Golden Tornadoes swim team wins two
By Steve Freker
They certainly jumped back into the pool in strong fashion after a lengthy layoff with no signs of rust whatsoever. The Malden High School (MHS) Tornadoes co-ed swim team went nearly two weeks without a meet but was running on all cylinders this past week with pair of exciting wins to go to 4-1 on the season. Malden greeted the New Year with a thrilling, down-to-the-last-minute, 92-91 victory over visiting Peabody in a key Northeastern Conference (NEC) meet at the MHS Pool on January 3. On Tuesday this week, the Tornadoes squad topped visiting Danvers, 98-80.
Ochoa, Lombardi and Wang lead Malden past Peabody, 92-91
Kevin Ochoa (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly), David Lombardi (200 individual medley, 100 backstroke) and Haoxi Wang (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) all won two events in a 92-91 win over Peabody that came down to the very last event. Malden also won two relays, and first-place finishes proved to be of ultimate importance since Peabody finished in second and third place in most of the events where the Tornadoes finished on top.
Malden trailed by a point, 85-84, after Chloe Akombi (1:12.12) won the 100 breaststroke. The Tornadoes then needed a win in the final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay … and got it. Ochoa, Wang and Lombardi were joined by Abby Tang in putting up a 3:48.5 finish and sealing the meet victory for Malden. Peabody took second and third in the event, so anything less than a first-place finish would have sunk Malden.
“It was a great effort for our swimmers in that event, especially considering the pressure on us to win the last event,” MHS assistant coach Jessica Bisson said. Longtime head coach Paul DeVincentis heads up the Tornadoes swim team coaching staff.
Malden got off to a good start with a win in the 200 freestyle relay, paced by a 1:49.37 time by the team of Lombardi, Akombi, Ochoa and Wang.
Ochoa won the 200 free at 1:55.70 and Malden’s Joanne Ho (2:27.44) placed second. Lombardi (2:10.91) and Sebastian Romani (2:35) went 1-2 in the 200 IM for Malden, and Wang’s 23.88 seconds outpaced Peabody in the 50 free sprint.
Malden relinquished 1-2-3 in diving (with no facility for it at the MHS Pool) but rebounded with Ochoa’s 55.0 seconds flat win in the 100 fly. Wang won the 100 free with a time of 53.63 seconds.
Peabody took first in the next two events, but Malden kept pace when Akombi (5:62.6) finished second in the 500 free and Ryan Vasili was third. Also important was Malden’s second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, with Joanne Ho, Luis Gilbert, Vasili and Akombi at 1:56.09. Lombardi won the 100 backstroke at 59.06 seconds to bring Malden down just a point at 77-76, and Akombi’s win in the 100 breast set up the dramatic final event and meet win.
Malden wins two in a row with 98-80 victory over Danvers
Host Malden won nine events in a 98-80 win at the MHS Pool over visiting Danvers in an NEC meet. Kevin Ochoa won the 200 free (1:55.10) and 100 butterfly (54.5 seconds) and was part of the winning 200 medley relay (1:48.25) with David Lombardi, Tony Giech and Haoxi Wang. Ochoa was also part of the winning 200 free relay (1:38.06} with Lombardi, Geich and Wang. Lombardi won the 200 IM at 2:09.31 and the 100 backstroke at 58.41 seconds. Wang won the 100 freestyle at 53.12 seconds, and Giech won the 100 breast at 1:07.56.
The relay team of Abby Tang, Chloe Akombi, Sebastian Romani and Luis Gilbert placed third in the 200 medley relay at 2:07.44. Kevin Sotheparnehaisit was third in the 200 free at 2:11.22. Geich was second in the 200 IM at 2:15.75. Wang was second in the 50 free at 27.22 seconds. Vasili placed third in the 500 free at 5:52. The relay of Gilbert, Tony Luu, Vasili and Romani was third in the 200 free relay at 1:58.05. Sothparnehaisit was third in the 100 backstroke at 1:01.45. Akombi was second in the 100 breaststroke at 1:12.59.
The Malden swim team is back in action on Tuesday, January 15 on the road at Gloucester.