Urged by her team to take the plunge, Andover swim coach Marilyn Fitzgerald jumped into the water at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool on Sunday, emerging with a smile seen countless times before.
“I’m 70 years old,” Fitzgerald said, her clothes dripping wet. “And if you told me right now that I’m not 16, it’d be a lie. That’s how I feel.”
Fitzgerald’s Golden Warriors once again ruled the pool, winning the Division 1 state swim meet with a total of 428 points, overwhelming second-place Chelmsford (282.5) and third-place Acton-Boxboro (253).
The victory capped a remarkable four-year run for Andover’s seniors, who went unbeaten and claimed four state titles. Though she is no stranger to championships, Fitzgerald was noticeably moved while talking about her perfect class.
“Today is very emotional, especially with 14 seniors,” she said. “In four years’ time, you get really close to these kids. I’m overwhelmed. I’m never at a loss for words . . . but this was really special.”
Senior Maggie D’Innocenzo was again the catalyst in the win, taking first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute 51.66 seconds and besting the field in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.67. Classmate Alexa Korsberg also racked up points, finishing second in the 200 freestyle (1:56.64) and fourth in the 100 butterfly (59.93).
D’Innocenzo and Korsberg were also cogs in the Golden Warriors’ relay teams, two of which finished first. The 200 medley team beat out Acton-Boxboro and Haverhill with a time of 1:49.66, and the 400 freestyle swimmers reached the wall in 3:33.16, ahead of Chelmsford and A-B.
Other senior standouts for Andover included Emma Cammann, Nadja Arifovic, and Deborah Daly. Cammann took third in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 50 freestyle with times of 53.64 and 24.70, respectively. Arifovic was fourth in the 200 individual medley and 10th in the 100 backstroke. And Daly was the runner-up in the 1-meter dive with a score of 479.60, 4 points back of Framingham junior Maura Sticco-Ivins.
Though Andover loses a big senior class, Fitzgerald believes her program will continue to perform.
“It’s been year after year,” she said. “Every time, somebody just steps up. I feel like all you have to do is give them the opportunity, and give them the belief. They know that I believe they can do it.”
Caitlin Sheridan and Jennifer Day helped Chelmsford take second place with strong performances. Sheridan took first in the 200 IM (2:02.97) and 100 butterfly (56.02), while Day was tops in the 500 freestyle (5:07.64). Both were part of the 200 freestyle relay team, which beat Andover by 2.39 seconds.
Division 2 — Bishop Feehan’s girls’ swimming coach Christopher Payson gladly let his team throw him in the pool after winning its second consecutive title, with a total of 302.5 points.
Junior Maddie Myers finished first in the 500 freestyle, which Payson called the most significant event of the day, clocking a 5:05.23.
After 17 events, Reading had a 1-point lead over Feehan, but sophomore Marisa Reidemeister finished second in the 100 breaststroke to help put Bishop Feehan in the top spot.
Myers finished first in the 200 freestyle as well.
Reading finished second (273) and Belmont third (204). Reading was led by Erin Daly, who won the 50 free (24.37) and 100 free (52.79). The Rockets also won two relays, the 200 free (1:42.03) and the 400 free (3:39.51). Westwood’s Irina Chiulli took the diving with 497.65 points and Wakefield’s Emily Medeiros won the 100 breast (1:06.78).