In the final race of the meet, Captain Nick Isenhower ’18 dove off the block as the first leg of the 400-Yard Freestyle Relay and broke the school record for the fastest 100-Yard Freestyle in school history with a time of 46.03 seconds. This lead-off motivated the rest of his teammates, and the relay team finished with a school record-breaking time of 3:02.96 minutes, which surpasses the All-American standard. The team went on to place second at the Eastern Swimming & Diving Championships, the most prestigious high school meet in the country, according to Coach David Fox.
At the meet, the team achieved 22 personal best times out of 28 individual events, broke five school records, and met the All-American standard in 11 events. Andover traveled to Lancaster, Pa. on Thursday and swam in preliminary heats on Friday and Saturday morning. The team then competed in finals later those evenings, in which the top 24 morning qualifiers raced. On Saturday, Zack Peng ’21 placed second in the diving competition with a score of 395.40.
“We were heavy into taper, so at that point it was working on technique a lot, working on dives, working on turns, and just making sure that we had our last-minute things done. We were physically prepared by that point, it was really just mentally being focused and making sure that we had our heads in the right places,” said Isenhower.
Arnold Su ’20, who placed fourth in the 200-Yard Freestyle, tied the second all-time performer in Andover history for that event, and placed sixth in the 100-Yard Breaststroke, setting a Lower record and achieving All-American qualification.
Su said, “We were thinking about [setting the 400 freestyle relay record] for a while, and after the prelims session, we all knew that we could do better and that we could go faster. It ended up being a really close meet, and it was the last event of the entire meet, so we all just wanted to go out with one final statement, and we just gave it our all. In the end, we all swam really fast, and we got the record, which was really nice.”
The team set school records in the 100-Yard Freestyle, 100- Yard Breaststroke, 100-Yard Butterfly, 200-Yard Individual Medley, and 400-Yard Freestyle relay. Lance Freiman ’19, who set the school record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 49.41 seconds and was a member of the record-setting 400 freestyle relay, credits the team’s camaraderie for its achievements this weekend.
Freiman said, “[Breaking the school record in the 100-Yard Butterfly] definitely wasn’t all me. In training every single day, I’m training with all the other butterfliers on the team, and our butterfly is especially strong as a team, so that record wasn’t just me. It was a culmination of everyone pushing me in practice and all of us pushing each other. 100-Fly is one of our best events as a team, so I was really happy that I could get that record.”
Freiman continued, “We did a good job pushing through, and everyone contributed to our success at Easterns. I was really impressed at how we worked together as a team at the meet. I was proud of the guys for that.”
The team found such incredible success despite missing a few members of the team due to illness, according to Freiman and Isenhower.
Isenhower said, “There was an excellent mood [going into the meet]. We did well in preparing and making sure that we were focusing on what we could do ourselves, then we would come together as a team in the end. We still performed well, and in the end we did what we had to do and what we could do individually.”
According to Isenhower, the team still needs to focus on improving during practice to ensure that it can repeat the success it achieved at Easterns.
“We will be taking another week to get back up a little bit aerobically, focus on more technique work — really using Easterns as an opportunity to see what we need to fix. We videoed a lot of our races, so we’ll look back and see individually what we need to do if we need to video more technique, if we need to work on speed or work on power, and small things like dives,” said Isenhower.
Since Andover has officially entered its championship season, it will try to build off of the momentum from this past weekend when it travels to Phillips Exeter Academy on Saturday for a dual meet and then again to Exeter the following weekend for the Nepsac meet.
Freiman said, “We had a lot of really great swims and best times this weekend, but the goal is just to continue with training so that we can do the same thing in the two upcoming meets: get more best times, more in-season bests, and ultimately do well at New Englands.”