Published February 6, 2019


SALEM — And you thought your Super Bowl Sunday was sweet?

The Lynnfield/Wakefield co-op boys’ swim team traveled to Salem State on Sunday for their own Super Bowl: The CAL Championships.

The Pioneer-Warriors concluded their regular season with a perfect record, avenging their only loss last year with a win over CAL powerhouse Manchester-Essex.

Despite the regular season success, the boys went to Salem State on a mission: to win CAL’s for the first time in program history.

“This team had such great dedication and determination from the start of the season and we all knew the potential we had but didn’t realize we could finish the season with a perfect record,” said captain Chris Anastasiades of Wakefield.

Anastasiades is a great example of this team’s mentality. He’s been one of the premier swimmers in the state for years. He was named this year’s CAL Swimmer of the Year and had a terrific performance on Sunday winning both the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly while also helping both relay teams, the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle, set new CAL records.

THE BOYS are CAL Champs. Pictured is the Lynnfield-Wakefield 2019 CAL Swim Champions from left to right: Chris Anastasiades (capt. WMHS), Matt Pecjo (WMHS), Antonio Anastasiades (WMHS), Ben Sykes (LHS), Alex Kent (WMHS), Shane McQueen (LHS), Nick Alphen (capt/LHS), Andrew Rosenberg (WMHS), Johnny Stumpf (WMHS), David Blake (LHS), Jack Michalski (LHS) and Shant Melkonian (WMHS). (Courtesy Photo)

But the captain makes sure to reiterate that it was a team effort and he means it.

His brother, Antonio Anastasiades, set his own league record with a first-place finish in the 100 Breaststroke.

The Anastasiades brothers teamed up with two more Warriors, Johnny Stumpf and Alex Kent to make sure the new relay records were All-Wakefield. All four were CAL All-Stars last year.

Sure it helps to have talented individual swimmers but If you want proof that winning a league championship requires depth, consider this: every event in which a Lynnfield/Wakefield swimmer competed in earned points for the team.

Stumpf got second in the 100 fly and third in the 200 freestyle.

Wakefield’s Matt Pecjo, another returning CAL All-Star, had a great meet picking up valuable points for the team in the 50 free and the 100 free.

Yes, the broken records will immortalize names like Anastasiades, Kent and Stumpf forever, but it’s the CAL championship trophy that will mean the most to this group; no small feat for a co-op team who has come together to create lifelong bonds.

“It has been such a great honor to watch this team grow for the past three years and the friendships that we have all made that will last a lifetime,” said Chris Anastasiades. “Winning the CAL championships was truly a team effort and everyone contributed to our team victory.”

The job isn’t done for the Pioneer-Warriors who will now turn their attention to two more challenges: Sectionals and States.

The North Sectionals are this Sunday at MIT and the State Finals will be the following weekend, Sunday, Feb. 17 at Boston University.

The members of the team who qualified for Sectionals are Wakefield’s Chris Anastasiades, Antonio Anastasiades, Johnny Stumpf and Alex Kent along with Lynnfield’s Nick Alphen, David Blake and Ben Sykes.

It will be another opportunity to make some more memories for a team that will be remembered as the best in two communities.

“It was a truly historic meet for the program and we hope to carry that momentum into sectionals and states these next two weekends,” said head coach Andrew Digiacomo. “Meghan (Sullivan, assistant coach) and I are proud of the entire team.”