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Malden High Co-ed swim pulls out a close one over Melrose Raiders, 90-80

PHOTO #2_Joyce Zhoun 200 IM-1-2-2
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Tornados stay undefeated at 7-0 with high-intensity victory over next-door, non-league rival

  How close a rival has Melrose High become to the Malden High swim team?

Well, they are the only team to have defeated Malden in the past three years, for starters.

  Melrose is also right next door to the Tornados, its only non-league opponent with which is shares a border.

   The clincher? Both Malden High and Melrose High call the Barry Fitzpatrick Pool home! Melrose rents the MHS pool for its practices and meets for the past several years,

    All that may have factored into the intensity Wednesday as Malden and Melrose went splash-for-splash in a pitched battle — at both teams’ home pool— that was not decided until the final event, when Malden took a key second and third-place finish in the 400-freestyle relay.

     With the win, head coach Jess Bisson’s Malden squad stayed perfect for the season at 7-0. Coach Bisson was pleased with the response Malden made in its closest meet of the year.

    “It was really a great meet. We had to earn this win,” Coach Bisson said. “The atmosphere and intensity were great for our kids to compete in today. It was back-and-forth and it went down to the final event. Just a fantastic day for our final home meet of the season.”

    Being the final home meet for Malden it was also Senior Night for the Tornados’ nine members of the Senior Class of 2023: Tri-captains Liam Bloom, Nathan Nguyen and Wara Ramirez Morales as well as Leo Chen, Nimon Jusufi, Kyle Lee, Steven Leung, Ryan Li and Allen Xiao. Photo coverage from the event will appear in next week’s January 27 Advocate.

    This was the theme of the day for Malden: Pick up points in the second and third spots in the finishes as they obviously added up.

     For the first time all season, a Malden opponent won more events than the Tornados. In fact, Melrose was in first-place in 8-of-11 events. Malden won just 3 events: Both of the sprints, the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, both by senior captain Nathan Nguyen along with the leadoff 200 medley relay.

    Nguyen took the 100 freestyle with a time of 55.99 seconds. Teammate Xiaode “David” Xu, a sophomore, took an extremely valuable second-place finish at 56.40 seconds. Seventh-grader Sophie Tran was fourth at 1:03.49.

  In the 50 freestyle, Nguyen won it at 25.69 seconds. Again, Malden went 1-2 in the event as Nimon Jusufi finished at 26.13 seconds. Junior Stanley Yip was fifth at 30.65 seconds.

  Malden also won the 200-medley relay with the foursome of seniors Nathan Nguyen, Kyle Lee and Liam Bloom and sophomore Xaiode “David” Xu coming in first at 1:55.92. Picking up valuable third-place points was the relay team of Joslyn Nguyen, Hailey Tran, Sophie Tran and Tiffany Pham at 2:08.56.

    Finishing fourth was Christina Mui, Sophia Huynh, Danielle Harrington and Justina Li, at 2:47.15.

    In that first event of the day, Malden went ahead 10-4 and never gave up the lead again, though Melrose would keep it close throughout, trailing at various junctures, 25-21, and then by four points again (the closest it would get) at 42-38.

    A key event for Malden was the 200 freestyle, where Melrose won it, but Malden rolled 2-3-4 finish to outscore the Raiders, 9-7 in the event overall. Tornados Hailey Tran was second (2:26.05), Steven Leung third (2:21.06) and James Zhou fourth (2:50.65).

    Malden went 3-4-5 in the 200 individual medley with Xu third (2:31.20), Sophie Tran fourth (2:36.22) and Joslyn Nguyen fifth (2:50.65),

    Kyle Lee picked up a big second-place finish in the 100 butterfly to get some valuable Malden points (1:08.16). Leung was fourth at 1:19.07.  Another key second-place finish came from Bloom (6:10.52) in the 500 freestyle which helped keep Melrose at bay and Malden in a comfortable 12-point lead in the meet at 61-49 Tiffany Pham was fourth (7:26.17) and Joyce Zhou fifth (7:29.15).

   Kyle Lee, Stanley Yip, Joao Victor Santos, and Xiaode Xu teamed up for what may have been the most vital second-place finish of the meet, a 1:52.70 and second place in the 200-freestyle relay.

    Malden also took third at 2:08.55 (Hailey Tran, Joslyn Nguyen, Tiffany Pham, Sophie Tran) and fourth at 2:24.57 (Claudia Hernandez Escobar, Larissa Granja RetameroLanyu Liang, Leo Chen).

    Malden senior Allen Xiao had his best finish and personal best time of 1:14.28 in the 100 backstroke, still another valuable second-place. Tri-captain Ramirez Morales was third (1:25.00) and senior Ryan Li fifth (1:41.18). That gave Malden 9-7 points win in the event, as Melrose went first and fifth in the event as the Tornados kept the double-digit lead heading into final event, the 400 free relay.

      Malden went 2-3 in the final event, the 400-freestyle relay, to clinch the meet victory as Melrose banged their eighth single event victory. An official meet win-clinching second-place by the relay of Bloom, Joslyn Nguyen, Ramirez Morales and Nathan Nguyen led to a 4:18 time. Taking third for the final Malden points at 4:38 was Leung, James Zhou, Allen Xiao and Nimon Jusufi.

     “The competition was excellent throughout, we really responded to the challenge as a team,” Coach Bisson said. “Really proud of our team today.”


Malden competes in GBL League Meet next week

  Malden will be swimming at the Greater Boston League (GBL) League Meet next week on Thursday, January 26 at Medford High School Pool at 4:00 p.m.

 The Tornados will conclude the regular season on Saturday, February 4 at 7:00 p.m. down the street at Mystic Valley Charter School Eagles at the Bayrd Natatorium.

PHOTO #1 Liam Bloomjpg
Senior tri-captain Liam Bloom competes in the 500-freestyle event. (Advocate by Henry Huang)
Senior Kyle Lee won the 500-freestyle event against Somerville.
PHOTO #3 KyleLee-2
Senior Kyle Lee comes out of the pool after his second event for Malden High against Somerville.
PHOTO #2_Joyce Zhoun 200 IM-1-2-2
Junior Joyce Zhou swims in the 200 Medley Relay for Malden High.

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