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Swimming & Diving: Girls Win, Boys Take Third as Germantown Academy Wins Easterns Combined Team Title

LANCASTER -- Germantown Academy had a major showing that included 29 top-eight finishes while competing at Franklin & Marshall College and GA for the Easterns Interscholastic Swimming and Diving competition over the weekend. Those performances powered the GA girls to their third consecutive Easterns title, while the boys finished third in the team standings. Overall, Germantown Academy was the Combined Team Champion for the second time in three years.

The Patriots closed the week with 1,134 points and 19 top-three finishes, 10 of those being gold. Head Coach Jeff Thompson said that in terms of the performance, Thompson said it was a total team effort.

"I hold them to a pretty high standard," Thompson said. "They always meet my expectations. When you swim free and points aren't a concern, it's easier to perform well. In situations like this, you might fall short of your individual goal in terms of time, but you do what you need to do for the team, and that's what our kids did all weekend long."  

The competition began in Fort Washington on Feb. 16 with girls diving, where Germantown Academy did about as well as they possibly could, with Laurel DePolo '25, Libby Brewer '25, and Maddie Evers '26 going 1-2-3 and contributing 1-7 points, one point shy of the most ever scored by GA divers at Easterns. DePolo became just the second female GA diver to win Easterns, doing so a year after Brewer became the first. 

"You can't get much better," Diving Coach Tom Henninger said. "They all had fantastic meets, they were very consistent, and had a lot of fun. We had high expectations going in and they showed their ability in the meet. It's great that on any given day, any one of them can step up."

The success carried to the first night of finals in Lancaster. Amelia Gipson '27, Isa Lieu '24, Arden Keitel '27, and Nieve Keitel '27 swam 1:46.84 in the Girls 200 Medley Relay to open the competition, followed by Emily Hamill '25 taking first in the Girls 200 Free in an All-American time of 1:47.75. Karly Boles '25 finished fourth in the event with a time of 1:50.52. On the boys side, Landon D'Ariano '24 took third (1:37.76) and Andy Zhou '24 took fourth (1:39.07). D'Ariano also touched first in the Boys 200 IM, going 1:46.29 for a Jr. 18andU Summer Champs time. 

Sarah Freeman '25 took second in the Girls 50 Free in 23.42, while Arden Keitel went 23.91 for sixth. Brandon Fleck '25 won the event for the boys, going 20.27 for a Jr. 18andU Summer Champs time. Gipson finished seventh in the Girls 100 Butterfly in 56.57. GA closed the night by winning both the girls and boys 200 Freestyle Relays. Hamill, Freeman, Arden Keitel, and Boles went 1:33.38, under All-American time, to win, while Fleck, D'Ariano, Zhou, and Matthew Truong '26 went 1:24.19, also All-American time, to win. 

Some snow on Saturday, Feb. 17 caused the boys diving portion of the competition to be delayed by two hours, but it did not seem to affect the Patriots, who placed three divers in the top six. Brendan Hodgens '24 took second place with 465.75 points, while Gavin Zivitz '25 and Nash Salomon '28 finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

"The boys showed a lot of resilience and grit," Henninger said. "Nash is a middle schooler going against high school divers, Gavin went home sick on Thursday and was battling through illness, and Brendan missed a dive in the third round and battled back. He stayed calm, knew his list, and kept plugging away. To get second place after a miss like he had, it's pretty amazing."

Night two in Lancaster went similarly to night one. Freeman and Arden Keitel went 2-4 in the Girls 100 Free in 50.61 and 51.39, respectively, while Fleck won the Boys 100 Free in 43.87, a Summer Championships time. GA had four swimmers make the Girls 500 Free final, with Hamill taking first (4:48.98 - AA), Gipson taking second (4:51.89 - AA), Camryn Jones '26 finishing sixth (5:01.53), and CC Leoni '24 taking eighth (5:08.18).

Boles finished fourth in the Girls 100 Backstroke in 55.79, while Zhou took the top spot in the Boys 100 Breaststroke in 56.23. The Girls 400 Freestyle Relay team of Hamill, Freeman, Gipson, and Boles touched second in 3:23.75, an All-American time. The Boys 400 Freestyle group of Fleck, D'Ariano, Zhou, and Andrew Thompson '25 touched first, going 3:02.61, an All-American time. 

When the dust settled, the Girls had won their third straight title with 684 points, while the Boys finished third with 450. In addition to the team honors, Fleck, who Thompson said trains over 20 hours a week and hates to lose more than he likes to win, was named the Male Athlete of the Meet.

"The meet was deep," Thompson said. "There were a lot of good teams. When you must defend a title, it's different from trying to win it the first time and being able to swim free. It's harder to protect than it is to get it. That group of senior girls has never lost a meet, and they wanted to win that 400 Free Relay, but all they needed to do was finish. The three-peat is special, and winning the Combined Team Title two out of the last three years is pretty cool." 


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