The Saints boys and girls swimming teams both emerged victorious at this Saturday's Delaware Independent School Conference championship meet, held at St. Andrew's Generaux Aquatic Center, with the boys placing first, fifty points ahead of their next-nearest competitor, and the girls placing first in an tie with Wilmington Friends School.
"For the first time in years, the St. Andrew's boys and girls hold the title of conference champions simultaneously," said Head Coach Richard Samulski after the meet. "I credit the determination and effort of our girls, the camaraderie and work ethic of our boys, and the leadership and examples set by our captains for this incredible accomplishment. These swimmers have worked so hard to achieve their goals and I'm so proud of what they've been able to do."
"We swam nearly 100% lifetime bests," he continued. "It was an all-around absolutely incredible performance."
The energy in the air was palpable in a packed Genereaux Aquatic Center. To kick things off on the medley relay, the girls (Ann Yancey Bassett '19, Caitlin Cobb '17, Sarah Caron '19, and Hannah Beams '17) dropped an impressive 4 seconds off of their seed time, powered by a fast butterfly split from Sarah (26.74) and a blistering freestyle split from Hannah (24.98) to earn second place. The boys followed up with an impressive performance of their own, taking nearly 7 seconds off of their seed time to win their relay.
Extremely close races took place between every team in every heat of every event. Freshman Katerina Kourpas '20, swimming the 200 free for the first time in the season, pushed past her neighbor to earn a top 10 finish by just 0.13 seconds. Senior co-captain Keegan Pando '17 found himself in a dead heat with Tower Hill's Greg Gardner in the boys 200 propelling him to a personal best of 1:48.81, a time that would have broken the school record just a year ago. The medals for the girls' 50 free were decided by just three-tenths of a second, and only one-tenth separated first from third for the boys' 50.
As the meet wore on, the SAS boys emerged as clear leaders. Their strong relay performances coupled with significant time drops in individual events were too much for the nearest competition (Tower Hill) to handle, but the SAS boys didn't let off the gas. Even with total victory assured, the boys' 400 free relay left it all in the pool with three of the four legs splitting under 50 seconds for a new DISC meet record of 3:20.68. "It's a fitting exclamation point on the end of an amazing season of fast swimming, and total dominance in the pool," said Coach Samulski.
Things were a bit closer for the girls. "We came into the meet expecting to fight for the win as we had in so many dual meets before," noted Coach Samulski. Caitlin Cobb '17, just 24 hours after having to leave school to rest for an illness, found herself in the closest two races of her career which were decided by a combined 0.8s, and one of them was the 500. She somehow found a way to go best times in both events to finish second. Hannah Beams '17 had to team up with Sarah Caron '19 in the 50 and Ryann Schutt '18 in the 100 free to score consecutive place finishes to match Wilmington Friends' and Sanford's first place swims in those events. The girls were down 14 points going into the 100 backstroke where both Sarah and Katie Macalintal '20 dropped two seconds each to finish first and fourth to make up 10 points, and the meet then tipped in the balance in the final relay. Wilmington Friends was ahead by 6 when the girls dove in. Four sub-minute splits from Ryann, Sarah, Ann Yancey, and Caitlin resulted in an impressive 3:49.47 finish to earn the gold for 14 points. A little help from Sanford, who finished second, meant that Wilmington Friends, who finished third, only scored 8 points on the relay. The end result of the girls meet was a tie for first between St. Andrew's and Wilmington Friends. "Though the girls have to share the victory, a win is a win," said Coach Samulski. "We set a goal to topple the seemingly unbeatable Wilmington Friends team and ended up joining them at the top."
In late January 2017, St. Andrew's boys swim team was ranked fourth in the state by the Delaware News-Journal, and the SAS boys have won nine of the last ten the DISC championships. The entered the 2017 DISC meet with a 6-2 record. The boys team has great depth in the pool, a fact that was illustrated at their January 17 meet against Wilmington Friends. Though the SAS only won outright three of the eight individual events at this meet, the Saints bested Friends by 44 points due to the fact that every SAS boy who swam scored points in every individual event they swam. "It's really hard to lose a meet when that happens," noted Coach Samulski.
He cites the boys and girls swim teams' willingness to support each other as being at the root of both teams' current and historic success. "A significant amount of credit for our ability to finish close races can go to our individual racing—the culture of competitiveness and toughness and emphasis on finishing strong is evident within each and every Saints swimmer," he said. "But the energy and support that cheering teammates provide can't be ignored when it comes to down-to-the-wire races. Wilson Archie '18 gave us an excellent example of this at our meet against Tatnall on January 10. Battling a shoulder injury, Wilson only swam one relay and one individual event, but his participation in the meet wasn't limited to his work in the water. After helping secure the victory for the girls with a stellar relay performance to close out the meet, senior captain Hannah Beams '17 said, 'Every breath I took, Wilson was there cheering for me. It got me so pumped.'"
"The dedication each swimmer shows to his or her teammates is incredible," Coach Samulski concluded. "It's one of the things that sets the St. Andrew's swim team apart from every team we compete against."
DISCs by the Numbers
Boys Final Scores
1 - St. Andrew's - 115
2 - Tower Hill - 65
3 - Wilmington Friends School - 54
4 - Sanford - 37
5 - Tatnall - 27
Girls Final Scores
1 - St. Andrew's - 81
1 - Wilmington Friends School - 81
3 - Sanford - 56
4 - Tatnall - 49
5 - Tower Hill - 35
St. Andrew's accomplishments at DISCs:
- 55 SAS career best times
- 98% season best times
- 240.71 seconds dropped
- 29.55s biggest time drop (Topher Hummel '20 in the 500 free)
- 12.12% biggest percent time drop (Frances Malley '19 in the 100 free)
- 4 new state qualifying times
- 20 state qualifiers (including consideration)
- 43 total medals won (including relays)
- 19 individual medals won
- 1 new meet record (Colin Campbell '17, Tad Scheibe '19, Dylan Torrance '18, Keegan Pando '17 in the 400 free relay)
Congratulations to individual event winners (which receives automatic First Team All-Conference):
- Wilson Archie '18 (100 breast)
- Will Cammerzell '19 (200 IM)
- Sarah Caron '19 (100 back)
- Dylan Torrance '18 (100 fly, 100 back)
Special congratulations to the boys 400 free relay for setting a new DISC meet record:
- Colin Campbell '17 (49.92)
- Tad Scheibe '19 (52.15)
- Dylan Torrance '18 (49.52)
- Keegan Pando '17(49.09)
- Final time: 3:20.68 (Previous record: 3:21.51)
To read recaps of all of the 2016-17 Saints boys and girls swim meets, visit http://www.standrews-de.org/athletics/sports-teams (click on Winter, then Boys or Girls Swimming).