Immediately following the conclusion of exam week, 26 members of the Deerfield Boys Varsity Swim Team traveled down to Lakeville CT to battle for the right to retain their New England Championship title. After stellar swims in the morning, in which the Big Green qualified for 27 point-scoring night races, the team set the table for an evening dog fight with perennial swimming powerhouse Andover.
Leading off the point-scoring section of the competition was the medley relay quartet Matt Lu '09, Andrew Wood '09, Oliver Lee '10 and Grant Stegelmann '09. Crushing the old school record, the four flew to an All-American time standard and missed out on taking first in the event by less than a second, lowering their own personal relay mark by an astounding three seconds (2nd).
Freshman phenom Henry Lee '12 and senior Ryan Gladych '09 followed the act by scoring critical points in the 200 freestyle, placing 12th and 9th. Dom Kwok '09 (5th), Andrew Wood '09 (6th), Tom Burrow '10 (10th), and Cameron Overy '11 (11th) all tallied in the 200 IM to give the Big Green a slight point buffer leading into their marquee sprint event.
Oliver Lee continued his rampage of All-American qualifying times in the 50 freestyle, as he bested the entire field by more than a body length to record the second fastest swim in New England history, with the fastest being his time from the morning heats (1st). The two-time New England champion in the event was followed by seniors Stegelmann (3rd), Kwesi Osei '09 (8th), and Niki Wellner '09 (14th).
The young underclassmen divers rose to the occasion, as Charlie Wall '09 and Kellam Witherington '12 managed 8th and 13th place finishes to combine for 15 points, 75% of the final total point score margin between 1st place Deerfield and 2nd place Andover.
After the diving break, Deerfield's amazing quadruple act in the butterfly consisting of Rand Singleton '10, Alex Miller '09, Chris Pielock '09, and Niki Wellner '09 swam for 4th, 8th, 11th, and 12th place finishes. However, Andover swimmers in the same event from the morning managed to move up in the event, causing a ten-point reversal in their favor. As Oliver Lee took his 2nd New England title and third All-American race of the night in the 100 freestyle, while Stegelmann (5th), Gladych (7th), and Lu (11th) all piled on tremendously momentous points for the Big Green, the prospects of a Deerfield title still lingered in doubt as Andover had out-swam their morning seed to keep things close.
However, junior Cameron Overy stepped up to the plate in the 500 freestyle, dropping 6 seconds in a swim that was good enough for 8th place, and initiating a momentum change within the team that steamrolled the next three events to put the title in Deerfield's grasp beyond any doubt.
The upperclassmen sprint specialists of Stegelmann, Osei, Lee, and Kwok combined for an All-American, school record time to blitz the field and clinch the New England title, with Oliver splitting the fastest 50 freestyle relay start in Deerfield and perhaps New England history, ending his junior year career with 4 All-American time standards and 3 New England titles.
Swimming in a highly competitive backstroke event, Miller (6th), Henry Lee (10th), Burrow (11th), and Lu (12th) all managed to hold their own against an extremely quick field to tally 31 points compared to Andover's 13 in the same event.
The Pielock brothers swam amazing races to score in the 100 breaststroke, as Chris (7th) and Jamie (14th) Pielock joined Kwok (3rd) and Wood (2nd) on the point-scoring sheet to put Deerfield 30 points beyond Andover's tally. Wood's time was good enough for All-American, as his performance rounded off the 5 All-American swims by Deerfield during the evening.
So as the 4x100 freestyle relay of Lu, Miller, Burrow, and Gladych took to the water for the final race of the evening (7th), the Deerfield boys lined the pool and raised their voices in victory cheers, knowing that all that was left to be done was for the relay not to disqualify. Sounds of the Deerfield chants filled the Hotchkiss natatorium, and following the collection of their second New England trophy in two years, the team promptly stormed the pool to round off a most memorable evening.
Article written by: Dom Kwok , Deerfield Academy'09
Photo from Deerfield Academy website