According to Gwen Empie ’21 and Co-Captain Grace Hitchcock ’20, the team was not anticipating an exceptional improvement from last year’s eighth place championship finish, and is impressed by the number of personal and season records broken this past week.
“Having almost 100 percent season or personal bests is pretty incredible, especially in swimming which doesn’t really happen often because it’s unlikely everyone hits on the same weekend… It definitely came as a surprise to me that we improved so much compared to last year. Last year we had a really strong team and obviously this year we have an even stronger team. It’s super cool to see how our team managed losing so many Seniors last year and how we recovered from that,” said Empie.
Hitchock added, “I think this year, a lot more people were really happy and satisfied with how they did. Personally, last year, I remember that some of my other teammates and I were kind of disappointed in our performance and felt like we could have gone faster or we should’ve raced harder. This year, all of the intense training throughout this season really paid off, and I think people did a great job of putting a finishing touch on their races.”
The team attributes its successful meet to the overall hard work the swimmers and divers put into practice the entire season, according to Hannah Ono ’22 and Emma Cheung ’23.
“It’s definitely really satisfying to see all of everyone’s hard work pay off at the end of Easterns, especially since we rested a lot more for this meet than we have for dual meets,” said Ono.
Cheung said, “There were some people who may have added time during preliminaries, but coming back to finals, they were able to bring their A-game. A lot of people ended up getting season bests. Although there were a few races where people added time, in the end they came through and really pushed themselves.”
Looking towards the end of the season, Andover is hoping to use its performance at Easterns as an example for New Englands in two weeks, as well as for motivation for the team to push for faster times.
Veronika Kisova ’23 said, “We had a really good season up until now, and I think Easterns was just building on that. Our main focus is New Englands, which is in a few weeks, so I think this was a really good example of what we’re going to be able to accomplish there. We all swam really amazingly well, and I think it was just really good to see what we can all accomplish together at the meet.”
Hitchcock added, “One of the things that I’ve noticed in a lot of our races this weekend was our ability to chase down another person. Not very many swimming races come down to you being neck and neck with the person next to you, but it’s always the most important ones that end up that way. In looking ahead to New Englands, that’s definitely something that we’re going to try to hone in on and be able to attack the races and chase down the person next to you and be the one that does the out-touching instead of the one getting out-touched.”
Andover will travel to Phillips Exeter Academy next Wednesday.