Click here to view the psych sheet for the MCPS championships.
Last Saturday, Montgomery County swim teams hit the water for the first time in more than a week to compete for division titles while simultaneously shaking off the rust of their extended break. Now with a full week of pool time, Montgomery’s 25 teams convene at the Martin Luther King Swim Center Saturday for a county meet that should feature faster times and dramatic finishes.
A year ago, Churchill used a sweep at the county championships to springboard its girls to the Metros title. So far this winter the Whitman girls have handled the Bulldogs, both at their dual meet and last week at divisionals, meaning Churchill will be hard pressed to repeat the feat. The Bulldog boys defended their Division I title but the girls finished a distant second behind the Vikings, who have to be considered one of the favorites heading into Metros.
“I would love for both of them to repeat,” Churchill Coach Rodney Van Tassell said. “I’m hoping that our boys and girls will fight hard to keep another team from taking those titles from us, but we have to be better. ”
The Vikings enter the weekend brimming with confidence and high aspirations. Led by Dani Schulkin, Victoria Kuhn, Reia Tong and Charlotte Meyer — who each won individual and relay events at the Division I meet — Whitman is loaded with depth. Schulkin, Kuhn, Tong and Lauren Poore set a MCPS record in the 200 medley relay (1:48.29) and will look to give the Vikings another fast start Saturday.
“I expect our girls to take this meet and own it,” Whitman Coach Geoff Schaefer said. “I’m not sure that we will win many events, but we will finish high enough to bring home the trophy.”
To reach their goal, the Vikings will have to fend off a talented Sherwood team. Led by Emily Ryczek — a double-winner at the Division II meet — the Warriors outscored second-place Northwood by more than 100 points (449-342) and should not be taken lightly against the county’s top teams. Behind Eric Conrad, the defending county champion in the 100 fly and 100 back, and Mike Anderson, who took the 200 free title a year ago, the Sherwood boys will also be in the mix.
“We had everyone swimming great last weekend,” Sherwood Coach Brendan Lees said. “Some of our swims were a little complacent but I think that’s going to change now that the competition is a little tougher. I think we’ll see some faster times since everyone had a full week of practice.”
On the boys’ side, the defending 200 IM champion Chris Verboncoeur spearheads the Bulldogs’ hopes to repeat. He’ll need another strong effort for Churchill to maintain its dominance in the 200 medley relay. Wootton and Walter Johnson — led by Andrew Tollefson in the 200 IM and 100 breast — will look to make up ground following the full week in the water.
“With the snow, it did mess up the training some, so it will be interesting to see where some of the swimmers are,” Walter Johnson Coach Jamie Grimes said.
Kaiser, Anderson take 500 free
Richard Montgomery junior Clemens Kaiser and Gaithersburg‘s Ellen Anderson gave their teams some early points with victories in Friday’s 500 free races. Kaiser, who has now posted nine first place finishes in his 11 individual races this season has dropped nearly five seconds off his divisional time, besting Sherwood’s Mike Anderson — the defending county champion — and earning All-America consideration with a 4:37.83.