LHS/WMHS boys’ co-op resets focus for CAL’s

Published in the January 24, 2018 edition


READING — The Lynnfield girls’ and the Lynnfield/Wakefield boys’ swim teams, competing separately this season, traveled to the Burbank YMCA on Saturday night to race North Reading in their final regular season meets of 2018. It was a great night for both teams, as the girls won 94-74 for their first CAL victory while the boys took an 81-42 decision to improve their record to 7-1.

CHRIS ANASTASIADES continued his great season for the Lynnfield/Wakefield boys’ co-op swim team against North Reading on Saturday. Anastasiades, who has qualified for states in five different events, won the 200 IM and the 100 fly against the Hornets. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

Boys improve to 7-1

The Lynnfield/Wakefield co-op boys’ team got a strong and consistent meet from multiple swimmers for a complete team-effort victory, 81-42.

The Pioneers got some excellent swimming plenty of Warriors once again as Wakefield’s Chris and Antonio Anastasiades each won both of their events and contributed to the winning teams in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Chris Anastasiades, who has qualified for states in all four freestyle events (50, 100, 200, 500) as well as the 100 yard fly, got first in the 200 IM and the 100 fly against North Reading.

Antonio Anastasiades has qualified for states in the 200 IM and the 100 breast stroke. On Saturday, he finished 1st in the 100 free, and the 100 backstroke.

Wakefield’s Alex Kent also had a terrific meet with a 2nd-place finish in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke.

Lynnfield’s Nick Alphen continued his excellent season by winning the 200 freestyle with a season-best time, while also taking 2nd in the 100 free. Coach Digiacomo is hoping he gets sectional cuts at CAL’s as well.

The Pioneers’ relay teams have qualified for states in all three relay events, and on Saturday they took first in both races that occurred: the 200 free and the 400 free.

Wakefield’s Johnny Stumpf anchored the 200 free with the Anastasiades brothers and Kent making up the rest of the team. In the 400 free, Omar Rizk of WMHS anchored the All-Wakefield team including Johnny, Antonio and Chris for the best time in that relay.

The Pioneers have been led by captain Jack Daly of Lynnfield, a terrific leader who coach Digiacomo said has been coming along in the breast stroke and freestyle events.

Lynnfield’s only loss of the season came against an undefeated Manchester-Essex team who only beat the Pioneers by four points on the last relay. The CAL Championships will provide a fun opportunity for Lynnfield/Wakefield to beat the Hornets, especially considering that both Digiacomo and the Manchester-Essex coach were orchestrating their first meets with their new teams when they first met on Dec. 10.

“I would love to swim them again because we both know our teams so much better now,” said Digiacomo. “CAL’s will be very interesting.”

The boys’ team has all the momentum in the world as they get ready to compete at CAL’s on Sunday, Feb. 4 at O’Keefe Sports Complex in Salem.

“The boys are very excited heading into the CAL Championships,” said Digiacomo. “As a group they are all beginning to swim very well and it will be very interesting to see how they finish at CALs and then move on to Sectionals and States.”

Girls break through

The Lynnfield girls’ team matched the energy and intensity from the boys to win their own meet against North Reading, 94-74. 

The 200 freestyle relay team of captain Sabrina Bunar, Liz Sykes, Michelle Marder and Caitlin Hooper went their best time of the season and made a sectional cut.

The Pioneers had two relay teams compete in the 400 free, with Bunar, Sykes, Marder and Hooper taking first, while Olivia Murphy, Jordan Walker, Gillian Skelly and Riley Comeau beat the Hornets for 2nd place. Lynnfield has qualified for sectionals in all three relay events.

Sykes started her night by winning the 200 individual medley with a season-best time, and jumped right back in after the 200 free relay with a 2nd-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke.

“Liz Sykes has been exceptionally strong so far in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke,” said head coach Andrew Digiacomo. “She is just off her sectional time so hopefully she will get it at CAL’s.”

While Bunar didn’t get a chance to showcase her diving skills that will bring her to Chapel Hill next season to compete for UNC’s diving team, in addition to her relay swims, she finished 2nd in the 50 freestyle and 1st in the 100 freestyle, both in season-best times.

Although diving opportunities are few and far between until states later in the year, Bunar has already broken her personal-best this year to cement her status as one of the elite in not only Lynnfield’s history, but the state’s. Senior Olivia Johnian has also competed well from the diving board this season as the two classmates finished 1-2 in both meets that had diving this year.

Sarah Ho finished 2nd in the 100 butterfly and the 100 breast stroke. Ho has been strong in both events all season, and coach Digiacomo believes her times will be right on the sectional cuts for both.

In addition to helping the relay teams win, Marder also won the grueling 500 freestyle and finished 2nd in the 200 freestyle.

“It was a great team effort and the coaches couldn’t be happier with how hard they swam after being so close in so many meets this season,” said Digiacomo. “It means a lot to finish the dual meet season with a win and head into CALs with some momentum.”

Overall, it was the perfect way to end the season, and a great confidence boost for a young team that features five sophomores and two freshmen.

“What is most exciting is that our girls’ team is very young but many of the younger swimmers are taking leadership roles already,” said Digiacomo. “This is a great building block season and we hope to make some additional sectional cuts at CAL’s.”