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State Swimming Championships

Andover girls glide to 12th title

By Nick French and Sarina Mathai
Globe Correspondents / November 20, 2011

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Championships are like children, and no coach ever likes to pick a favorite, but the 12th state title for the Andover girls’ swimming team ranks near the top for coach Marilyn Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald lost her father earlier this month, and the entire team rallied around her. The culmination of that teamwork was yesterday’s convincing win at the Zesiger Sports Center at MIT.

“I don’t know if one is any more special than another, but this sure heals a lot of the problems of the last month,’’ said Fitzgerald. “I know every coach says this, but we have such a great group of girls, they have such team cohesion.’’

The Golden Warriors got off to a rousing start when the 200-yard medley relay team of Maeve Awiszus, Ashlee Korsberg, Rachel Moore, and Emma Cammann cruised to a win in 1 minute 49.76 seconds, nearly five seconds in front of runner-up Framingham.

Margaret D’Innocenzo won the 200 IM in 2:02.53.

In the 100 butterfly, Moore blitzed the field by more than 4.5 seconds in 54.27, a time that earned her All-America status.

“She was absolutely outstanding,’’ said Fitzgerald. “All-American times is a big deal, it’s such a cut-and-dry thing. You either get the time or you don’t.’’

Moore again earned All-America status in the 100 backstroke winning in 54.58, again by more than four seconds.

The All-America accolades weren’t done for Andover when D’Innocenzo captured the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.72.

In the 500 free, four of the top six spots were nabbed by Andover. Korsberg took the top spot, burning the field by 15 seconds in 4:53.56. She was followed by Alison Murtagh (third), Montanna Valler (fourth), and Samantha Hall (sixth).

Moore closed out her career as the anchor of the 400 freestyle relay team that took home the top spot in the meet’s final event.

“For her to be the last one in the water in that final relay is what the whole team concept is all about,’’ said Fitzgerald.

Division 2

When Chris Payson took over as Bishop Feehan’s girls’ swim coach two years ago, he had one goal: to see the program he helped start when he was a student at the school win another state title.

Payson got his fairy-tale ending at MIT as Bishop Feehan capped an unbeaten season with the Division 2 title.

“I was actually one of two people that started the team back in the 1980s,’’ Payson said. “To have gone to Bishop Feehan as a student, and see this come full circle, it’s unbelievable.’’

Reading was the two-time defending state champion, keeping Bishop Feehan from reclaiming the crown the Shamrocks won in 2009. This time, it was Reading playing catch up, but the Rockets ultimately couldn’t close the gap. Bishop Feehan scored 363.5 points, followed by Reading (319), Bishop Stang (255.5), and Notre Dame Academy of Hingham (193).

The Shamrocks were led by freshman Marisa Reidemeister, who followed up her impressive South Sectionals debut with victories in the 200 IM (2:09.12) and 100 butterfly (58.39). She also swam the anchor leg on the winning 400-yard relay team (3:39.38).

“When the season started, we had an idea of how fast she was, but we didn’t know she was that fast,’’ said Caroline Capece, a senior who was another member of the winning relay.

Capece scored points in the 500 freestyle, the pivotal event that helped widen the point margin. Sophomore Maddie Myers (5:14.19) and Capece (5:19.02) finished third and fourth, respectively, amassing enough points to turn an 11.5-point lead into a 54.5-point advantage.

Shamrocks senior Caitlin Schofield (59.52) beat Reading’s Brenna Melanson by a hair in the 100 backstroke.