Ashland Swimmers Abby Pecze & Alex GuMar 02, 2021 08:55AM ● By Christopher Tremblay
Ashland swimmers Abby Pecze, a sophomore, and Alex Gu, a senior, both have had successful siblings who have swam for the Clockers. And while their brothers and sisters have accomplished amazing feats in the pool Pecze, and Gu want nothing more than to erase those milestones and etch their own name in the Ashland record books.
Gu’s brother Ryan graduated five years ago and was a runner-up at both the Sectional and State Tournaments swimming in the 50 and 100 free and went on to have an illustrious collegiate career capturing an NCAA Championship.
Pecze is the final of numerous family members to swim for Ashland her brother Alex graduated last year and was the Division 2 South Sectional Champion in the 100-backstroke, while finishing as runner-up in both the backstroke and 200 freestyle at the State Tournament. He was also named the Tri-Valley League MVP.
Although both athletes have come to love the sport of swimming, they took different routes getting into the pool for the first time.
When the Gus were younger, their parents made them try out different sports and according to Alex, swimming was good for both boys.
On the other side of the pool, the Peczes were a family that seemed to always be in the water. Not only was her dad a swimmer, but everyone of her siblings were splashing about in the pool as well, so it was natural that the youngest would also find her sea legs.
Gu took private lessons for a few years before moving over to the MetroWest Stingrays, a club team out of Framingham. The younger Gu swims the same events as his brother, not because his brother did those events, but because he likes swimming the 50 and 100 freestyle.
“I prefer the sprint event as distance events are too painful and you need to pace yourself really well,” Gu said. “I’d rather just go out and give it everything that I’ve got over a shorter distance.”
Although he never got to swim on the high school level with his older brother, the younger Gu is looking toward his senior campaign to surpass his brother’s school records.
“This year I would like to go out and swim a 21 second 50 and a 47 second 100; if I can do that, I’ll be right around Ryan’s records,” the senior swimmer said. “My swimming is good, but I need to work on the smaller details like my dive and my flips in order to cut my times. They are not problematic issues, so I should be able to decrease my times.”
According to Clocker Coach Anne Meisner, although there probably not a competitiveness between the two as teammates would have as they are five years apart, I’m sure there is something there between them as brothers.
After jumping into the pool mainly because of her siblings, Pecze joined the Framingham Frogs around the age of 7 and then moved onto a USA club swim team where she realized that as she got older which events were really for her. The 100 butterfly is her favorite and her best time in the event is 1:03.00. In addition to the butterfly, the youngest Pecze also enjoys participating in the 500 free (5:30.55) and the 200 IM (2:22.72).
“I was not exactly the fastest 14-year-old when I got too high school, but having my siblings on the team helped me out,” she said. “Prior to high school I knew that I would eventually be on the team, so I just worked hard. My club team pushed me to be a better swimmer although it was very different than high school. In club you’re not exactly racing against anyone and high school is much more competitive.”
While Pecze may not have originally been one of the faster swimmers she defiantly used her hard work in the pool to her benefit. Although only a sophomore for the Clockers, her times in the 500 freestyle and 200 IM are both Ashland records. In fact, the old 200 IM record used to belong to her sister Jaclyn.
“I was defiantly trying to break her record. As my sister I wanted to rub it in her face that I took her record as a joke,” Pecze said. “Jaclyn was there timing when I broke her record, but to be honest the 200 IM was not really her event so she should probably care less that I broke her record; it’s something that we just laugh about now.”
During the race Pecze doesn’t really pay attention to the clock as it would slow her down, but as soon as she touched the wall and looked up, she knew right away that the record was hers.
“Abby is a true competitor and has a competitive edge that you just can’t teach,” the Ashland Coach said. “Once she gets into the pool, she is looking to do her best and is disappointed if she doesn’t.”
With covid-19 still surrounding all high school athletics, the Clocker swimmers, like every other athlete, is glad to be able to actually have a season.
“I was hoping that we’d have the season at the regular time, but because with the schools closed, we couldn’t get into the pools. It’s sad in a way as its my senior year and you’re always looking forward to it so having no post-season will be tough but at least we have a season.”
Pecze felt the same way as Gu but being only a sophomore, she has two more years to hopefully swim in another Sectional and/or State Tournament.
“Not having any cuts for the Sectionals and the States is sad; so, I’ll have to go after individual goals throughout the season,” she said. “I’m going to have to mainly go after dropping my times and breaking some more school records.”
Over the long-term Pecze s hoping to capture the school record for the 100-backstroke.
Swimming virtual this season is also going to be a challenge for the Clocker swimmers.
“I’d like to know what my competition is doing as it pushes me and keeps me motivated,” Pecze said. “Not being able to see how my competition is doing then I’m just going to have to go out and swim my race and hope my times improve.”
Gu, who unfortunately does not seem to have some of his best times during the Sectionals and States, is taking the same approach as his teammate: go out and do the best you can despite the circumstances.
“For some reason I don’t seem to do well in the bigger events. I’m not sure if it’s just mental, but my family is all supportive and looking to help me improve,” he said. “Besides swimming is about being with friends and having fun while doing something you all like. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a different with covid as we will not be able to get together and have our typical past dinners and team bonding.”
Once the season begins in late February it will definitely be one in which all the swimmers have never encountered, but it will be a season, nonetheless. If Abby and Alex are hoping to one-up their siblings in the pool, there are going to have to do it with no competitors swimming beside them to push them. Instead, they’ll have to do it with their brothers or sisters in their minds as they swim. Whether they accomplish those new records or not it will be a season they should never forget.