EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 17, 2013

Andover's Awiszus saves best meet for last, wins two state titles

By Christopher Smith
csmith@eagletribune.com

---- — BOSTON — Maeve Awiszus had never won an individual event at the state swim meet during her first three years at Andover High so her goal throughout her senior season was to win just one.

She did one better yesterday, tying for first in the 500 freestyle (5:05.72) and winning the 100 backstroke (59:14).

Awiszus was the lone local winner to win an event at the Division 1 meet. She helped Andover — which entered yesterday’s competition having won four straight Division 1 team titles — to a second-place finish with 278.5 points. The Golden Warriors finished well behind first-place Chelmsford (381.5 points).

“She has been an All-American with the kids that graduated (last year),” Andover coach Marilyn Fitzgerald said about Awiszus. “But because they were seniors and so powerful, she (Awiszus) never really had the chance to (take) her first place. Because first of all, she never got to swim the 500 before, which has been one of her favorite events.

“So one of her goals this year was to swim the 500 at sectionals and states,” Fitzgerald added. “To swim it and win it — today was her day. And she did save the best for last. Final meet, two first-places. Her goal all year was to win one event at states and she turned around and one two.”

Awiszus will swim at Central Connecticut State University next year.

“It’s just really exciting to end on a positive note,” she said. “My best event is the 100 back. But the 500 was something different and it was exciting to win that.”

BEST FRIENDS

Awiszus’ best friend is Andover senior Soojin Kim who finished second in the 200 freestyle (1:56:15).

Kim was seeded fourth in the 200 entering the day.

“My goal for all my events was just to place where I was seeded so to move up was absolutely exciting,” Kim said.

Kim is waiting to hear back early decision from Bates College. She was very excited by how well her good friend Awiszus swam.

“I know how much she wanted it,” Kim said. “I’m so proud of her. She definitely pushed a lot of girls this year so she was a huge contributor to the team.

“We met freshman year through the swim team,” Kim added. “We were good friends then but junior year something clicked and we became best friends. I know this sounds a little cliche but when she’s swimming, it feels like I’m swimming. And when she wins, it feels like a win for me, too.”

SLINEY TAKES SECOND

Haverhill sophomore Michaela Sliney has been diving since she was 7 years old and all that hard work is starting to pay off. She scored a 489.90 yesterday to take second at the Division 1 meet.

“I was hoping for second or third,” said Sliney, who broke 500 once this season. “It’s really awesome. I got fourth last year.”

Sliney loves the University of Notre Dame and her goal is to dive for the Fighting Irish someday.

ANDOVER’S REIGN ENDS

Andover’s reign ended at four straight state titles with its second-place finish.

But still, second is sweet considering last year’s senior class had 14 swimmers, including five All-Americans.

“Those 14 girls scored 238 of our points last year,” Fitzgerald said. “So we knew going in that to make up those kind of points would be amazing. So to end up finishing like this, it’s been almost like a fairy-tale season. We have so many freshmen on this team. And here today scoring were only two seniors. So that bodes well for us.”

Division 1 State Swim Meet

Team results: 1. Chelmsford 381.5; 2. Andover 278.5; 8. Haverhill 145; 10. Methuen 55

Local top 8 finishers:

200 medley relay: 5. Haverhill (Cali Aramian, Mikayla Sargent, Emily Brown, Meghan Broderick) 1:56.22; 200 freestyle: 2. Soojin Kim (Andover) 1:56:15; 4. Alison Murtagh (Andover) 1:57.47; 200 IM: 4. Kelly Lennon (Methuen) 2:12.20; 6. Rachel Landry (Andover) 2:14.57; 7. Shannon Fitzsimmons (Andover) 2:15.65; 100 butterfly: 8. Emilee Nason (Andover) 1:01.54; 100 freestyle: 5. Kim (Andover) 54.55; 500 freestyle: 1. Maeve Awiszus (Andover) 5:05.72; 1. Jennifer Day (Chelmsford) 5:05.72; 3. Lennon (Methuen) 5:09.80; 4. Alison Murtagh (Andover) 5:11.06; 7. Caroline Murtagh (Andover) 5:20.45; 200 freestyle relay: 7. Haverhill (Anna Pearse, Michaela Sliney, Tess Tarpy, Maggie Franklin) 1:45.66; 8. Andover (Nara Norgil, Anna Carroll, Landry, Morgan Starkweather) 1:46.83; 100 breaststroke: 3. Fitzsimmons (Andover) 1:10.75; 100 backstroke: 1. Awiszus (Andover) 59:14; 5. Starkweather (Andover) 1:03.24; 6. Cali Aramian (Haverhill) 1:03.59; Diving: 2. Michaela Sliney (Haverhill) 489.90; 100 breaststroke: 3. Fitzsimmons 1:10.75; 400 freestyle relay: 4. Andover (Landry, Fitzsimmons, Kim, Awiszus) 3:41.36; 6. Haverhill (Franklin, Brown, Broderick, Aramian) 3:46.61