Published January 29, 2020

PEABODY — The LHS girls’ and boys’ swim teams competed against North Reading/Wilmington in their final meets of the CAL season. It was also Senior Night for the Pioneers who honored the class of 2020 for their dedication and commitment to the program.

The girls’ were edged 92-83 while the boys were victorious 91-69.

The NR-Wilmington girls team took control through the first two events opening up a 19-11 lead.

Liz Sykes won the 200 IM (2:36.97) and Sara Ho took 2nd (2:41.85) in the third event to tie the score at 23-23.

Anna Schmidt won diving and the score was still tied at 34-34 at the break.

Julia Ho won the 100 butterfly (1:11.12) and Caitlin Hooper edged out 2nd (1:17.89) putting Lynnfield up 46-37.

NR-Wilmington dominated the next two events and took a 59-57 lead going into the 200 Free Relay.

Lynnfield won the 200 Free Relay (Liz Sykes, Michelle Marder, Julia Ho, Sadhvi Sreeram) in 1:51.97 to take a 66-63 lead.

There were five lead changes altogether in this one. 

THE LYNNFIELD-Wakefield swim team honored the seniors during Senior Night on Sunday at the Torigian Family YMCA. The seniors pictured during their last home swim meet are, from left, Antonio Anastasiades, Anna Schmidt, Sara Ho, Michelle Marder, Elizabeth Sykes, Caitlin Hooper, Gillian Skelley and Anna Maria Ferrante. (Luke McQueen Photo)

“I knew this was going to be a tight meet,” said head coach Jeff Boyd. “(NR-Wilmington) has a lot of strong swimmers and are very deep. Our girls gave it their best and taking them to the final event tells you what kind of meet it was.”

Both teams split the points in the 100 backstroke. Lynnfield went up 74-71 with two events to go.

NR-Wilmington took 1st and 2nd in 100 breaststroke to regain lead at 82-79 going into final event.

Lynnfield needed 1st and 3rd to win the meet in the final relay, but NR-Wilmington went on to win the event to secure the win.

Of the seven seniors, Liz Sykes, Michelle Marder, Caitlin Hooper, Gillian Skelley, Sara Ho, Anna Maria Ferrante and Anna Schmidt, coach Boyd was especially proud.

“I got to coach these seniors when they were freshmen,” said Boyd. “I remember just how great these kids were three years ago, so knowing what the senior class would look like was a major factor in my decision to come back. I can’t say enough about the work ethic and character of our seniors. It’s contagious amongst the team and our underclassmen have really benefited from their leadership.”

The Pioneers, who hadn’t won a meet the previous two seasons, finished 1-3-2 in the regular season. 

“It was a great season for the girls. After going winless for the last two years, a win and two ties is a significant improvement.”

Boys win big

The Lynnfield-Wakefield boys led from start to finish winning the majority of the points on all but three events as they cruised to a 91-69 win.

“The boys continue to swim really well. This was another great team win,” said Boyd. “They had a real tough week of practice leading up to this meet and that hard work showed itself in every event.”

The 200 Medley relay (Ben Sykes, Antonio Anastasiades, Adam Ho, Spencer Little) won in 1:57.37.

Antonio Anastasiades won the 200IM (2:37.32).

David Kasdon won diving with a score of 163.875.

Kyle Morias won the 100 butterfly (1:41.99).

“One of the highlights of the season was Kyle Morias winning that 100 butterfly,” said Boyd. “He’s the epitome of what I love in a swimmer. He works hard every day and only wants to get better every time. I was really happy for him tonight – he really deserved that moment.”

Spencer Little won the 100 freestyle (1:01.60).

The 200 Freestyle Relay won (Christian Murphy, Nick Jacobs, Adam Ho, Spencer Little) in 1:54.56.

Ben Sykes won the 100 backstroke (1:11.90).

“Ben Sykes and Spencer Little really turned it up in practice this week,” said Boyd. “I’ve been pushing everyone to race each other in practice and those two really embraced it and the results speak for themselves. It’s great to see the kids who give it their all in practice experience success when it counts. They’re two of the best competitors I’ve ever coached.”

Antonio Anastasiades, the only senior on the boys’ team, won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.03).

The 400 Freestyle Relay (Nick Jacobs, Christian Murphy, Ben Sykes, Antonio Anastasiades) won in 4:12.65.

“The highlight of the night was in the final relay,” said Boyd. “Antonio was the anchor and our opponent had nearly an entire length of the pool lead when Antonio finally got his turn. In fact, the anchor for North Reading-Wilmington was going into his first turn when Antonio was just jumping off the blocks. You could tell he wasn’t going to let them win because he was undeniably going for it. The crowd noticed what could possibly happen immediately and the place was louder than I’ve ever heard it. Sure enough, Antonio caught the other kid on the final length and won the race.

“I’ve never seen a comeback like that before. I wasn’t sure if he would even bother going for it given the size of the gap. I knew we’d find out immediately once he took his first stroke, and once he did, I knew we were in for something special. I’ve been waiting all year for Antonio to really unleash what he is capable of. He delivered on the last leg of the last event of the regular season. It was one of the coolest moments I’ve ever been a part of in coaching this sport.

“I will admit, I set that relay up for a possible moment like that. I wanted to force a situation where Antonio would showcase what he was truly capable of. It was senior night, the place was packed, and he gave everyone something they’ll probably remember forever. What I don’t want to get lost is the effort of the three boys before him. They kept us within striking distance for Antonio to reel him in. It was a special moment for everyone. I’ve never heard it louder in that pool than when that went down.”

The boys finished the season 5-1 in CAL competition.