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Bromfield beats AMSA in first pandemic-proofed meet of season

The Bromfield swim team kicked off its season on Saturday with an 88-82 win against the Advanced Math and Science Academy (AMSA) of Marlborough. The meet was a unique one, with the teams swimming at separate times, girls and boys scoring as one team, and a quieter than usual pool deck due to a lack of spectators and cheering.

“It’s unique, but it’s working,” said Coach Amy Gothorpe in reference to the new format. Swimmers from AMSA swam with members of their own team at 2:30 p.m., and Bromfield athletes hit the pool four hours later. Each meet was overseen by two officials from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, MIAA. Timers recorded the athletes’ performances, and they were compared after both teams had completed their competitions.

The Bromfield team is a coop, open to Bromfield students in grades 7-12 and to grades 9-12 from the neighboring towns of Littleton, Ayer, and Shirley.

Ayer Shirley Regional High junior Lorelei Folger won both her events, the 100-yard butterfly and the 200 freestyle. In the former, her time of 1 minute, 1.77 seconds set a school record. Her time just edged out that of current Littleton senior Ella Church, who swam 1:01:82 last year. Folger is new to the school team this year, having previously competed for the club team Greenwood Swimming.

Another notable performance came from rookie Eli Labbe, a Bromfield sophomore who took up swimming this fall. Saturday’s meet was his first, and Gothorpe highlighted his time of 28:27 in the 50 freestyle.

Three sophomores from the Bromfield team set personal records Saturday. Alex Myles swam 28:21 in the 50 freestyle, Jack Babcock clocked 1:14:34 in the 100 butterfly, and Sierra Quinty swam 1:22:20 for the 100 breaststroke.

Unfortunately, fewer people than usual witnessed the team’s first win of the season since MIAA guidelines preclude spectators from attending meets.

Athletes who stood masked on the pool deck could clap, but not cheer, for their teammates as they competed, making for a much more subdued experience. “It’s very odd to not be cheering,” said Gothorpe. “Swimming is such a social event and to not have all that noise in the natatorium—it’s very different.”

This year, due to pandemic changes to the sport, boys and girls scored as one team and, because AMSA does not have diving equipment at their facility, neither team participated in diving events.

The swim team will compete again on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 2:30 p.m. against Tantasqua Regional High School.

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