Pelican Swim Teams Top Exeter in Thrilling Dual Meet

The boys and girls swimming and diving teams beat Phillips Exeter Academy at Hedges Pool on Saturday, December 14,  in a meet that came down to the final race of the day for both Pelican teams.

It was the first time both teams have topped Exeter on the same day. The girls won 97-89, their first victory over the Big Red since the 2005–2006 season, and the boys squeaked out a 96-90 victory.

There were many ebbs and flows in the girls meet, as both teamed put forth their best strategies to earn the most points possible. Loomis began its winning ways with a 1-2-3 finish in the 200-meter freestyle. Seniors Neala Sweeney and Virginia Joyce and sophomore Laura Brawley swam past all three Exeter swimmers to give Loomis an early lead in the meet. Other individual winners for the Pelicans included freshman Campbell Brode in one-meter diving, Brawley in the 100 free, and Sweeney in the 400 free.

Countering the Pelicans’ great racing and diving, Exeter mounted a furious comeback, and Loomis was down 85-87 going into the final event, the 400-meter freestyle relay.

Needing a first-place finish to tie the meet and at least first and third place in the event to win the meet, the Pelicans reached deep and came through with an exciting 1-2 finish to put an exclamation point on a great meet between the two teams. Swimming on the winning relay were Brawley, Sweeney, sophomore Eleanor Zhu and junior Sophie Rodner, and the second-place relay team consisted of junior Annah Clymer, freshman Zoe Sorensen, sophomore Daisy Xu, and senior Kelly Eng.

The boys’ meet was just as thrilling, as an amped-up band of Pelican swimmers and divers defeated Exeter for just the third time in program history. Much like the girls’ meet, depth of team was crucial, and the victory was truly a team-earned triumph. The Pelican boys won only four of the meet’s 12 events, with senior captain Min Jun Jung winning the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter backstroke, sophomore Liam Hochman placing first in the one-meter dive, and the relay team of freshman Kaeden Freston, sophomore Nick Guenther, Jung, and senior McIntyre Pahl winning the 400-meter freestyle relay.