Records may fall, but the accomplishments of the 400-yard relay team comprised of Billy Barr ’82, Dan McDonough ’82, Andy Sayko ’83 and Rocco Aceto ’82 will never be forgotten. The talented foursome becomes the first-ever swimming relay to be inducted into the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame. Their time of 3:03.53 still stands tall 25 years later. It’s hard to appreciate their feat without knowing the national 2007 public school and independent school records are so close at 3:02.41 and 3:01.80, respectively.
There is something unique about relay action, especially at the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Meet. In the frenzied atmosphere at Lawrenceville on Feb. 20, 1982, the Peddie Falcon relay posted a national record time in the preliminaries, setting up one of the most memorable finals against the previous record-holding quartet from Mercersburg Academy. Powered by future Olympian Rick Saeger, the “Burg” touched the wall first at 3:03.05, just 0.48 seconds faster than Peddie.
Swimming records vary in quality and longevity. There are school records...and then there are school records. The Barr, McDonough, Sayko, Aceto combination stood majestically alone at Peddie for eight years. In fact, between 1982 and 1990, only two teams in the nation beat that time.
Success did not stop at the Clinton I. Sprout Pool walls. Barr, a four-time Ivy League champion was inducted into the Brown University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994. McDonough, a USC All-American, was named South Carolina Swim Coach of the Year in 2007. Sayko, a Texas Longhorn All-American, was recognized by the Newark Star Ledger as one of the top Swimmers of the Decade (1980’s). Aceto, a NC State All-American, was honored in April 2007 as a new inductee to the Maine Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.
For their outstanding contributions to the sport of swimming, tenacity in the pool and commitment to excellence, these special athletes complete a foursome more than worthy of induction into the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame.