the day, winning the 200-Yard Individual Medley in 1:59.19. Christian Alberga ’17 clinched first place in the 50-Yard Freestyle in 22.40, and the two teams were tied 31-31 going into the diving event.
Jack Belluche ’16 wrapped up his season-long undefeated streak as a diver, with a season-best score of 261.60 points, while Robert Delaus ’16 took third and Matthew Grottkau ’17 took fifth. The divers put Andover ahead 41-37.
After swimming resumed, Alberga and Ty stretched Andover’s lead to 61-49, nabbing first and second place in the 100-Yard Freestyle in 48.66 and 49.09, respectively. By this point, the meet was leaning heavily in Andover’s favor.
The team of Chris Li ’15, Ty, Rossi and Alberga won the 200-Yard Freestyle relay in 1:30.15. Richard Zhong ’17 then edged out two Exeter swimmers for first place in the 100-Yard Backstroke, beating the second-place swimmer by one-tenth of a second with a time of 56.52.
Teo continued the trend of breathtaking victories by winning the 100-Yard Breaststroke in 1:00.92, beating Exeter’s swimmer by eight one-hundredths of a second. This was the final nail in the coffin to Exeter, as Andover held an insurmountable 98-74 lead with only one event to go.
Rossi, Choi, Ty and Alberga won the 400-Yard Freestyle Relay in 3:20.18 to cap off Andover’s resounding 108-78 victory.
Chris Li wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “For some reason, I’m still twiddling my thumbs out of astonishment. To have my Andover career end with a decade of domination versus Exeter puts the cherry on top of a great season. Although we lost probably the greatest class in Andover swimming history [the class of ’14], we’ve been working harder than ever to get to this point of success; we’re not resting on our laurels, and we plan to give it all we have come New Englands.”
Commenting on his final season at Andover, Teo said, “This season has definitely been an emotional one, knowing that my swimming career at Andover is coming to an end. However, with that in mind, it certainly motivates me to do my absolute best for Andover. Being able [a]Co-Captain [of] the swim team along with Alex Li ’15 in our final year in the school is definitely an honor and has left us with many unforgettable memories.”
Andover Boys Swimming looks to defend its title at the NEPSAC Division I Championships starting on March 8.