(Andover, MA) – The results of the 2019 National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) annual national dual-meet competition have been released, and the Andover Boys’ Swimming and Diving Team finished 4th among all independent and public school programs in the nation:
1st St. Xavier (OH) 6341
2nd Loyola (CA) 6231
3rd Carmel (IN) 6146
4th Phillips Academy 6109
5th The Woodlands (TX) 5971
6th Cherry Creek (CO) 5958
7th AE Stevenson (IL) 5939
8th Kingswood (TX) 5917
9th Southlake (TX) 5910
10th Edina (MN) 5905
This is the 5th time Andover has placed among the top 25 schools in the nation, and it marks the 14th consecutive year in which Andover placed among the Top 25 independent schools in the USA. This year, Andover placed 3rd.
NISCA also released the final list of All-Americans—all high-school swimmers in the nation are eligible—and the Andover Boys placed:
4th, 200 Medley Relay, 1:29.42 (Jack Warden ’19, Neil Simpson ’19, Lance Freiman ’19, Arnold Su ’20)
27th, 200 Freestyle, 1:37.54, Max Hunger ‘20
51st, 200 Individual Medley, 1:49.35, Simpson
16th, 100 Butterfly, 47.99, Freiman
79th, 100 Free, 45.30, Freiman
80th, 100 Free, 45.31, Hunger
97th, 100 Free, 45.40, Su
50th, 500 Free, 4:28.86, Hunger
74th, 500 Free, 4:30.60, Sam Donchi ‘20
29th, 200 Free Relay, 1:23.89, (Warden, Freiman, Su, Hunger)
52nd, 100 Breaststroke, 55.84, Simpson
6th, 400 Freestyle Relay, 3:00.91, (Hunger, Freiman, Su, Simpson)
Andover’s 107th season began auspiciously.
In the first swim of the season, Jack Warden ’19, Neil Simpson ’19, Lance Freiman ’19, and Arnold Su ’20 broke the National High School Record in the 200 Medley Relay in short-course meters with a time of 1:41.15. By the time the season ended, Andover had broken a total of 74 records and had achieved 42 distinct All-American performances. Along the way, Andover also won its first Eastern Championship. It was, simply, Andover’s best season since Olympic Gold Medalist, and then World Record-holder, Jimmy McLane teamed with future World record-holder Richard Thoman from 1947-1949.
Following an undefeated dual-meet season—which expanded Andover’s record to 92-2-1 in New England since 2006—Andover emerged at the Eastern Championships, and two weeks later at the New England Championships, poised to do its best.
Andover began the 119th Eastern Championships—perhaps the most prestigious high-school meet in the nation—by breaking the Eastern, New England, Pool, and School records in the 200 Medley Relay. Jack Warden (22.94), Neil Simpson (24.95), Lance Freiman (21.29), and Arnold Su 20.24) swam 1:29.42. Warden (21.26) joined Max Hunger ’20 (20.93), Marcus Lee ’21 (21.24), and Sam Donchi ’20 (21.06) to place a critical 4th in the 200 Free Relay in 1:24.49, breaking the School record. At the end of the meet, Hunger (45.31), Freiman (45.10), Su (44.71), and Simpson (45.79) combined for a 3:00.91 in the 400 Freestyle Relay, which established new New England, Pool, and School records.
In the individual events, 9 Andover athletes placed in the top 8: Sam Donchi (500 Free and 100 Fly), Lance Freiman (100 Free and 100 Fly), Max Hunger (200 and 500 Free), Yubo Jin ’21 (100 Breast), Marcus Lee (100 Free), Zack Peng ‘21 (Diving), Neil Simpson (200 IM), Arnold Su (50 and 100 Free), and Jack Warden (100 Back). Among the many highlights of the meet were Hunger’s New England, Pool, and School record in the 200 Free (1:37.45) and School record in the 500 Free (4:28.86)—which he broke exactly one heat after Sam Donchi had broken the School record in 4:30.60—Simpson’s School record in the 200 IM (1:49.96), and Freiman’s School record in the 100 Free (45.30) and Eastern, New England, and School record in the 100 Fly (48.08). Freiman’s Eastern record in the 100 Fly broke Olympic Gold Medalist Mel Stewart’s standard set in 1987.
As a further example of Andover’s depth, 15 of the 19 athletes competing at Eastern’s scored points for the team, earning 610 points, which led to a 1st-place finish in the team competition. Episcopal was second with 486.5 and Malvern Prep third with 427.
Two weeks later at the New England Championships, Andover again showed its speed and depth by achieving All-American standards in all three “A” relays in a single day. In the 200 Medley Relay, Jack Warden, (23.57), Neil Simpson 25.11), Lance Freiman (21.53), and Arnold Su (20.87) cruised to first place in 1:31.08. Warden (21.76), Freiman (20.42), Su (20.93), and Max Hunger (20.78) broke the School Record set at Easterns in the 200 Free Relay with a 1:23.89 and placed just .04 out of first. The 400 Freestyle Relay saw Donchi (46.46), Marcus Lee (45.38), Simpson (46.08), and Hunger (44.58) go 3:02.50 to end the season. Perhaps more impressive were Andover’s three non-scoring “B” relays, which went 1:36.65, 1:31.23, 3:17.21 respectively. Had they been able to score, they would have placed fifth, eighth, and fifth!
In the individual events at New Englands, Andover placed first and second in the 200 Free (Max Hunger and Sam Donchi), 200 IM (Neil Simpson and Lance Freiman), and 500 Free (Donchi and Anthony Minickiello ‘20). Other Top 8 performances included Ora Cullen ’19 (Diving), Freiman (100 Fly), Hunger (100 Free), Yubo Jin (100 Breast), Marcus Lee (50 and 100 Free), Minickiello (100 Fly), Simpson (100 Back), Arnold Su (50 Free and 100 Breast), Riku Tanaka ’20 (200 and 500 Free), and Jack Warden (100 Back and 100 Fly). Nearly everyone else was in position to score points, too, which led to one of the most dominating team victories in New England history: Andover (472), Brunswick (378), Exeter (298), and Deerfield (259.5).
New Englands included a few individual records, too. Lance Freiman lowered his New England record in the 100 Fly in 47.99, and Neil Simpson lowered his School record in the 200 IM in 1:49.35. (It is also worth noting that Simpson broke the New England record in the 100 Breast during our dual meet against Exeter: 55.84. He did not swim it at New Englands, however, to allow other teammates a chance at the event—that’s sacrificing advancement of self for the interest of the team, the crux of Andover Swimming & Diving).
Of course, swimming and diving are about getting better, not winning, and the Andover team achieved success in multiple ways. Most impressive is that over the course of the Eastern and New England championships, Andover swimmers and divers participated in 47 different individual events and achieved personal bests in 40 of them.
While the season concluded in March, the racing and the accolades continued.
Because of its national performance during the 2017-2018 season, the AAU invited Andover to represent the United States at the 2019 World Schools Swimming Championships in Rio de Janeiro. In this competition, only one school represents each nation, and each school roster is limited to only six. Sam Donchi ’20, Lance Freiman ’19, Marcus Lee ’21, Arnold Su ’20, Riku Tanaka ’20, and Jack Warden ’19, along with Coaches Fox and Gardner, made the trip to Rio for the sprint-oriented meet, and USA ended the meet narrowly missing out on the top 3.
In June, Captain Neil Simpson ’19 won two major awards. First, Neil was given the Phelps Award by the Athletic Department as the outstanding Male Athlete of the Year. Second, he was named one of four Athletes of the Year by The Phillipian.