1/25/20 (Windsor, CT) – In a double-dual meet at the Loomis-Chaffee against both its host and the Hopkins School--and in its annual foray into a 25-meter, rather than the standard 25-yard, pool--Andover demonstrated some newly-found speed. By the end of the meet, all of the swimmers and divers put up strong performances, including setting seven Pool Records, tying a New England Record once, and swimming faster than the New England Record six times. It was a historic day.
Because three teams were competing at the meet, each event had two heats, with two Andover swimmers in each. Entering the 200-meter Freestyle, the Pool and New England Records were held by Andover’s Jun Oh ’12 in 1:54.45. In heat 1, co-captain Arnold Su ’20 narrowly missed the records in 1:55.28. In heat 2, Max Hunger ’20 established new Pool and New England Records in 1:52.90. Also in heat 2, Sam Donchi ’20 broke both records, too, in 1:53.92.
The 400-meter Freestyle saw Max Hunger break his second set of Pool and New England Records in 4:01.61. Deerfield’s Matt Hrabchak had held the records in 4:01.67 since 2014.
Having broken the Pool and New England Records in the 200-meter Freestyle earlier in the meet only to place 2nd behind Hunger, Sam Donchi returned to racing and broke both the Pool and New England Records in the 100-meter Backstroke. Donchi’s time of 57.67 surpassed the mark set by Exeter’s Jared Zhang in 57.80.
And then something, likely unique, happened. Going into the meet, the Pool Record in the 100-meter Breaststroke was held by Deerfield’s Miles Smachlo in 1:05.69, and the New England Record was held by Neil Simpson ’19 in 1:05.66. In heat 1, Yubo Jin '21 narrowly missed the records, swimming 1:05.96. Yet, also swimming in heat 1, Brandon Garcia '20 swam 1:05.66 for a new Pool Record and a tie with the New England Record. And then heat 2 started. Christopher Xia '23 broke both the Pool and New England Records by swimming 1:04.99. Not to be outdone by the rookie, though, Arnold Su swam 1:03.91, establishing himself as the holder of both the Pool and New England Records.
After the meet, Coach Fox remarked, "I cannot recall witnessing four of the eight individual New England swimming records fall on the same day. Seeing two individuals from the same team break both the Pool and New England Records in the same event, as happened in the 200 Free, is certainly rare, but to then also have three swimmers from the same team break the Pool Record, and for one to tie the New England Record and the other two to surpass it in the same event, may have never happened before."