SWIMMERS TO WATCH
Conger made a splash in his Metros debut last February when he swept the 50- (20.56) and 100-yard freestyles (45.50) while breaking meet records with automatic All-American times in both events. Over the summer, the 6-foot-5 Conger posted three top-10 finishes at the Potomac Valley Senior Long Course Championships.
A Harvard-bound All-Met, Katis swept the 200 IM and 100 breast at the Northern Region championships and posted top-5 finishes in both at the Virginia AAA state meet with automatic All-American times in each event. Katis was also a member of the 200 medley relay team that set a new state and national short course meters record.
1. An opening in Virginia AAA?
Last February Oakton took home its first state title, snapping a string of seven-straight championships for Concorde District rival Robinson and potentially opening up the landscape at the state meet. While the Cougars bring back plenty of young talent, Langley and Fairfax – which finished second and third respectively – will both be loaded once again. Robinson, which finished fourth and remains strong, will be motivated to reclaim the top spot on the podium.
2. Can Severna Park recreate the magic?
The Falcons won the 3A/4A team title – the program’s first, Coach Mike McTammany said – without winning a single race. They’ll be deep again. Kevin Huntley and Sean Brant are both poised for big seasons. Led by All-Met honorable mention Kyle DeVore, South River will challenge Severna Park.
3. Can Little Hoyas make it eight straight?
Senior Jonathan Ekstrom (Penn State) swept the 200 IM and 100 backstroke to lead Georgetown Prep to its seventh straight Metros title last year by a massive margin. Despite graduating All-Met Matt Thomas (200 free winner) and several others, the Little Hoyas also return Metros diving champion, senior Mike Mosca.
Wootton won the Montgomery County championship meet last winter for the first time in Coach Howard Blume’s tenure. The Patriots were victorious despite winning just two events. They’ll be deep again this year. Senior Thomas Finn, an All-Met honorable mention last winter, will be tough to beat in the 200 and 500 free. Finn, also a stellar student, is being looked at by Ivy League schools.
5. Will the weather allow a complete season?
Last winter’s record snowfalls wreaked havoc on the high school schedule, forcing the cancellations of dual meets and in some cases (like the Dulles District), the abandonment of district meets altogether.
AROUND THE AREA
Blume called Whitman “the class of the field.” Versatile Matt Gibson and Michael Fu and diver Jordan Lesser are back for the Vikings. … Junior Garrett Powell (backstroke, freestyle), who attended Georgetown Prep last year, has transferred back to Walter Johnson. He’ll boost the Wildcats, as will junior Fletcher Tollefson (breaststroke). Tollefson is the brother of second-team All-Met Andrew Tollefson, who graduated last June. … O’Connell senior Ian Decker won the 500 free at Metros and edged Eckstrom at the WMPSSDL meet in the 200 IM and will again contend for individual titles at both meets. … Gonzaga hopes unprecedented depth (more than 80 boys) will carry it to the top of the league ladder… Robinson senior Ricky Munch posted top-5 finishes in the 50 free and 100 breast at states and will look to lead the Rams back to the Virginia AAA crown. … Sophomore Philip Hu managed top-10 finishes in the 100 fly (4th) and 100 back (10th) despite battling illness as Oakton won the state title. Despite losing All-Met first-team seniors Brad Phillips and K.J. Park, Hu, junior freestyler Chris Megaw and freshman Denny Nguyen have the potential to help the Cougars hold onto the top spot in the Concorde District. Robinson junior diver Cory Bowersox will take aim at the third consecutive state title. … Langley and Madison should battle it out atop the Liberty District once again with Katis and junior Ryan Natal pacing the Saxons while senior David Fallavollita and sophomore Evan Owens lead the Warhawks. Fairfax senior Travis Lauri (sixth in 50 free at states) steps up following the graduation of All-Met Joey Kelly, Thomas Jefferson added depth with a strong freshman class and McLean senior Charlie Putnam (second in 200 IM, sixth in 100 backstroke) will also be a factor in the district. … Following a razor-thin eight-point loss to Yorktown in the National District championship meet last, Washington-Lee hopes this will be its year to topple the Patriots. Both teams were hit hard by graduation but freshmen Philip O’Doherty and Jay Delancey could put the Generals over the top while the Patriots will turn to a strong freshman class of their own. … W.T. Woodson will be the team to watch in the Patriot. … Defending Cedar Run champion Battlefield returns three state qualifiers, Mountain View brings back senior state backstroke champion Josh Friedel and Brooke Point returns senior Michael Fox-Moles who placed third in backstroke at states and won a Commonwealth District title in the 100 fly. All three teams will factor into the Northwest Region picture. … Brentsville captured the Virginia AA team title, but will face another challenge from All-Met senior Mark Sarman (a double-winner in the 200 IM and 100 fly) and Broad Run.
KEY DATES (Boys and Girls)
Feb. 3-5: Virginia AAA Northern Region championships, Oak Marr ReCenter.
Feb. 12: Montgomery County Division 1 championships, Martin Luther King Swim Center.
Feb. 17-19: Montgomery County championships, Martin Luther King Swim Center.
Feb. 18-19: Virginia AAA state championships, Princess Anne Community Recreation Center, Virginia Beach.
Feb. 24-26: Virginia AA/A state championships, Christiansburg Aquatics Center, Christiansburg.
Feb. 26: MPSSAA 1A/2A/3A (4 p.m.) and 3A/4A (10 a.m.) state championships, University of Maryland College Park.
Feb. 26: Metros championships, Germantown Indoor Swim Center.
(Maryland swimming beat reporter Alan Siegel contributed to this report.)
Tags: AAA Northern Region, Bradley Phillips, Concorde District, Jack Conger, Jonathan Ekstrom, Liberty District, Maryland High School Swimming, Matt Thomas, Montgomery County High School Swimming, National District, Northern Region, Oakton High School, Philip Hu, Virginia High School Swimming