For the second consecutive year, Washington-Lee‘s boys swim team suffered the heartbreak of seeing a district championship slip away, falling by just eight points to Yorktown in the National District championship meet in Arlington on Monday night.
The Generals fell just short against a Patriots team that swept the titles at Washington-Lee pool, with the girls’ team turning in a dominant performance by scoring 606 points, 357 more than second-place Falls Church.
Washington-Lee’s boys’ opened the meet strong, winning the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:43.08. Senior Freddy Crawford then won the first of two events – - the 200 freestyle — in a district-record time of1:43.02, outracing Edison‘s Balazs Kiss (1:44.31). Crawford also took the title in the 100 freestyle with a time of 47.75, two seconds ahead of Hayfield‘s Brian Heilbronner (49.76).
“I feel I’ve really stepped up to my potential,” Crawford said of a season in which he has proven to be a challenger at the regional and state level. “I had been swimming great in practice but it really hadn’t translated to meets until last June a little bit and then I gradually started to kind of understand where I was going. And this winter I just did awesome, [I] went 1:39 in the 200 free, and [was] nationally ranked. It’s pretty sweet to get back on top, so it was good.”
Yorktown picked up a win in the 200 individual medley from junior Matthew Essig (2:03.90) and had a balanced, depth-driven effort that would lead them to the win with 408 points – just eight points more than Washington-Lee.
The Generals had another double winner in senior Jake Huston, who took titles in both the 100 fly (53.70) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.32).
Other winners included Falls Church senior David Blincoe in the 50 free (22.88), Edison’s Kiss in the 500 free (4:42.57), Falls Church’s 200 freestyle relay of Michael Clingaman, Jesse Kane, Alex Howe and David Blincoe (1:32.73), Washington-Lee senior Matthew Allen (100 back, 58.55) and Washington-Lee’s 400 freestyle relay of Allen, David Palmer, Huston and Crawford (3:23.87).
On the girls’ side, the highlight of the night came from Yorktown senior Kaitlin Wolla, who bested a 100 butterfly district record that had stood since Feb. 5, 1999.
Wolla, who also won the title in the 50-freestyle with a time of 25.12, turned in an All-American consideration time of 56.71 to best Bridget Mallon’s 57.59 set 11 years ago.
“I’ve been nervous for about a week now,” Wolla said. “I knew that it was a possibility that I could get it, so I was hoping that I would. I was really nervous before my race, but it just kind of happened. All my team was behind my lane cheering for me that’s probably why I did it. If they weren’t there it probably would have been hopeless.”
Yorktown’s girls opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay with Angela Slevin, Lydia Carpenter, Amanda Didawick and Carly Hinkle in a time of 1:55.77. Then Patriots never looked back, winning all but two of the remaining events.
Only Falls Church freshman Laura Schwartz was able to register a district title while not wearing a Yorktown cap. Schwartz took home championships in both the 200 IM (district record 2:09.00) and 500 freestyle (5:07.86).
Other winners for Yorktown on the night were sophomore Stephanie Romano (200 free, 1:59.58), junior Molly Merkel (100 free, 56.64), the 200 free relay of Wolla, Ann Carpenter, Lydia Carpenter and Abigail Ortmayer (1:43.13), Slevin (100 back, 1:01.18), senior Ortmayer (100 breast, 1:07.92) and the 400 freestyle relay of Wolla, Ann Carpenter, Merkel and Ortmayer – which, with a time of 3:44.47, knocked off the district record of 3:47.55 set by Yorktown in 2003.