Exeter girls swim & dive repeats as New England champ

Big Reds claim 18th New England crown; boys finish second overall.

Brian Muldoon
March 4, 2024
Phillips Exeter Academy Swimming

Exeter girls swimming and diving captured the 18th title in program history. 

The Exeter girls varsity swim and dive team was crowned the New England champion for the second straight year and capped an undefeated season at the Division I Championships this past weekend. Big Red sat atop the standings by a 50-point margin to runner-up Andover amongst a talented 12-team field. This marks the 18th New England title for the girls program.

Exeter boys swimming also capped an outstanding season, finishing 8-1 on the year and claiming second place overall at the Division I Championships. The boys kept an impressive streak of their own alive as they have now placed in the top four in 32 of the past 33 New England championship meets. Ethan Guo ’25 earned a share of the annual Babcock Award, an award voted on by coaches to outstanding student-athletes who best exemplify the values of New England Prep School Swimming and Diving. He is the first Big Red student-athlete to win the award since Andrew Benson ’20 in 2020.

"People often don't realize what a team sport high school swimming and diving is," said Exeter head coach Don Mills. "It's the collective effort from the team that wins meets — our divers, our relays, our kids that make it to B finals and move up two spots. It's the camaraderie and encouragement you see every day in practice. We are fortunate to have kids that are fast and buy into our program."

Sunday’s finals got off to a spectacular start for Big Red as Mena Boardman ’26, Audrey Zhang ’24, Brianna Cong ’25 and Sophie Phelps ’25 set a pool and meet record in the 200 medley relay with an All-American time of 1:42.81 in the first event of the day.

Boardman would help guide Big Red to their second straight title, following the medley relay win with a trio of dominant, record-setting swims. Boardman set a pool, meet and New England record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.22, dusting her opponents by 1.5 seconds before breaking her own pool, meet, and New England record she set during Saturday’s prelims in the 100 butterfly when she touched the wall at 51.62, nearly three seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

Boardman finished off her day by teaming up with Cong, Phelps and Chloe Meyer-Blohm ’27 to set another pool, meet and New England record in the 400 freestyle relay with an All-American time of 3:24.70, besting the heat by an incredible seven seconds.

While Boardman was outstanding, Big Red received contributions from everyone on the roster. Brianna Cong ’25 earned a pair of second-place finishes in the 100 butterfly (54.23) and 100 backstroke (56.34), while Sophie Phelps ’25 added a second-place finish in the 100 freestyle (51.58) and earned a third-place finish in the 200 individual medley (2:05.05).

Gene Sunthornrangsri ’26 added a second place in the 200 freestyle (1:54.57) and swam to a third-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:01.82). Chloe Meyer-Blohm ’27 claimed third in the 50 freestyle (24.03) and fourth in the 100 freestyle (52.56). The 200 freestyle relay team of Meyer-Blohm, Sunthornrangsri, Vedika Amin ’24 and Audrey Zhang ’24 posted a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 3:09.26.  

On the boys side, Nick Limoli ’26 got Big Red off on the right foot as he earned first place and New England Diving Champion honors in the diving portion of the meet, which was held on Wednesday.

On Sunday, it was Guo who led the way. Guo earned a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle, touching the wall at 1:37.23, while also finishing first overall in the 100 backstroke with an All-American time of 49.07. Guo also teamed up with Michael Yang ’24, Lang Gou ’25 and Rudd Day ’25 to earn a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay, swimming to an All-American time of 1:31.62. He also rallied with Winston Wang ’25, Wayne Zheng ’26 and Day to turn in a third-place finish with an All American time of 1:23.38 in the 200 freestyle relay.

Day added a second-place finish in the 500 freestyle (20.52) and a fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle (46.05) while Michael Yang ’24 swam to a fourth-place finish in the 100 yard breaststroke, touching at 57.70. Zheng, Gou, Yang and Wang closed out the championship weekend with a third-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, posting a time of 3:09.26.