Led by school record-breakers Ariana Zhao ’25 and Elissa Kim ’24, Andover Girls Swimming and Diving placed fourth at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championship (Easterns) this past weekend. Along with Zhao and Kim’s record breaking results, Andover also finished the meet with multiple athletes placing in the top three.
According to Co-Captain Emma Cheung ’23, workouts prior to Easterns became shorter but more intense in preparation for the upcoming pressure-filled meet.
“The few days before [Easterns], these were tapering, which kind of means just like resting. You’re going a little less yardage. Really making sure that your starts, turns, and relay starts were down and were good. So just kind of focusing a lot on technique rather than a lot of hard training. Just making sure we were kind of all-rested,” said Cheung.
Molly MacKinnon ’24 commended Ariana Zhao ’25 for her record-breaking performance in the pool. Zhao topped her own record in the first backstroke race, and then broke it for a second time later on in the competition.
MacKinnon said, “I wanted to highlight Ariana Zhao ’25. She broke her own school record in the [preliminaries] of the meet, so, use them in the morning, and then if you qualify for finals, use them again at night, and that’s the same event. In the morning, so in [preliminaries], she broke her own school record by a full second, and then, at night, she placed third overall in backstroke, which is really great.”
Heading into the meet it was critical for the team to maintain an open mind and positive energy throughout the competition. Cheung emphasized the importance of supporting one another through a crucial point of the season.
Cheung said, “I think in terms of mindset [it’s about] really just trying to stay positive. Trying to think no matter what happens at this meet, we’re all proud of how much work people gave in the season and how much dedication we’ve given to something hard. Giving to other needs and really training and just remembering that no matter how we do, we’re so proud of ourselves and we’re proud of our individual self but also proud of the team as a whole.”
MacKinnon mentioned the exhaustion caused by the long days of competition, and the importance of pushing through at the pinnacle of the season. She noted the importance of putting in work early on in the season which pays off in the important competitions near the season’s end.
“So we got back from Easterns on Sunday, and our meet [against Phillips Academy Exeter (Exeter)] is tomorrow, which is Wednesday, so we haven’t had a lot of time, and we’re pretty tired, and catching up on work and sleep. We’re really just gonna rely on the hard work we’ve been putting in this season, so hopefully make up for how tired we are. But [Exeter] was at Eastern’s as well, so I’m sure they’re feeling it too, but it’s gonna be fun. It’ll be competitive, but hopefully, it’ll be a good meet,” said MacKinnon.
Andover will host New Englands this Friday.
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