PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, February 22. IN what will likely be one of the closest finishes in the 114 years of the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships, Loyola Blakefield defeated defending champion Peddie School for the boys’ team title by 7.5 points. Germantown, on the other hand, was dominant and repeated as girls’ champion.
Peddie went into Saturday’s finals with a 2.5-point lead over Loyola Blakefield, but lost that lead in the night’s first event, the 100 freestyle, and couldn’t relinquish it. It was not the overwhelmingly dominant performance that Peddie had last year when the boys won all but one swimming event, as five schools won boys’ titles. Loyola Blakefield, who placed third last year, takes the team title back to Towson, Md., with a score of 375 points to Peddie’s 367.5. In third overall was Malvern Prep, last year’s runner-up, with 296 points. They beat Phillips Academy by just two points for third place.
All eyes were on Georgetown Prep’s Carsten Vissering tonight as he stepped up for the final of the 100 breaststroke. As the new national independent high school record holder in the event with a 53.49 from two weeks ago, the crowd wondered if he would reset the record. Vissering fell short with a 54.98 to win the event. Penn Charter’s Reece Whitley, a multiple national age group record holder, placed second with a 55.75, just off his best time of 55.62. Thomas Ferry of Peddie was third with a 56.50.
The only meet record broken this weekend was in the 100 backstroke, as Tim Wynter of Phillips Academy posted a 49.09 in prelims, breaking the 17-year-old mark of 49.14 by Tyler Townsend in 1997. Wynter took another crack at the record in finals, lowering it ever so slightly with a 49.08. CJ Schaffer of Malvern Prep wasn’t far behind, placing second with a 49.66 while Cole Buese of Loyola Blakefield was third with a 51.02.
Billy Beard joined Patrick Park as the only two swimmers to win two individual events in the boys’ meet. After winning the 200 free on Friday, he blasted through the 100 free with a 45.09 to beat the 46.06 by Buese and 46.40 by 50 free winner Joshua Daniels of Peddie. Daniels had posted a 46.01 in prelims.
The Germantown boys’ team got a boost from Andrew DiFriece, as the sophomore won the 500 free with a 4:32.93. Deerfield Academy’s Matthew Hrabchak couldn’t hold DiFriece’s pace and settled for second with a 4:32.93. Matt Haigh of The Haverford School was third with a 4:35.65.
The boys’ meet wrapped up with Peddie winning the 400 free relay with a 3:03.69. Phillips Academy wound up second with a 3:05.37, holding off Loyola Blakefield’s charge at the end by Buese to post a 3:06.05.
In the girls’ meet, Germantown won by 62 points over Peddie, 562 to 464. The Episcopal Academy, who enjoyed three wins on Friday to get off to a strong start, was third overall with 380 points.
Germantown won the first three events. Shannon McKernan, voted the meet’s top female swimmer, won the 100 free in 50.82 to go along with her 200 free win. Val Yoshimura was second with a 51.48 and Kaitlin Simpson took third with a 52.16.
Germantown freshman Sierra Schmidt had no problem winning the 500 free, taking control early and posting a 4:46.29. She just missed her lifetime best of 4:46.10 from 11 months ago. Teammate Karlee Carminati was third with a 4:51.27 while Annabel Tomes of Peddie was third with a 5:02.60.
Emma Seiberlich, a freshman at The Episcopal Academy, repeated as 100 backstroke champion with a 55.60, the same time she posted in prelims. Seiberlich won the event last year as an eighth-grade student. Maddison Marcheskie of The Hill School settled for second with a 56.77, while Alyce-Faye Eichelberger of Westtown School placed third with a 57.58.
With defending champion Madison Visco relegated to the B final of the 100 breast today, Eva Crouse had little trouble in taking the win in 1:03.83 to take her second win of the meet after the 200 IM victory on Friday. Laura Morley of Peddie placed second with a 1:04.42 from the outside lane and Emily Erwin of Germantown was third with a 1:04.51. Visco’s time of 1:04.46 won the B final.
Germantown, which posted the national high school record of 3:21.63 last year in the 400 free relay that has since been broken, won that event tonight with a 3:26.37. Peddie School was second with a 3:29.33. After more than 10 minutes of discussion among officials, a disqualification handed to Phillips Academy was upheld for an early takeoff by Danielle Liu, causing Phillips to lose their third-place time in the event to The Episcopal Academy, who officially placed third with a 3:33.00.
In 1-meter diving, Agnes Irwin’s Marin Bloise obliterated the field with a winning score of 464.85 points, beating runner-up Ellie Uhl of Deerfield by 56 points.