By Chuck Frye
---- — CAMBRIDGE — Some teams would see the loss of 40 potential points as a hindrance. Marilyn Fitzgerald saw it as an opportunity.
When the aftereffects of the stomach flu took top seed Ashlee Korsberg out of her two individual events at yesterday’s Division 1 state championships, holding her only to relay competition, the Andover swimming coach didn’t panic.
“It’s an opportunity for someone to step up,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s the basis of what makes this team successful.”
Once again, the system worked as the Warriors pummeled the competition to win their fourth straight title.
Finishing with 428 points, Andover far outdistanced MVC rival and runner-up Chelmsford (282.5 points).
“The kids that had to make up Ashlee’s points, I look at it as if it were an opportunity for them to swim a personal best time, to move up a place,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s the thing that parents know when they entrust their daughters to us for the team, that they will get those opportunities.”
After jumping out to an early lead by winning the 200-yard medley relay, the Warriors showed the lengths they would go to triumph as, led by standout Maggie D’Innocenzo, finishing 1-2-4-6 in the 200 freestyle.
“The 200 free (result) was a bit of a surprise,” said D’Innocenzo, who also won the 100 breaststroke title. “There was a false start in the heat before so we had to start early. But getting in and winning the relay then doing well in the freestyle was awesome. The team was getting up and getting after it. It’s definitely the start we wanted.”
Ashlee Korsberg battled to help Andover win the 400 freestyle relay and place second in the 200 free relay, then the teamwork took over.
“I went all-out on my relay splits and everybody really stepped up,” said Korsberg.
Sister Alexa Korsberg placed in a pair of events as did Alison Murtagh, Emma Cammann and Maeve Awiszus, and the rout was on.
“We’re the Class of 2013 and this is our 13th state championship,” said D’Innocenzo. “Lucky No. 13.”
It helps to plan ahead, part one: As is tradition, after the trophy presentation, Fitzgerald and diving coach Becky Pierce plunged into Blodgett Pool to celebrate the victory.
“In the morning, I’m packing up those ‘maybe’ clothes (to change into) and the towel,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s awesome, and then to get to use them is even better.
“I’m 70 years old, and I feel right now that if you told me I’m not 16, it would be a lie.”
It helps to plan ahead, part two: With 14 seniors on this year’s team, winning the title was an emotionally fulfilling experience for Fitzgerald, but she still had thoughts on 2013.
“I’m sure the kids (coming back) are already trying to figure out where they’re going to land. They’re looking at that relay team saying there’s three seniors there. Which spot is going to be mine?”
Good day for locals: Led by a pair of titles from Sarah Broderick, Haverhill came in sixth as a team with 174 points.
Kelly Lennon (second in the 200 IM and fourth in the 500 freestyle) and Rachelle Gauvin (second in the 100 backstroke) paced Methuen to ninth place.
Jacqueline Russolillo had a pair of top-six finishes for 13th place Central Catholic.
Division 1 state meet
agateText:at Harvard University
Team scores: 1. Andover 428, 2. Chelmsford 282.5, 3. Acton-Boxboro 253, 4. Framingham 225.5, 5. Needham 185, 6. Haverhill 174, 9. Methuen 96, 13. Central Catholic 47, 21. North Andover 14
200 medley relay: 1. Andover (Maeve Awiszus, Maggie D’Innocenzo, Alexa Korsberg, Emma Cammann) 1:49.66, 3. Haverhill 1:52.22; 200 freestyle: 1. D’Innocenzo (A) 1:51.66, 2. Al. Korsberg (A) 1:56.64, 4. Alison Murtagh (A) 1:58.23, 6. Soojin Kim (A) 1:59.48; 200 IM: 2. Kelly Lennon (M) 2:11.95, 4. Nadja Arifovic (A) 2:16.48, 7. Shannon Fitzsimmons (A) 2:17.97; 50 freestyle: 1. Sarah Broderick (H) 23.71, 4. Cammann (A) 24.70, 5. Jacqueline Russolillo (CC) 25.04; Diving: 2. Deborah Daly (A) 479.60, 4, Michaela Sliney (H) 417.70, 7. Leigh Freeman (H) 390.80; 100 butterfly: 4. Al. Korsberg (A) 59.93, 6. Russolillo (CC) 1:00.31; 100 freestyle: 3. Cammann (A) 53.64, 4. Awiszus (A) 54.33, 8. Kim (A) 55.74; 500 freestyle: 2. Alison Murtagh (A) 5:09.28, 4. Lennon (M) 5:12.17, 5. Montanna Valler (A) 5:13.80, 6. Caroline Murtagh (A) 5:13.92; 200 freestyle relay: 2. Andover 1:41.15; 100 backstroke: 1. Broderick (H) 57.58, 2. Rachelle Gauvin (M) 57.68, 3. Awiszus (A) 58.46, 8. Cali Aramian (H) 1:02.83; 100 breaststroke: 1. D’Innocenzo (A) 1:05.67, 8. Fitzsimmons (A) 1:12.13; 400 freestyle relay: 1. Andover (Awiszus, Al. Korsberg, Ashlee Korsberg, D’Innocenzo) 3:33.16, 4. Haverhill 3:42.39