Andover Ties or Surpasses a New England Record SEVEN Times in One Meet
(Windsor, CT) – In a double-dual meet at the Loomis-Chaffee against both our hosts 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.
Today’s meet also saw Andover’s last dual meet with a Loomis squad led by Coach Fred Seebeck. The “dean of New England swimming,” Coach Seebeck is retiring after 37 years at Loomis and after 45 years of coaching and teaching in New England.
In the day’s first event, the 200 meter Medley Relay, Marcus Lee ’21, Yubo Jin ’21, Marcel Liu ’23, and Brandon Garcia ’20 swam 1:49.22 for 1st; Riku Tanaka ’20, Christopher Xia ’23, Anthony Minickiello ’20, and Alexander Grande ’21 swam 1:52.84 for 2nd; and Jay Pae ’23, Trey Wolfe ’23, Hank Yang ’22, and Gregor Deveau ’21 swam 2:01.63 in non-scoring exhibition.
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, Max Fang ’22 swam a strong 2:04.57, near his best-ever time, and co-captain Arnold Su ’20 narrowly missed the records in 1:55.28. In heat 2, Max Hunger ’20 establish 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. Andover swept the event, and Fang had the 4th-fastest time, but he was exhibition.
Tanaka returned to the pool to place 2nd in the 200 meter Individual Medley in 2:16.80 followed closely by Lee in 2:16.87. Brendon Fang ’22 placed 4th in 2:17.20, and Minickiello had the 5th-fastest time in 2:18.72.
For the 50 meter Free, Ralph Lam ’22 finished 4th in 25.50, Grande 5th in 25.85, Trey Wolfe ’23 6th in 26.13, and Jay Pae ’23 27.18 in exhibition.
In the Diving competition, Zack Peng ’21 continued his winning-streak, scoring 278.35 points. Bennett Pease had perhaps his best performance to day, scoring 130.15 points.
The swimming competition returned with the 100 meter Butterfly. In their first foray into the event this year, Garcia won the event in a quick 58.76, and Xia placed 2nd in 59.88. Liu swam 1:00.05 for 3rd, and Deveau swam 1:06.18 in exhibition.
In the 100 meter Freestyle, Lee swam 52.99 for 1st, Minickiello 56.61 for 5th, Max Fang 57.61 for 6th, and Grande 57.72 in exhibition.
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. Tanaka placed 2nd in 4:24.53, and Yang placed 3rd in 4:24.86. Lam swam the 4th-fastest time of the day in 4:27.73.
For the 200 meter Freestyle Relay, Su split a blistering 23.67 lead-off, followed by Grande, Garcia, and Hunger. The relay finished first with a time of 1:36.68. Wolfe, Pae, Jin, and Yang combined for 4th in 1:46.79.
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. Liu placed 2nd in a strong 1:02.55, Brendon Fang was 4th in 1:06.14, and Deveau swam 1:07.44 in exhibition.
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 narrowly missed the records, swimming 1:05.96. Yet, also swimming in heat 1, Brandon Garcia swam 1:05.66 for a new Pool Record and a tie with the New England Record. And then heat 2 started. Christopher Xia 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.
In the final event of the meet, the 400 meter Freestyle Relay, Hunger, Donchi, Lee, and Su swam 3:31.48 for the win. Tanaka, Minickiello, Lam, and Xia swam 3:43.03 placed 2nd. Pae, Wolfe, Max Fang, and Yang swam the event, too, yet the timing system misfired, and we do not have an accurate time for the squad.
For Andover, the outcomes of the meet were quite special. Everyone performed well, yet it seems reasonable to highlight the records. Coach Fox 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.
Andover – 136
Hopkins – 49
Andover – 134
Loomis – 49
Season Record: 5-0