Anastasiades qualifies for states in four events

Published in the January 7, 2020 edition.

PEABODY — The Lynnfield-Wakefield co-op boys’ swim team is off to another strong start. The Pioneer-Warriors had a difficult two meets to start the season, facing Manchester-Essex and Masconomet. Lynnfield-Wakefield beat the Hornets 80-73 on Dec. 15 and fell to Masco 99.5-76.5 on Sunday night at the Torogian Family YMCA in Peabody.

Returning for a second stint as head coach of the team is Jeff Boyd.

Boyd was the program’s first coach, guiding the Pioneers from 2005-2016 before stepping away for two seasons. He won more CAL championships over his first 11 seasons than any other CAL team during that span.

“It’s great to be back coaching this team,” said Boyd. “I had a lot of changes going on three years ago that forced me to step down. I never wanted to leave and couldn’t be happier to be back. The timing couldn’t have worked out any better and I’m excited to be back doing what I love. This team and the community have always been so great to me and my family, so I’m excited to pick up where I left off.”

Knowing that about coach Boyd and the number of great races he has seen in the CAL is important because you can take his word for it that the victory over Manchester-Essex was massive.

“I told them at practice the next day that this was the second-best win in team history behind our first league championship clinching meet years ago against North Andover,” said Boyd. “This was a team win in the truest sense.”

Wakefield’s Antonio Anastasiades had a phenomenal start to his season. He placed first in the 100 freestyle with a 50.37 that qualified him for Div. 1 States. He then went on to do the same in the 100 backstroke, his 59.00 good for first and another D1 qualification.

Anastasiades helped the 200 freestyle relay take first with a time of 1:47.35. He teamed up with Spencer Little, Ben Sykes and Alex Kent in that one.

Kent, also a Wakefield High student, took first place in the 50 freestyle earlier in the meet with a time of 26.09.

The team had a strong group performance in the 500 freestyle. Shane McQueen took second in the event, followed by Nick Jacobs (3rd) and Kyle Morais (4th).

“That 500 freestyle defined us as a team right away,” said Boyd. “When I went over the lineup on the bus, I said that I had nobody in the 500. I said that if anyone wanted to give it a shot then let me know. Shane, Nick and Kyle all stepped up to the challenge. Manchester-Essex put one kid out there for the event and he took first. But just by battling through that event, our three boys got us nine points that we wouldn’t have had. That won us the meet. Without them stepping up, we don’t win that meet.

“I’ve never seen kids step up and challenge themselves for the benefit of the team like I did in this meet. As a coach, it doesn’t get better than that.”

The Pioneer-Warriors couldn’t get past a strong Masco team but they had plenty of performances to build on.

The 200 medley relay of Sykes, Anastasiades, Kent and Adam Ho took first in 1:55.51, closing in on the sectional cut which is 1:53.11.

David Kadson took first in the diving event.

Anastasiades once again came ready to compete. He got first in the 200 IM with a 2:05.81, another D1 state qualifier. The second place finisher touched the wall at 2:22.16. Anastasiades also got a D1 qualifying first in the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.43. Ho took 2nd at 1:22.08.

“Antonio is a rare talent,” said Boyd. “He has the size and skills to be one of the best, if not the best, in the state. Antonio is going to be as great as Antonio wants to be.”

Overall, the team is looking forward to building on a fast start that has the rest of the league on notice.

“We have a lot of talented boys that are strong in all strokes,” said Boyd. “It’s nice to be able to plug different guys into different spots as needed.”

Lynnfield-Wakefield will next race Triton on Saturday, 5 p.m. back at the Torogian Y. They then meet Ipswich on Sunday 4:30 p.m. at the Ipswich Y.