Boratto anchors historic win for Haverford School

Nursing a 3.5-point lead headed into the concluding 400 freestyle relay, Haverford School understood the scoring. A win (worth 64 points) in the final event would leave Phillips Andover Academy powerless to catch them. Likewise, an Andover victory would doom the Fords to second place.

The difference would come down to Fords anchor swimmer Alex Boratto, a proposition that suited Haverford just fine.

Boratto split a race-best 43.99 on his anchor leg, dragging the Fords from fourth to first at the final wall to claim the race in 3 minutes, 2.21 seconds and the school’s first Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championship title.

The squad of Brian Brennan, John Nelligan, JR Leitz and Boratto capped a historic performance, earning a Delco record in the process. Boratto hit the water fractions behind Andover and Brunswick School and more than a second-and-a-half back of leader Peddie School. But he roared home, leaving the others in his wake, outtouching Peddie by .20 and Andover by .75.

Haverford, which was third after Day 1, finished with 550.5 points, edging Andover (537) and Peddie (517). It used an astounding second day to do it, and Boratto was at the center. He won his second individual gold in the 100 backstroke in 48.01 seconds, besting his meet record from last year. Jack Deppen was eighth.

The Fords scored four in the 100 free as well, led by Brian Brennan’s victory in 44.96 seconds. Nelligan was sixth, TJ Brooks 10th and Leitz 19th. Antonino Octaviano grabbed a silver medal in the 100 breast in 55.03.

Ivan Puskovitch made it three out of four event wins for Delco, with the Episcopal Academy junior claiming the 500 free in a Delco record 4:27.35. He had taken Matt Haigh’s record from 2015 in prelims at 4:28.35.

Cole Whitsett was eighth in the 100 free, while Jack Christian (fifth) and Sam Wesley (seventh) turned in A final results in the 100 back. The team of Christian, Theodore Vadot, Puskovitch and Wesley was fifth in the 400 free relay in 3:08.33 as EA tallied 434 team points to finish fifth.

On the girls side, Episcopal Academy charged late to try and defend its title but settled for second, its 554 points trailing Penn Charter with 578. The fight back started with diving, where Wren Sablich (409.05 points) and Maia Golub (394.40) finished 1-2.

EA also went 1-2 in the 100 back, thanks to Alex Sumner and Hadley DeBruyn. Sumner took the crown in 54.19, swimming her only individual event, and DeBruyn clocked in at 56.34.

Notre Dame freshman sensation Mia Abruzzo won the 500 free in 4:51.90, doubling up on her 200 IM gold Friday. The Irish finished 14th in the team standings.

Agnes Irwin’s team of Emma Boratto, Riley Pujadas, Maddie Aguirre and Myka Thomas took fourth in the 400 free relay as the Owls earned six as a team. Pujadas was the best-placed individual by taking fourth in the 100 back, with Aguirre sixth.

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