ANDOVER – For years and decades, the Chelmsford High School swim-and-dive team has played second fiddle to Andover, always finishing behind the Warriors in regular season meets as well as league, sectional and state meets.
Recently that ended as the Lions won the North Sectionals in 2019 and then followed that up with a 10-0 record last year during the Fall-2 season, but there no were post-season meets.
Taking that momentum into this season as being one of the premier teams in the entire state, the Lions were hoping to remain on top, but in the first meet of the season, last Friday, the Methuen/Tewksbury Co-Op team ended that winning streak, coming away with a thrilling 100-86 victory.
“This is the first time in my 19 years as head coach that we have beaten the Lions, and it could be a first in program history,” said M/T head coach Jason Smith. This was a huge win for the program. It was a total team effort. Being the first meet of the season, we still have a lot of work to do, but we will certainly take the win over a very good Chelmsford team.”
The Red Rangers won six of the nine individual events which proved to be so crucial in the win. In addition, they won one of the four relay events.
In the individual events, winners were Johnathan Phan in both the 200-IM (2:20.10) and 100-butterfly (1:07.22), Cory Boissell in the 50 free (25.94), Lex Flores in the 1-meter diving (2:24.65 points), Callie DeLano in the 100-breaststroke (1:10.32) and Carter DeLano in the 500-freestyle at 5:35.81.
Callie DeLano also finished with a pair of thirds in the 200-freestyle (2:19.69) and 500-freestyle (6:07.34) and Boisselle picked up a fourth in the 100-freestyle (1:01.03).
Tewksbury freshman Matthew Jo had a huge day. He was second in the 100-freestyle (58.38), third in the 100-breaststroke at 1:15.27, and was part of the winning 200-freestyle relay team along with Philip Nguyen, Boisselle and Phan with a combined time of 1:39.94, and finished it up with being a part of the second place 400-freestyle relay along with Katie LeFebvre, Callie and Carter DeLano, as they combined for a time of 4:18.12.
Philip Nguyen was also third in both the 200-IM (2:31.71) and 100-butterfly (1:08.81) and LeFebvre was fourth in the 200-freestyle (2:19.69) and fifth in the butterfly (1:14.23).
In the 200-free, Marissa Connelly picked up a sixth place at 2:26.75. In the 100-backstroke, Julia Galuska was second at 1:12.77 and she was also sixth in the 200-IM at 2:45.38.
In the 50-freestyle, Brady Lyons was third at 27.56 and Rebecca MacLeod was fourth at 27.61. In the diving, Jan Palermo was second with 188.15 points with Anna Bolduc sixth at 166.05. Lily Forsyth picked up a pair of place finishes, fourth in the 100-backstroke at 1:17.06 and a fifth in the 500-freestyle at 6:49.91.
Rounding out the individual scoring included Jenny Nguyen with a fifth in the 100-breaststroke at 1:26.51 and Caitlyn Nims in the 100-freestyle at 1:07.91.
The Red Rangers also did very well in the relays. In addition to the two that Jo was a part of, the 200-medley team of Gaigals, Jenny Nguyen, LeBlanc and Nims finished fourth at 2:21.15.
In the 200-freestyle, the team of MacLeod, Connelly, Callie DeLano and LeFebvre were fourth at 1:53.53 and then Lyons, LeBlanc, Tewksbury's Lana Dang and Jonnie Charest were fifth at 2:05.72.
Finally in the 400-freestyle, the group of Nims, Connelly, MacLeod and Galuska were third at 4:27.13 and the team of Charest, LeBlanc, Jenny Nguyen and Gaigals were fourth at 4:46.79.