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Swimming & Diving: Different Mindset at Easterns Yields Excellent Results for Germantown Academy

LANCASTER – If Germantown Academy went into the weekend at Easterns Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships nervous about repeating about combined team champions, they were not talking about it. Leading up to the meet, Head Coach Jeff Thompson said that he felt everyone was too outcome focused last year -- the girls took first, the boys finished second, and GA won the combined team title -- and that he just wanted the teams to maximize each swim this year. 

After a weekend at Franklin & Marshall in which Taylor Grimley ’24 won Outstanding Female Swimmer of the Meet, the GA girls repeated as Easterns champions – the first time since going back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 – the boys finished third, and the teams took second in the combined scores category, Thompson was very pleased with the performances. 

“We wanted to keep our eyes off the scoreboard, not count the points and leave the meet not wanting more,” Head Coach Jeff Thompson said. “When I reflect on last year and that feeling, and then tonight, I definitely feel like we did a better job this time maximizing our abilities in the water. A few swims got away from us, but that’s sports. Overall, the team performance was outstanding.”

The day began in Fort Washington with the girl divers. The Patriots were represented by five student-athletes – Samantha Rofsky ’24, Laurel DePolo ’25, Maddie Evers ’26, Libby Brewer ’25, and Remi Sasson ’26 and turned in stellar results. Brewer and DePolo dominated the competition and took the top two spots, respectively. By doing so, Brewer became the first female diver in GA history to win Easterns, while DePolo became the first the ever win silver. Evers finished the meet with 335.80 points, which was good enough for eighth place. Rofsky finished 12th, while Sasson took 16th. Overall, the divers contributed 103 points to the team’s score. 

“Libby and Laurel were outstanding,” Head Diving Coach Tom Henninger ’07 said. “They were pretty close to having a perfect list. Maddie, I think had the grittiest meet I’ve ever seen, she had a bit of difficulty, but really bounced back and nailed the rest of her dives." 

The performances that Brewer, DePolo, Evers, Rofsky, and Sasson turned in came one day after Brendan Hodgens ’24 and Asher Sasson ’23 placed second and fifth in Boys 1mtr Dive and added 53 points to the boys’ team score. In his post-meet talk with the team, Thompson mentioned how he could not remember the last time that the swimmers got so many points from the divers. Henninger said that contributing that much to the team – something he helped do when GA male divers placed 1-2-5-7 in 2005 -- has been a goal of his since coming on board as the Diving Coach.

“It’s hard to think of what else we could have done,” Henninger said. “When I was at GA, the divers had a bunch of points. That’s what I’ve kind of been chasing, and it feels really good to contribute with that.”

Once things switched over to the pool at Franklin & Marshall, the success by the Patriots did not waver. Emily Hamill ’25 opened the night with a second-place performance in the Girls 100 Freestyle, swimming 50.41. Brandon Fleck ’25 swam in the ‘A’ Final of the Boys 100 Freestyle in 45.41 for third place, while JJ Freeman ’23 won the ‘B’ Final of the event in 46.09. 

Sarah Freeman ’25 and Camryn Jones ’26 placed sixth and eighth, respectively, in the Girls 500 Freestyle. Sarah Freeman swam the event in 5:02.86, while Jones went 5:03.85. Landon D’Ariano ’24 touched first for the boys in the event in 4:25.46, a Jr. Long Course standard. D’Ariano also took home the Fran Crippen Award for winning the 500 Freestyle. Andy Zhou ’24 took third in the race with a time of 4:31.28.

Grimley swam 53.68 to take first place in the Girls 100 Backstroke. Her time was nearly a full second faster than the Jr. Long Course standard. Karly Boles ’25 took fourth in the race, swimming 55.45. GA also took first and fourth in the Girls 100 Breaststroke thanks to Eliza Meth ’23 and Isa Lieu ’24. Meth finished the event in 1:03.63 while Lieu went 1:06.33. 

The night ended in spectacular fashion as GA won both the Boys and Girls 400 Freestyle relays. The group of Fleck, JJ Freeman, Zhou, and D’Ariano touched first in 3:01.32, a time that qualifies them for All-American consideration. Hamill, Sarah Freeman, Grimley, and Boles won for the girls, setting a Franklin & Marshall pool record, and qualifying for All-American consideration in the process. 

“Last year when I reflected, the relays are what I was really hung up on,” Thompson said. “We didn’t leave anything to be questioned this year. It’s pretty cool, I need some time to let it process. We were really good and I’m really pleased.”