Andover Boys Swimming & Diving became New England Champions for the third year in a row and eighth time in 11 years at the end of their winter season. Andover also defeated rival Phillips Exeter Academy for the thirteenth year in a row, with a score of 101-85, finalizing its undefeated season record of eight wins and zero losses.
“This year was a particularly exciting championship, with several New England records set by a variety of teams. In the end, I’m honored to have led the team to another great performance and a lot of [personal] best times,” wrote Captain Nick Isenhower ’18 in an email to The Phillipian.
Andover won their championship with a score of 434 points, beating out ten other competing teams, which were led by Exeter, in second place with 335 points; and Brunswick School, in third place with 312.5 points. The meet began on Saturday, March 3 and ended on March 4.
The New England Championship was highlighted by Andover’s New England record in the 200-Yard Medley Relay, set by a team consisting of Jack Warden ’19, swimming 23.55 seconds for the backstroke leg; Neil Simpson ’19, swimming 25.18 seconds for the breaststroke leg; Lance Freiman ’19, swimming 21.92 seconds for the butterfly leg; and Arnold Su ’20, swimming 20.50 seconds for the freestyle leg. Their time, 1:31.15 minutes, is currently the seventh best mark of any public or independent school in the nation.
Isenhower wrote of the record-breaking race, “[It was a] New England record, pool record, school record, and [an] All-American [performance]. As the first event in finals and with everyone watching, they showed us what we could do as a team and gave us the confidence moving forward to step up and just go for it. That was really an awesome swim to watch.”
Another remarkable race was Andover’s 400-Yard Freestyle Relay, which won with a time of 3:02.96 minutes, the eighth-fastest time in the nation. The relay team consisted of Isenhower, who swam his 100-yard leg in 46.26 seconds; Su in 45.72 seconds; Freiman in 45.97 seconds; and Simpson in 46.02 seconds.
Head Coach David Fox pointed to the team’s depth and speed as major factors to its success.
“The team was able to win Andover’s eighth New England Championship since 2007 by its excellent performance in the preliminaries, placing two or even three boys among the top eight in New England over and over again,” Coach Fox wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Coach Fox also emphasized the individual improvement of the swimmers.
He said, “Far more rewarding than a championship, though, was that the boys swam very fast: across the two championship meets, 18 out of the 19 swimmers and divers achieved at least one personal best time or score. That’s phenomenal.”
Coach Fox added, “What is most rewarding is that all the boys swim so fast within the overall context that is life at Andover: limited training outside of the season, expedited practices in-season, a sometimes-challenging academic workload, etc.”
A week before the championships, Andover’s 101-85 victory over Exeter on Andover/Exeter Day was highlighted by meet records in the 200-Yard Medley Relay and in Diving.
The 200-Yard Medley Relay team, consisting again of Warden, Freiman, Simpson, and Su, set a mark of 1:34.81 minutes, breaking the previous mark of 1:35.64 set by Andover in 2017. Zack Peng ‘21 set a mark of 299.15 points in Diving, breaking the the previous meet record of 287.35, set by an Exeter diver in 1999.
Riku Tanaka ’20 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Even though swimming is considered an individual sport most of the time, we help each other both in the swimming and on the pool deck; I believe this is what [led] to our team victory.”
Isenhower wrote of the team’s performance, “It’s a testament to [its] dedication and performance throughout the season. This team has something really special going. I’m excited to see it continue in the coming years.”
Editor’s Note: Rick Ono ’19 is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.