By John Lohn
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, February 24. THROUGH the years, the Eastern Interscholastic Championships have earned a reputation for being one of the fastest high school meets in the country. Friday night, as the 107th edition of the competition got under way at La Salle University, that reputation received another boost.
A pair of national-prep school records were wiped out by the girls from the Peddie School and action across the board was superb through the first six events. The final five events are scheduled for tonight in Philadelphia.
Nationally recognized for years, the Peddie School (N.J.) used its national-record showings to take a 346-316 lead over Germantown Academy into the second night of competition. Peddie jumpstarted the evening when its foursome of Annie Fittin, JiYoung Lee, Xiao Zhao and Amywren Miller clocked 1:43.38 in the 200 medley relay. That effort bettered the 2006 standard of 1:43.51, set by Good Counsel.
Fittin led off on the backstroke leg with a sizzling mark of 26.64 and was followed by Lee's breaststroke split of 28.80. Zhao then delivered a butterfly leg of 25.53 and Miller closed the relay with an eye-popping freestyle split of 22.41.
About two hours later, Peddie went record-breaking again when it clocked 1:33.76 in the 200 free relay. This time around, Fittin (23.80) and Miller (22.76) sandwiched contributions by Amy Jacobi (23.37) and Teisha Lightbourne (23.83). Peddie entered the meet with the prep-school record of 1:34.65 from 1995. Before its effort from the championship final, Peddie went 1:34.16 during the preliminaries.
"We pictured this," said coach Greg Wriede, a Peddie alum who competed collegiately at Harvard. "The kids really wanted to get this done. They had been flirting with the record."
Miller and Fittin didn't just make a mark in relay duty. Miller also won the 50 free, leading a sweep of the top three slots by Peddie. Miller popped a time of 23.27 and was followed by Lightbourne (24.08) and Jacobi (24.20). As for Fittin, she won the 100 butterfly in 56.79.
Not surprisingly, the other two events were won by Germantown Academy, which has been crowned national-team champion by Swimming World Magazine on six occasions. In the 200 freestyle, Katie Riefenstahl broke her own meet record with a swim of 1:47.42. The junior was followed by teammates Lauren Sylvester (1:51.09) and Katie Magee (1:53.54).
Meanwhile, Teresa Crippen led a one-two finish for her family in the 200 individual medley. Crippen won the I.M. in 2:01.55, finishing just ahead of her sister Claire, who touched the wall in 2:02.27. Jen Kopenitz gave Germantown a sweep of the top three positions with a time of 2:06.34.
Not to go overlooked due to Peddie's record-breaking swim, Germantown Academy turned in a sensational swim in the 200 free relay. The quartet of Riefenstahl (23.51), Liza McDevitt (23.97), Sylvester (24.40) and Teresa Crippen (23.59) stopped the clock in 1:35.47.
On the male side, the Peddie School took the lead in the team standings with 241 points on the strength of a 200 medley relay win and quality depth. The quartet of Josh Charnin-Aker, Derick Chui, Matt O'Brien and Bryce Hillman won the medley relay in 1:34.47. O'Brien also took second in the 100 fly, with his 49.94 effort placing behind Lawrenceville's Peter Geissinger (49.23).
En route to third place in the team race, behind Peddie and Loyola-Blakefield, Germantown Academy prevailed in the 200 freestyle relay and had a pair of individual titlists. The unit of Ryan Peart, Matt Cox, Ted Bonus and Reece Chandler went 1:25.61 in the 200 free relay. Peart added a victory in the 50 free (21.58) and Cox took top honors in the 200 I.M. (1:51.74).
The other individual winner was Delco Christian's Evan Reed, a junior who went 1:39.66 in the 200 freestyle. Reed is unrested for the meet, opting to taper for April's YMCA National Championships.
Peddie School – 346
Germantown Academy – 316
Mercersburg Academy – 140
Mount de Sales Academy – 123
Episcopal Academy – 87
Peddie School – 241
Loyola-Blakefield – 182.5
Germantown Academy – 174
La Salle College High – 170
Malvern Prep – 146