Boys Swimming Sports

Boys Swimming & Diving Secures Second Consecutive Easterns Championship

Max Hunger ’20, Co-Captain Sam Donchi ’20, Co-Captain Arnold Su ’20, and Marcus Lee ’21 broke a longstanding Easterns meet record weekend in the 400-Yard Freestyle Relay.

In the final individual race of the meet, Yubo Jin ’21 finished fourth in his 100 breastroke final with a time of 55.53 seconds, setting new Upper, school, pool, and New England records. Jin broke former Co-Captain Neil Simpson’s ’19 groundbreaking record from last year, exemplifying the growth and dedication of this year’s team, according to Hank Yang ’22.

“I think that for him to break the school record that was set by Neil Simpson last year was really special because I think after Neil broke it last year, we thought that it was never going to be touched. So for Yubo to break it at Easterns was a very monumental moment for himself and for the team. I know Yubo worked very hard to accomplish this goal and I think it shows that our team has a very competitive mindset and that we will do what it takes to achieve our goals,” said Yang.

Andover accumulated 641 points during the meet, beating the second-place team by 155.5 points to win its second consecutive Easterns Championship. Divers Zack Peng ’21, Johann Asmus Leon ’20, and Bennett Pease ’21 competed in eleven dives each and placed fourth, 20th, and 22nd, respectively.

The team set a total of 23 new records and surpassed 24 All-American standards, and many members of the team achieved personal best times. Winning another Easterns Championship after the team’s monumental first victory last year was the team’s ultimate goal since the beginning of the season, according to Yang.

According to Co-Captain Arnold Su ’20 and Brendon Fang ’22, Eastern’s differed from Andover’s other meets this season because of the intensity on deck and the amount of preparation that went into such a successful overall team performance.

In an email to The Phillipian, Su wrote, “The meet is much larger and more competitive than our normal dual meets. For starters, there are over ten schools attending, and [oftentimes] we would have to fight for our place. I think the atmosphere was a lot more exciting and intense, as we cheered each other on and [were] able to watch some really close and intense races play out.”

“It was a lot more focused because our previous meets have been dual meets. So we were more focused on practicing for Eastern’s. So this time suiting up, swimming multiple events, and having a final, you tend to become more nervous and become more focused on placement and points,” said Fang.

The meet culminated in a record-breaking 400-freestyle relay performance from Marcus Lee ’21, Su, Co-Captain Sam Donchi ’20, and Max Hunger ’20. The race was tied after the third leg, and Hunger finished in a time of 43.98 seconds to secure the victory for Andover by almost two seconds over Episcopal Academy.

“I think that the last 400-Free Relay was perfect because it was the last event and we didn’t have that many first places because our team was pretty well-rounded. But the last race was really close and then Max Hunger ’20 really went for it and that helped us win so that was really memorable,” said Fang.

According to Su, the meet provided an opportunity for the team to bond outside of the pool. The team will shift its focus to improving for its final two meets of the season: a dual meet against Exeter and finally, New Englands.

“I think the best takeaway is that a lot of people went to the meet and were able to achieve personal bests, as well as supporting and cheering each other on. It was a great experience for everyone to be competing at such a competitive and fast meet, and I think we all grew closer as a team in the process,” wrote Su.

He continued, “The team will continue to train hard and hone in on the events we will swim at New Englands. I think our goals will remain the same as they have ever been, which is to keep improving as a team and to achieve 100 percent personal bests for everyone.”

The team will travel to Phillips Academy Exeter on Wednesday, February 26 for its annual Andover/Exeter competition.