Published in the January 13, 2020 edition.

PEABODY — The Lynnfield-Wakefield boys’ swim team won back-to-back meets on Saturday and Sunday to improve their record to 3-1 on the season.

The Pioneer-Warriors defeated a strong Triton team 89-66 on Saturday at the Torigian Family YMCA and still had enough energy to cruise past Ipswich 56-6 on Sunday at the Ipswich Y.

Triton jumped out to an early 18-12 lead after the first two events.

“Then Antonio happened,” said head coach Jeff Boyd.

Wakefield High’s Antonio Anastasiades took first in the 200 IM in 2:14.01. Adam Ho took second in 2:31.93 and Lynnfield-Wakefield took a 22-21 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Ho went on to finish first in the 500 freestyle with a 6:28.25.

David Kasdon took first in diving and Shane McQueen was second.

“This was a big win for the boys,” said Boyd. “After coming up short against a massive Masco team, it was good for them to be rewarded for their hard work.”

Anastasiades got some extra motivation before his race in the 100 breaststroke.

The senior doesn’t often get pushed by competitors. Sometimes inspiration needs to come from coaches…or 5-year-old daughters of coaches.

Boyd had Anastasiades as a student when he was teaching 6th grade English at the Galvin Middle School.

“I’ve known him and his mom for six years now,” said Boyd. “Even back then, we would talk about swimming and he would share his times with me as an 11 and 12 year old and I was really impressed.”

So the families are familiar with each other, and part of Antonio’s fan group are Boyd’s two young daughters. One of them wasn’t shy about letting him know her expectations.

“Before the 100 breaststroke, my 5-year-old daughter went up to him, pointed her finger at him and said, ‘You better go fast!’” said Boyd. “And he did.”

Anastasiades got first with a state qualifying time of 1:01.41.

“He’ll go faster when he has (a competitor) push him, but it was nice to see him showcase what he’s capable of,” said Boyd.

Lynnfield-Wakefield didn’t have much time to celebrate the victory, quickly jumping back in the pool to race Ipswich the very next day.

It was more of a practice session for the Pioneer-Warriors as Ipswich only had two swimmers.

Wakefield’s Alex Kent (50 Freestyle and 100 Freestyle), Ho (500 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke) and Anastasiades (200 IM and 100 Butterfly) each won two events.

“Having been out of coaching for the last two seasons, I really don’t know what to expect from the other teams. I certainly didn’t expect to be facing a team of two,” said Boyd. “The boys still swam well though. It actually couldn’t have been better after a long week of tough practices and a competitive meet (the night before).”

Anastasiades qualified for states in the 100 Butterfly. It is the fifth event he has qualified for this season.

“Antonio is going to have a lot of options when we get to Sectionals and States,” said Boyd. “I’ve never coached a swimmer who has qualified for this many events. Every time he gets in the water he qualifies for something new. I’ve been lucky enough to coach a lot of great swimmers over the years, but Antonio is different, he makes it look effortless. I wish I had a second Antonio to push him even harder. Right now, he’s on his own level, competing against only himself. That will change when we get to Sectionals and States. That’s when we’ll see how special he really is.”

Despite the obvious success of Anastasiades, Boyd is quick credit the team as a whole. There are multiple swimmers who have set the tone for the group and the Pioneer-Warriors have the depth to make more waves as the season goes on.

“We are a team in the truest sense of the word,” said Boyd. “From top to bottom, every single kid dedicates himself to this team. From our first place finishers to our fifth place finishers, they all give everything they have every single day. As the coach of a sport that is often thought of as an individual sport, that is what I am most proud of.”