By Dan Harrison
---- — The announcement of the Cape Ann League’s Male Swimmer of the Year in 2010 was a significant moment in the athletic career of Andrew Klobucher.
A freshman at the time, Klobucher didn’t take home the award — but knew that one day he would. ‘That’s going to be me in three years,’ he told himself.
Fast forward to this, his senior year, when things came full circle for the 17-year-old Klobucher. As someone who has never lost a single individual event in CAL competition, he was named the CAL’s Male Swimmer of the Year last week.
“I was so happy to receive it. I was speechless,” he said.
Klobucher’s honor was one of three that the Generals’ swim program received this winter. Hamilton-Wenham was awarded the Team Sportsmanship Award while Kristin Murray was named the CAL’s Coach of the Year for the first time in her three seasons there.
“That was a big honor. It was exciting, especially since it’s voted on by the other coaches,” said Murray. “I’m honored they would choose me.”
A two-year captain, Klobucher took first place in his two strongest events — the 100 and 200 meter freestyles — at the CAL Meet and swam a leg in the Generals’ winning 400 and 200 freestyle relays with teammates Megan Weltler, Betsy Powers and Justin Guo.
Although he’s a natural freestyle swimmer, Murray has been able to put Klobucher into whatever event she needed on any given night, depending on Hamilton-Wenham’s needs.
“Those freestyle events are just comfort for him and what he enjoys the most,” said Murray. “I could put him in any event in the meet and he would win it as he has done all (three) years I’ve have coached him. No other kid I’ve been aware of in the past few years has done that. It has to be over 70 races.”
Klobucher had an inkling pretty early on this season that his senior campaign could be something special. He not only led the Generals to a 5-1 record in CAL meets and won the league’s most distinguished male honor, but will also compete with H-W teammate Eric Baumeister at Harvard this weekend at states.
“I’m excited ... but also kind of sad because it’s really my last high school swim meet,” said Klobucher. “I’m going in and trying to enjoy it, but I also want to swim really fast.”
His swimming career won’t end on Sunday, though. Long a successful swimmer for the YMCA of the North Shore Sharks swim program, Klobucher hopes to swim next year at a Division 3 college while studying aeronautical engineering.
His smarts are just one of the many things that have impressed Murray, whose first season as H-W head coach came during Klobucher’s sophomore year.
“In the three years I’ve had him, Andrew’s kind of come out of his shell a little. He’s a quiet kid who’s definitely matured as a strong
leader,” said Murray. “He 100 percent leads by example. That’s really helpful in high school when you can lead by example, be at every
practice, support your teammates and swim wherever you’re put without arguing.”
Under her guidance, the Generals have now won the CAL Sportsmanship Award all three years that Murray’s been at the helm.
It’s something the 42-year-old takes more pride in than her own Coach of the Year honor.
“The kids know that,” she acknowledged. “Other coaches may roll their eyes at that, but I’m a mother and as a coach, I’d say that comes into play. They may not be athletes for the rest of their lives, but you want them to be good people. It’s nice to have parents of kids on other teams come up to me and say what a great group I have. I’m just as proud of that as us coming in second place.”