L-S outlasts Westford to rule the pool

By Ayoub Kourikchi
Globe Correspondent / February 21, 2011

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After a scramble for first place that led to five lead changes through the first six events, Lincoln-Sudbury finished 1-2 in the 100-yard freestyle and won the Division 1 girls’ state swimming championship last night at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool.

A total of 7.5 points separated Lincoln-Sudbury and second-place Westford Academy going into the meet’s last event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. With a strong finish from cocaptain Lauryn Brown, the Warriors captured first place (3:37.25).

“We split our relays and I had a lot of confidence going into that last relay as long as they started right, no false starts,’’ said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Ann Boudrot.

The Warriors finished with 195 points, ahead of Westford (181.5), Concord-Carlisle (127), and Gardner (124.5).

“Going in I wanted to have fun because it was my last meet and it meant a lot to me to do my best,’’ said Brown, who earned All-America recognition following her first-place performance in the 100-yard backstroke (56.73).

“Every time we won a dual meet and every time we got a personal best we got that much closer and I’m so proud of us to finally bring it all together. It was an amazing season.’’

Lincoln-Sudbury took the lead in the seventh event, the 100-yard freestyle, as seniors Christina Hurley and Brown coasted to first- and second-place finishes in 52.23 and 52.31, respectively. At that stage, Gardner was second overall (78.5) and Westford (76.5) was third.

Hurley also held off Westborough’s Diana Zeng to earn first in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.27, and anchored Lincoln-Sudbury’s 200-yard medley relay that finished second in 1:47.86, behind Westford.

She also anchored the Warriors’ 200-yard freestyle relay (1:40.20) that managed to pull out a first-place finish despite swimming nearly 3 1/2 seconds slower than their seed time.

“I was very excited. I knew that I had to come up big to get points for the team because it was going to be very close,’’ said Hurley. “I was trying not to pay attention to people and finish to the wall hard and hope that no one else was near me.’’

Gardner, last year’s state champion, led after six events with 78.5 points, ahead of Westford (76.5), after sophomore Taylor Strachan earned All-America consideration in the 100-yard butterfly by finishing first in 56.23.

King Philip’s Stephanie Nasson continued her dominance in the 200-yard freestyle with a narrow win over Beverly’s India Boland in 1:53.25. She also won the 500-yard freestyle (4:58.49) and earned an All-America consideration.

Lincoln-Sudbury earned its second state championship in three years after falling to Gardner last year.

“Swimming is an integral part of our overall program. The community really supports athletics,’’ said Lincoln-Sudbury athletic director Nancy O’Neil. “This team works incredibly hard, they were focused, they knew what they had to do, and they went out and did it.’’