After placing eighth as a team last year, Ardsley/Hastings/Edgemont/Dobbs Ferry/Irvington took second at the Section 1 boys swimming championships last week.
Edgemont’s Christian Lee returns to states and is joined by fellow Panther Akira Lomvardas, a freshman newcomer to the team, plus Ardsley’s Jonathan Ma, Dobbs Ferry’s Samuel Andrews and Irvington’s Adrien Pierce and Connor Vincent.
AHEDI was strong from the first relay to the final relay — taking second in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle — and in-between with individual events.
“What a huge improvement,” coach Tobey Saracino said. “These boys are swimming out of their minds. The relays were second and second tonight and 13th for the 200 free. The most exciting part of the entire the night — we knew the guys were going to make state cuts — is after they did that time in the 400 free looking up where they are in the state and they, behind Horace Greeley, are now No. 2. That was like the icing on the top of the cake right there.”
The 200 medley relay team of Pierce, Lee, Lomvardas and Ma took second in 1:38.55, while the 400 free capped the meet off as the runner-up in 3:13.40 behind Ma, Lee, Pierce and Andrews. Both relays will compete at states.
Lee will also compete in two individual events. The eighth-grader even went into the 200 individual medley finals as the top seed. He ended up placing third.
“That was honestly stressful,” Lee said. “I was really anxious when I was waiting up there. I had a lot of pressure during the race and I actually got third place, but I dropped my time, so I’m happy with that.
“I just have to keep myself calm and focus on the race. I can’t get overwhelmed by the seniors.”
Lomvardas will compete in a relay and the 200 IM at states.
“As a coach I am absolutely thrilled,” Saracino said. “Christian Lee just swam so incredible and I’m so proud of him. Akira did fantastic in his first sectional meet. He got an idea of what this all looks like so the next three years he can come in and own it.”
Last year Lee didn’t have any Edgemont teammates with him at states, so he’s excited to add Lomvardas to the state roster.
“It will be a lot more fun because last year I had to room with Scarsdale people,” Lee said. “I’m good friends with them, but since he’s closer to my age and a freshman we can go through this together. It was really fun last year, a great experience.”
Edgemont senior Akaash Saraf competed in the section finals, while Edgemont also featured preliminaries appearances by juniors Jesse Jung and Max Li and sophomore Justin Wong.
Saraf swam his final high school meet in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke B finals. “I’m so thrilled he was able to make it back for the final day and really rejoice in everything we as a team have accomplished,” Saracino said.
The two main swimmers and leaders AHEDI graduates are Ma and Saraf.
“Their leadership is essential to this team,” Lee said. “It’s what guided us to second place. What I’ll miss about them is their humor. They’re role models to me and I’ve appreciated their presence on the team.”
While Saraf put forth quality swims for AHEDI over the years, it was his leadership that made him stand out this winter.
“Akira and Jon and Christian were really the backbone of the points, but I’m really happy that they see me as a captain and really look up to me as a leader,” Saraf said. “Whenever they need help they know they are welcome to come to me. It’s awesome that I earned their respect, especially since they are such great swimmers.”
Saraf is excited to see what Lee and Lomvardas have in store for the future considering where they are in their careers already.
“They have so much potential and I know they’re both going to states this year, always a huge accomplishment, and I know if they keep training harder they can do really, really well,” Saraf said. “Both of them are really driven.”
It was an emotional day for AHEDI as the new contender finds itself the latest team in Section 1 to be chasing mighty Horace Greeley.
“Overall I’m just over the moon on how these guys performed,” Saracino said. “And we’re only losing from this group two seniors, Jon and Akaash. Jon is a big hit, but we’re not going down and losing 16 seniors like other teams. I think we’re in a really good place to come back strong next year and just really swim very fast.”
AHEDI Boys Swim (6-2)
SECTION 1 CHAMPIONSHIPS
2nd of 25 scoring teams
Feb. 5 and 7 at Felix Festa Middle School
Of 25 scoring teams: 1) Horace Greeley 344; 2) Ardsley/Hastings/Edgemont/Dobbs Ferry/Irvington 244; 3) Fox Lane 201; 4) Clarkstown 164; 5) Scarsdale 153; 6) New Rochelle/Bronxville 148. 200 medley relay (1:40.67 state cut): 1) Horace Greeley 1:37.67; 2) Adrien Pierce, Christian Lee, Akira Lomvardas, Jonathan Ma 1:38.55. 200 freestyle (1:47.60): 8) Connor Vincent 1:49.55; 10) Samuel Andrews 1:48.22; 29) Brice Pierce 1:59.85. 200 individual medley (2:00.63): 3) Lee 1:56.82; 6) Lomvardas 2:00.49. 50 freestyle (22.19): 18) Jesse Jung 23.69. 100 butterfly (53.95): 1) Ma 50.56; 8) Lomvardas 54.50; 16) Saraf 56.28; 21) Max Li 58.22. 100 freestyle (48.76): 7) Adrien Pierce 48.53; 23) Jung 52.37. 500 freestyle (4:52.52): 4) Lee 4:46.25; 7) Vincent 4:51.15; 8) Andrews 4:52.42; 16) Brice Pierce 5:11.15. 200 freestyle relay (1:30.12): 13) Jung, Lomvardas, Andrews, Vincent 1:34.61. 100 backstroke (54.82): 1) Adrien Pierce 52.05; 2) Ma 52.32; 16) Saraf 57.84; 25) Joaquin Rivera 59.75. 100 breaststroke: (1:01.20): 30) Justin Wong 1:08.97. 400 freestyle relay (3:18.87): 1) Horace Greeley 3:12.62; 2) Ma, Lee, Adrien Pierce, Andrews 3:13.40.