If you were to look up the definition of “team”, you would find something along the lines of “a group of individuals working together as a single unit”. In the case of the Lynnfield High School Swimming and Diving team, that characterization could not be more fitting.
All season, the Pioneers have leaned heavily on each other and operated as a group of equally important contributors. The result: a 6-0 (5-0 CAL) record and a second Cape Ann League championship in three years.
Heading into last night’s season finale with rival North Reading, the Pioneers had relied on their depth against each of their previous opponents. The same would prove to be true against the Hornets as Lynnfield swimmers came into the finish in droves against their rivals to secure an 89-86 victory.
“This team has worked harder to get to this point than any other team we’ve ever had,” Lynnfield coach Jeff Boyd said. “Every single one of these kids played an important role in us achieving our goal. You can’t point to any one individual as the reason we have been successful. This was a true team effort in every sense of the word.”
Lynnfield’s depth could best be illustrated in how the Pioneers took first place in only 4 of the meet’s 12 events against North Reading. However, Lynnfield was able to compensate for North Reading’s speed up front with numerous 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes.
The Hornets stormed out of the gates early with a series of impressive wins in the first three events. Lynnfield’s depth helped to keep pace with the Hornets as the score was knotted up heading into the 50 Freestyle. That’s when the Pioneers began to establish themselves by taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the event to pull ahead by 10 at 36-26.
A clean sweep of diving extended that lead to 46-26, and a dominating 1-2-3 finish in the 200 Freestyle Relay put the meet out of reach for North Reading.
A record-breaking performance by junior Alexandra Kartsounis in the 100 backstroke (1:03.11) sealed the win for Lynnfield as the Pioneers chose not to score in the final two events en route to their championship clinching victory.
Kartsounis, the team’s top backstroker for the past three years, broke Lynnfield’s longest-standing female record set 10 years ago by Courntey Smith (1:03.60) when the team was part of a co-op with Reading.
In addition to Kartsounis, Lynnfield also saw huge contributions from Matt DeVito who took first in the 50 freestyle (24.15) and second in the 100 freestyle (54.96).
Sophomore Bailey Fanikos took first in diving for the Pioneers and posted a state championship qualifying time in her fourth place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:15.84).
Senior Harry Fogarty edged out North Reading’s top breaststroker by .49 seconds to win the event (1:14.38) followed by teammate Susan Yee (1:15.15) who also took second in the 100 butterfly (1:06.34).
The 200 freestyle relay team of Zach Glowik, Mike Welter, Mike Lanzillotti and DeVito (1:45.52) accounted for the teams only other first place finish and was responsible for putting the meet out of reach for their opponent.
The Pioneers were able to outpoint North Reading in both distance freestyle events thanks to senior Tim Tsui and Lanzillotti. Tsui took third in the 200 freestyle (2:09.18) and second in the 500 freestyle (6:03.21) while Lanzillotti captured second in the 200 freestyle (2:06.72) and third in the 500 freestyle (6:10.19). Junior Shreyas Kudrimoti also helped Lynnfield’s cause in the 500 with a personal best time of 6:29.38 which was good enough for fourth place in the event.
Junior Josh Hayden had a breakout meet for Lynnfield with a pair of key third place finishes in the 200 IM (2:30.56) and 100 backstroke (1:07.91).
Senior Joe Maglio finished second in the 50 freestyle (25.72) and fourth in the 100 freestyle (1:00.35) followed closely behind in both events by junior Zach Glowik (26.82 in the 50 and 1:00.30 in the 100)
Senior Jack Fogarty took second in diving behind Fanikos and fourth in the 100 backstroke with a personal best time of 1:10.06.
Senior captains Mike Welter and Alison Council also scored key points for Lynnfield with Welter finishing fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:13.71) and fourth in the 200 freestyle (2:15.44), while Council finished fifth in the 200 IM (2:57.31).
Now the Pioneers have their sights set on another first – a win at this Sunday’s Cape Ann League Championship Meet. Lynnfield has never placed better than third in the meet, but with so much depth the Pioneers are seeking to claim even more hardware in the league’s final event of the season.
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