No end in sight to Marblehead swimmers’ NEC dynasty

Joe McConnell | + posts

The swimming dynasty continues at Marblehead High School under the direction of the team’s legendary coach Sue Guertin, who took over in 1989 after three years as Don LeClerc’s assistant. 

Since 2006, the Magicians have owned the Northeastern Conference with the exception of the COVID year in 2020, when no scores were kept at the meets. They also won in 1992, and five more times in the early stages of the new millennium, before the current streak started 16 years ago.

But ever so humble, Guertin deflects any credit for the sustained success.

“It is not me; it’s the kids who learned how to swim in this town at a very young age, and it’s where they developed their love for the sport,” she said.

The Marblehead High School swim foursome of Cole Brooks, Logan Doody, Jack Grady and Cale Nelson, from left, set a new school record (1:42.60) while finishing first in the boys medley relay at the annual NEC Meet on Jan. 29. COURTESY PHOTO

The 2022-2023 edition of the Magicians maintained that tradition after beating rival Swampscott at the Jewish Community Center on Jan. 26, 99-66. They ended the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record, making their predecessors proud.

Some of the highlights against the Big Blue included first-place finishes for Owen Torstenson (25.19) in the 50-yard freestyle, Cole Brooks (54.05) in the 100-yard butterfly, Cale Nelson (59.66, state meet qualifier) in the 100-yard backstroke and Bella Takata (1:12.12) in the 100-yard breaststroke.

NEC meet championship rerun 

On Saturday, Jan. 28, the Marblehead swimmers validated their regular season championship during the annual NEC Meet at the Beverly YMCA, where they crushed their rivals once again.

The girls compiled 570 points to win their portion of the meet, while the boys produced 584 points. The top 16 finishers in each event were credited with points for the team. 

“It’s the first time that I can remember the boys beat the girls in the conference meet” (by one point after the diving event was calculated), Guertin said. “As a team, they accumulated 1,154 points, not counting the diving competition that was held the next day at the Peabody YMCA. But on the way home from Beverly, the team was triumphantly singing ‘We are the Champions.’”

Singing the song was something generations of Marblehead swimmers have earned the right to do throughout the past four decades.

“This ends an amazing season for our swim and dive team, with many now going on to the sectional and state championships,” Guertin added. 

Both teams finished third in diving. The girls picked up 27 more points for a total of 597, while the boys added 14 more to their total to finish with 598. The Masco girls (370) and boys (345.50) swam a distant second. 

Clementine Robbins, Song Waitekus, Finn Bergquist and Anna Coleman (1:55.81) and Sophia Weiner, Bella Takata, Madeleine Auerbach and Lucy Sabin (2:01.4) topped the ticket in the girls medley relay.  

Jack Grady, Cale Nelson, Cole Brooks and Logan Doody (1:42.60, new MHS record) finished first in the boys medley relay. Ian Chemel, Gary Podstrelov, Gregory Podstrelov and Nate Rosen (1:51.79) ended up third. 

Clementine Robbins (1:59.34, best time) and Weiner (2:04.29, best time) were the top two swimmers in the girls 200-yard freestyle. Brinleigh Callahan (2:07.66, best time) was fourth. 

Brooks (1:46.51, best time) was No. 1 in the 200-yard freestyle. Nelson (1:58.43, best time) and Chemel (2:03, best time) and William Wade (2:20.36, best time) accounted for fourth through sixth place.

Waitekus (2:15.39, best time) topped the field in the 200 IM. Bergquist (2:23.91, best time) was third, Maddy Auerbach (2:39.14, best time) fifth and Monica Pechhold (2:46.52) eighth. 

Brady Leveroni (2:13.99, best time) and Podstrelov (2:15.48) were third and fourth in the boys 200 IM. Ezra Reid (2:32.57, best time) came in eighth. 

Anna Coleman (26.56, second), Lucy Sabin (29,29, best time, ninth) and Rebecca Vaynshteyn (31:39, 13th) participated in the 50-yard freestyle. Doody (22.89, first), Torstenson (25.92, sixth), Yuri Volkov (26.37, seventh), Steven DoRosario (27.00, best time, ninth) and Armani Baez Castillo  (29.70, best time, 14th) scored points in the boys 50-yard freestyle.  

Waitekus (1:02.02, best time, first), Bergquist (1:02.17, best time, third), Emiyah Setalsingh (1:14.25, best time, seventh) and Auerbach (1:15, eighth) took part in the girls 100-yard butterfly. Brooks (53.20, best time, first), Podstrelov (57.19, best time, new state cut, fourth), Chemel (1:03.03, best time, fifth) and Quinn Sullivan (1:22.25, ninth) accumulated points in the 100-yard butterfly. 

In the girls 100-yard freestyle, Takata (56.90, best time, second), Cecelia Robbins (57.19, best time, new state cut, third) and Anna Coleman (59.93, fifth) swam for the Magicians. 

Doody (51.41, best time) and Rosen (55.29) went to the head of the class in the boys 100-yard freestyle. Torstenson (58.11) was fourth, and Volkov (58.97, best time) fifth. 

Clementine Robbins (5:21.20) touched the end of the pool first in the girls 500-yard freestyle. Callahan (5:37.45, best time, new state cut, third) and Pechhold (6:24.41, best time, eighth) wrapped up top-10 finishes. 

In the boys 500-yard freestyle, the Marblehead leaders were Greg Podstrelov (5:26.72, best time, third), Ezra Reid (6:07.21, best time, fourth) and Lucas Rosen (7:18.67, best time, ninth).  

In the girls 200-yard freestyle relay, the team of Cecelia Robbins, Bergquist, Callahan and Waitekus (1:47.61, best time) came out on top. Pechhold, Auerbach, Emiyah Setalsingh and Lucy Sabin (1:59.39) were fourth; and Aeryn Vizy, Olivia Hoover, Summer Genovese and Olivia Bloodgood (2:19.40) came in 10th. 

In the boys 200 freestyle relay, the quartet of Torstenson, Gary Podstrelov, Greg Podstrelov and Nate Rosen (1:42.21, best time) accounted for second place. Volkov, Reid, Wade and Leveroni (1:48.93) chipped in with a fourth-place finish, and Castillo, Lucas Rosen, Sullivan and Steven DeRosario (1:58.42) ninth.

Weiner (1:03.43, best time) set the pace in the girls 100-yard backstroke to account for a first-place finish. Setalsingh (1:13.47, best time) was sixth, and Rebecca Vaynshteyn (1:17.33) ninth. 

Grady (55.49, best time) was alone on top in the boys 100-yard backstroke. Nelson (59.28, best time) ended up fourth, Leveroni (1:01.02) fifth and Wade (1:20.03, best time) eighth. 

Takata (1:08.48, best time) recorded a first-place finish in the girls 100-yard breaststroke. Cecelia Robbins (1:14.55, best time, new state cut) was third, and Sabin (1:31.68) 13th. 

Greg Podstrelov (1:08.02, best time) and Nate Rosen (1:10.82, best time) occupied the top two spots in the boys 100-yard breaststroke. Sullivan (1:26.17) was eighth, and Lucas Rosen (1:29.28, best time) 10th.

The foursome of Coleman, Weiner, Takata and Clementine Robbins (3:52.67, best time) finished on top in the girls 400-yard freestyle relay. Cecelia Robbins, Vaynshteyn, Pechhold and Callahan (4:09.99) were fourth. 

Doody, Nelson, Grady and Brooks (3:37.70) teamed up to come out on top in the boys 400-yard freestyle relay. Leveroni, Chemel, Wade and Torstenson (3:53.72) took home a second-place finish. 

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