Swimming and Diving (Boys): Varsity vs. New England Championship (03/02/24 12:00 PM)

Event Details

Written By Coach Mark Spencer

The 2023-2024 team will go down as a dream team of sorts.  The team achieved three school records and took 3rd place at this year’s Division 1 NE prep school championship held at Andover on March 2-3rd.  To put this astonishing feat in perspective, it’s been 10 years since a boys’ school swim record has been broken.  Back then the record holders held familiar names like Smachlo, Smith, Hrabchak, and Lam – all of whom would go on to swim at Division 1 colleges, and one who would just miss making the Olympic team by just a few spots.  Now, the record board will display the names of Tipton, Wareham, Migliarina, Gjivoje, and Hill.

To score over 300 points at a championship meet means that this truly was a team effort.  13 out of the 20 swimmers scored points for the Deerfield squad. Toler Poole began the scoring by collecting bronze, placing 3rd in the Diving Championships, and gaining the team 16 points. The very first scoring event for the swimming finals is the 200 Medley Relay.  Deerfield was seeded first in this event by .01 seconds over Exeter and the foursome of Tipton, Wareham, Migliarina, and Hill held true in earning a gold medal win with a time of 1:31:06, eclipsing the decade-old Deerfield record of 1:31.71.  In the 200 Free, Deerfield had three swimmers make it into the finals, seniors Levi Tipton (4th) and Ben Levai (12th), and freshman Edwin Chu (7th).  In the 200 Individual Medley, junior Giulio Migliarina would drop 7 seconds from his season-best time to achieve his personal best time of 1:50.48 and secure bronze in the race.  Giulio would also later on once again achieve a personal best time while swimming in the 100 Fly going 48.80 and placing 4th in the event, and leaving him just .38 seconds from Deerfield’s record.  Leon Kong would join Migliarina in finalling in the IM taking 15th place with a time of 1:57.71.  Unluckily, senior Ryan Amundson would miss the cut for the IM finals by just one place but still achieved an amazing season and personal best time of 2:00.35 having only trained in this event for three weeks!

In the sprint freestyle races, seniors Will Hill and Vedran Gjivoje shined.  Will’s times of 20.47 in the 50 Free and 45.69 in the 100 Free would set him up to eventually place third in both events.  Vedran also accomplished season-best times in both events going 21.68 (10th) and 47.87 (13th) respectively in the 50 and 100 Free.  Not to be outdone, Daniel Wareham went a personal best time of 47.35 in the 100 Free to take 11th place.  Daniel’s main event though is the breaststroke and there he accomplished a feat not seen in a decade.  On Saturday during preliminaries, he went a record-breaking 56.1 and then he came back on Sunday and broke his own Deerfield record taking silver and going 55.66 (2nd).  Leon Kong was right behind him with a personal best time of 57.58.  Unfortunately, because his swimsuit had too many logos on it that were over 2.5 inches in length, he was ultimately disqualified from the breaststroke finals race in an unprecedented call made after the completion of the race.  (Had this swim count in our point total, the 2023-2024 Deerfield team would have earned its second consecutive 2nd place finish at New England’s eclipsing eventual 2nd place finisher Exeter by 5 points.) Still, that does not take away from Leon’s awesome performance or the ability he showed in his bronze-level swim. Our third breaststroke finalist, HD Lee, just missed the ‘A’ cut by one position and eventually would take 10th place with his season-best time of 59.31.  Well done, Captain!

Besides the record-breaking moments, another major highlight of the day was the 500 Freestyle event with Deerfield getting all three of the allowable swimmers into the final – two in the top final (A) and one in the consolation final (B).  Rookie freshman, Edwin Chu, went a season-best 4:45.36 (6th) dropping 10 seconds from his prior season’s best time.  Ryan Amundson, amazingly, dropped 13 seconds to eventually place 8th with a time of 4:48.86 (he went 4:47.25 in prelims!).  However, not to be outdone, Ben Levai once again showed what a water polo player turned new swimmer (he’s only in his second year of competitive swimming) can achieve with dedication and hard work.  His finals time of 4:55.78, a whopping 17-second drop since his personal best time from Easterns two weeks prior, scored him 14th place.  Ben would also drop another three seconds in the last leg of the 400 free relay going 47.5!

The impact of the new Deerfield swimmers on our season can not be overlooked.  Besides freshman Edwin Chu scoring points in distance races throughout the season, as well as, at Easterns and New England’s, new 10th grader John Comite – who has come to be known on the team as “the comet” – consistently scored points for the team in the 100 Fly and 100 Back events.  At New England’s, John achieved personal best times in his events going 53.85 (13th) and 54.75 (13th), in the 100 Fly and 100 Back respectively.  (As with Taylor Swift, it seems that 13 is John’s lucky number!)   Following right behind John in the backstroke in 14th place was second-year swimmer, Magnus Selvig going a personal best time of 55.16.   Magnus also achieved a personal best time in the 50 free speeding to a time of 22.67 seconds.  The main attraction in the 100 Backstroke for Deerfield was senior Levi Tipton, whose preliminary time of 50.49 was only .02 seconds away from another Deerfield record.  He once again came close to breaking the record on Sunday, going 50.55 and securing a silver medal.

The third Deerfield record of the day came with the 200 Freestyle squad of Tipton, Gjivoje, Migliarina, and Hill.  They went an amazing time of 1:23.36 and just missed out on another gold medal by .08 seconds, breaking the old Big Green record of 1:24.13 by almost a full second!  Will’s final leg time of 19.90 is the first sub-20-second 50 free time seen at Deerfield in a long time!  Still, that silver place finish, along with the Medley Relays’ gold medal finish earned all of those swimmers All-American qualifying status (a top 100 time in the nation).  Additionally, the trio of Migliarina, Wareham, and Hill also achieved All-American consideration times in their individual events.

All the rest of the 2023-2024 squad in attendance – Harry Holtz, Keith Gagnon, John Woo, Beacon Atornphatai, Patrick Zhang, Ashish Sharma – were great in their swims, achieving even more personal best times.  The season culminated in the 400 Freestyle Relay team’s 4th place finish, rounding out a season filled with personal best times and outstanding performances.  As the coach, I am incredibly proud of the team’s accomplishments.  This season will be remembered as a remarkable chapter in the school’s swimming history, thanks to the hard work and dedication of each team member.

Click here for complete meet results.