GREENWICH — Tuesday marks the beginning of exam week for Brunswick School and Greenwich Academy, yet the Bruins and Gators swim teams each aced a test outside the classroom on Saturday.
Greenwich Academy and Brunswick faced NEPSAC rival Phillips Exeter Academy in their first meet of the new year and the Gators and Bruins impressively passed their test in the form of formidable Exeter.
The Bruins edged Exeter, 92-89, to raise their record to 5-0, while the Gators moved to 3-0 with a 105-81 victory, before a large gathering at Brunswick.
In the girls 200-yard medley relay, the GA quartet of Sophia Moore, Ashley Hu, Claire Michalik and Avery Sammons combined for a winning time of 1:49.22. The Gators are the three-time defending NEPSAC Division I champions and seem to have the depth to produce another title-winning season.
“The season is going really well, this team is like a family,” Moore said. “Everyone is swimming for the team, not themselves, which is great to see.”
Brunswick began its meet in winning fashion, with Max Meissner, Alexander Hazlett, Marcus Hodgson and Gavin Molloy producing a combined time of 1:36.38.
In the boys 200-yard freestyle, Lucas Hodgson finished second with a time of 1:42.18. Teammate Gavin West was third in 1:48.04. Andrew Benson of Phillips Exeter won the event (1:40.98).
“He ended up taking me in the last 100, but I will definitely see him again at Easterns and New Englands,” Lucas Hodgson said.
Said Bruins coach Aaron Montgomery: “Benson is one of the best swimmers in the country. We wanted to race him and see what it was like to race against a blue chip, DI guy.”
Elizabeth Xia of GA placed second in the 200 freestyle (2:04.38), while Sydney Kang of Exeter was the winner (1:54.21).
The girls 200 IM saw Moore touch the wall first in 2:10.23. Wynter Sands of Exter was the runner-up (2:24.25).
“The 200 IM is something I have been focusing on in my training, so it was really exciting to compete in that race,” Moore said. “As the season progresses, I’m looking forward to seeing an improvement in my times.”
Hazlett earned top honors in the boys 200 IM, clocking in at 1:56.47 for the Bruins. Teammate Patrick Mullen was second in the race (2:03.66).
“Since this is our first real home meet, I wanted to get a pool record here in the 200 IM, which I did,” Hazlett said. “Last year, we graduated a lot of core guys, but coming into this year, we realized we have a lot of underclassmen who could also score in each event.”
Sammons showed her speed in winning the 50 freestyle for GA (25.59). Madeleine Holden of GA was third (26.58). Marcus Hodgson won the 50 freestyle for the Bruins (21.28), while Molloy took second (22.41). In the 100 butterfly, Marcus Hodgson also finished first (51.92), followed by Mullen (56.31).
“I thought my swims went well,” Marcus Hodgson said. “I’ve been working on my breakout and my ability to pull the race throughout a lap, rather than progressively getting slower. This has helped me get better in-season times than last year.”
Annie Bingle and Charlotte Duty were among some of GA’s top divers on Saturday. The duo consistently executed efficient dives for their squad. In the girls 100 butterfly, Michalik posted a second-place finish for the Gators in 59.79, followed by teammate Hutton Saunders.
“The 100 fly, I had a really nice first 50, then kind of lost it in the second 50, but it’s something to work on for next time,” Michalik said.
One of GA’s captains, Michalik appreciates the squad’s depth.
“That’s definitely one of the nicest things on our team,” Michalik said. “We have a lot of talent, we have great athletes who do many sports and their hard work really shows.”
Lucas Hodgson posted a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle in a Brunswick pool-record time of 46.31 seconds. He broke his own record on his way to winning the race.
“I am just trying to drop as much time as I possibly can as the season goes on,” he said.
Michalik showed her stamina in winning the 500 freestyle for Greenwich Academy in 5:22.09.
“I basically took it out pretty fast, then tried to keep my rhythm and I tried to keep my speed up the whole time,” Michalik said.
Meissner won the 500 freestyle for the Bruins (4:46.56) and teammate Ivey Gehring took second in 5:02.82. GA was second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:43.60), while Brunswick was first in the 200 freestyle relay on the boys side (1:28.75).
Hu of GA touched the wall first in both the 100 backstroke (1:06.23) and the 100 breaststroke (1:06.75). Sammons finished second in the backstroke and Moore was the runner-up in the breaststroke.
“It’s nice to swim some of the events I don’t normally do at these meets,” Moore said. “Swimming next to someone like her (Hu) makes me want to be better.”
Brunswick swam exhibition following the 200 freestyle, but Meissner had the best time in the 100 backstroke (54.64) and the Bruins’ had the top time in the 400 freestyle relay (3:12.96).
Greenwich Academy bid farewell to one of their captains, Abby Lonnegren. She is spending a semester in Idaho for an outdoors program.
“I am so proud to be a captain and feel fortunate to be on such a great team,” Lonnegren said. “Every one of them has a passion for the sport that is so inspiring.”
Montgomery left the meet especially impressed with how his swimmer’s times, following a challenging training trip to Florida.
“Everyone has been fatigued since then, so it was important to see them swimming this fast against a team like Exeter — one of our biggest competitors in the league,” Montgomery said.