Brunswick School’s swimming team has followed an impressive pattern each year at the NEPSAC Division I Championships: it has improved its finish in the team standings with each New England meet.
The Bruins continued their trend at this past weekend’s NEPSAC Division I Championships, placing a program-best second with a team score of 378. Phillips Academy won the NEPSAC title, amassing 472 team points. Phillips Exeter Academy was third (298) in the 10-team meet.
“This is our seventh year as a program and it’s the best that we have done at the New England championships,” Brunswick coach Aaron Montgomery said. “We finished third two years in a row and two years before that, we finished seventh. The team this year has been so impressive.”
Brunswick set itself up nicely for a strong showing in the finals by excelling at the meet’s preliminaries during the first day of action.
“We had 18 A finalists and five B finalist heading into the finals,” Montgomery said. “We had a plan going into the meet to get 23 kids to the finals — 14 A finalists and nine B finalists, but the boys swam so well on Saturday in the preliminaries, we had so many qualifiers for the A finals.”
“Andover is unbelievable, they have some of the fastest swimmers in the country. We knew we would be chasing them. It’s great to have a powerhouse program in the league. We went into the finals knowing that second place was ours to lose and we had a great meet.”
In the 200-yard freestyle, senior Keegan Drew finished third for Brunswick in 1:14.04. Junior Max Unger of Phillips Academy was the winner (1:39.83). Brunswick scored a lot of points in the event with senior Nico Apostolides and freshman Lucas Hodgson placing sixth and seventh, respectively.
The Bruins also sent three swimmers to the finals in the 200 individual medley. Cole Pierce, a junior placed fourth (1:52.76), while Brunswick teammates Max Meissner (sophomore) and Jack Moore (sophomore) posted sixth and eighth-place finishes.
“Those guys in the 200 freestyle and IM did a fantastic job,” Montgomery said. “Having three competitors in those races really helped us.”
Junior Marcus Hodgson (21.29) and freshman Alexander Hazlett (21.77) were third and sixth, respectively for the Bruins in the 50 freestyle, which was won by Deerfield’s Shaun Kronewetter (20.95).
Christian Farricker, a senior, earned All-American status for Brunswick in the 100-yard butterfly. Farricker ended his Bruins career by touching the wall in an All-American automatic time of 48.93 — good for a second-place finish. Lance Freiman from Phillips Academy was the champion (47.99, All-American). One of the Bruins’ premier athletes, Farricker will take his swimming skills to Michigan next season.
“That was such an exciting event,” Montgomery said. “It was such a great performance by Christian.”
Moore took eighth in the 100 butterfly for the Bruins. In the 100 freestyle, Hodgson (fourth place, 46.29) and Drew (sixth, 46.48) were Brunswick’s top finishers.
Senior Nico Apostolides took fourth in the 500 freestyle (4:43.05), while Meissner, a sophomore, (4:48.80) was sixth. Lucas Hodgson, a freshman, was seventh for Brunswick in 4:50.31.
Brunswick’s victory in the meet came in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Hazlett, Drew, Farricker and Marcus Hodgson combined for a winning time of 1:23.85 — an eye opening All-American automatic time.
“That might have been the most exciting event of the week,” Montgomery said. “We were seeded second and it was a back-and-forth race. We came back to win the race. It was our best time of the season and it may have been around the 25th fastest time in the country.”
Farricker nearly claimed the first-place medal in the 100 backstroke. He clocked in at 50.74, an eye blink behind winner Charles Vence (Phillips Exeter Academy, 50.73).
Pierce finished fourth in 50.84 for the Bruins.
Hazlett took sixth in the 100 breaststroke (59.35) and Brunswick’s 400 freestyle relay squad of Farricker, Pierce, Drew and Marcus Hodgson registered an All-American automatic time of 3:3.01 in the 400 freestyle relay event. Phillips Academy won the event in 3:02.50.
Farricker, Pierce and Apostolides were the Bruins’ senior captains.
“The depth of this team was amazing,” Montgomery said. “It is going to be tough to match the talent of this team of 34 swimmers. “The great thing is, they set the bar so high and have allowed us to become a very competitive program. The depth of our team and the heart of our team was amazing.”