That’s all the time Alex Witkin, 13, had to rest between his Montgomery County Swim League Divisional meet and the Potomac Valley Swimming Age Group Championships Saturday session.
“I went to Subway, then I went home and rested for 15 minutes, and then we had to come here [to the PVS meet],” Witkin, a member of Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club and MCSL’s Olney Mill, said.
Curl-Burke’s Katie Ledecky, 12, didn’t even have time to go home. She went straight from lunch to the Fairland Aquatic Center in Laurel, where the PVS meet is being held.
“I went to Chicken Out for lunch, got here, and then I sat in the car for a bit,” Ledecky said.
Many of the 141 swimmers who participated in today’s PVS Age Group Championships came from morning summer league divisional meets. For many of the area’s summer leagues, including the MCSL, Prince-Mont Swim League, Old Dominion Swim League and Prince William Swim League, this weekend was a showdown between the teams in each division. A strong performance at divisionals can elevate a team in the standings and push it into a higher division next season. So the stakes were high, and the swimmers knew it.
“I really wanted to swim hard at divisionals because it was so important for my team,” Ledecky, who swims for MCSL’s Palisades, said.
But the PVS Age Group Championships were equally important, Ledecky said. The meet is the definitive meet for year-round clubs in the Potomac Valley Swimming league, and swimmers can also qualify for regional and national meets with their times here.
“You have to qualify for this meet first,” Witkin said, “and then if you swim really well here, you can go to ‘zones’ or ‘far eastern.’”
USA Swimming Eastern Zone Championships and the 2009 Far Eastern Meet at North Baltimore Aquatic Club are meets featuring swimmers from all over the east coast, and qualifying for those prestigious meets is a goal for many swimmers at the PVS Championships. With so much at stake in both meets, many of the athletes who swam for their summer league teams in the morning tried to sneak in as much relaxation time as possible before their afternoon swims.
RMSC and Hallowell (MCSL) swimmer Anna Kolanowski, 13, also had little time to relax before her PVS races. Kolanowski swam the 400-meter individual medley and the 1500-meter freestyle on Saturday afternoon, two long and difficult races. Kolanowski said she spent an hour relaxing at home between meets, and would listen to music to get her pumped up between her afternoon races.
“I’m more of a distance swimmer so I feel like I have enough energy [for the 1500 free], but this whole day has been pretty tiring,” Kolanowski said. “I’m ready for it to be done.”
Many of the swimmers said that they also had summer swim team banquets to attend after the PVS meet.
“It’s a hectic weekend,” Witkin said. “I have the banquet at nine, and then I’ll go right to bed because I have to wake up at 5 a.m. tomorrow and come back here again.”
Ledecky was just hoping to make it back to her car after swimming in the girls’ 11-12 400-meter freestyle.
“I’m kind of ready for a nap,” Ledecky said. “That’ll be what I do in the car: fall right asleep.”