After a three-week hiatus, high school swimming returns to the Northern Region this weekend and features two matchups that should prove to be worth the wait.
On Friday, the defending Liberty District champion Madison Warhawks will renew a longstanding rivalry with the Langley Saxons – a team whose girls finished second and whose boys placed third at the Liberty District championships a year ago. Come championship season, look for these two teams to once again contend for the Northern Region title.
“[Madison] is our toughest competition in the Liberty District and they always are,” Langley head coach Ryan Jackson said. “But you never know what is going to happen at Madison meets; they are always interesting affairs.”
Jackson’s counterpart, Madison coach Andrew Foos, enters Friday with similar expectations.
“We both tend to bring out the best in each other,” Foos said. “They have some really great top-end swimmers so I expect to see a number of season-best times [Friday] night.”
However, if Langley hopes to make a statement against Madison this weekend, strong performances will be needed from the Saxons’ top swimmers. Chuck Katis – a Harvard-bound senior and three-time All-American selection as a junior – will headline the boys’ lineup while his twin sister and Virginia Tech commit, Jayme Katis, will lead the way for the Saxon girls.
After an early-season stumble against Oakton, the last year’s AAA state champion Robinson girls will look to put away Chantilly. Meanwhile, the Robinson boys hope to improve on a 2-2 dual-meet record and get back to the form that won them a state title in 2009.
For Rams coach Philip Caslavka, the key to finding championship season success is to compile the most effective relay combinations.
“I am really looking forward to seeing if our men and women can get the state cuts in the 200 and 400 relays,” Caslavka said. “We are lucky to have enough swimmers competing at a high enough level to mix-up the relays and increase our chances for a district championship and beyond.”
Charger head coach Mara Palen places a similar premium on relays at Chantilly.
“We have a 400 Free Relay on our boys’ team that was less than a second from the state cut at the [Herndon] meet,” Palen said. “We are all excited for this race, and are hoping to make the cut this week.”
Expect senior Ricky Munch to lead the way for the Robinson boys while his sister, Katie Munch, and sophomore Kathleen Dodson spearhead the effort on the girls’ side. Chantilly will do its best to counter on the strength of junior Brian Rothschild, who has already notched two state cuts this season (200 IM, 100 Free) and, for the Charger girls, regional qualifiers Logan Coulson-Moore and Maggie Shaw.
Massive field set for ninth annual Winterfest
As Maryland high school swimmers ease back into the pool, one area club will not be relaxing. This weekend, Severna Park Swimming will welcome 47 teams and more than 1,660 swimmers from six states to the University of Maryland Campus Recreation Center Natatorium for the ninth annual Winterfest.
SPY has hosted the event every year, which began with nearly 1,200 swimmers the first time around and will showcase its largest field of competitors to date this weekend. Only YMCA swim teams are eligible to participate and teams from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania will be on the deck for two full days of competition.
Among the local high schoolers who could be in for big performances, SPY’s Jack Bremer (Severn), Dylan Davis (Annapolis), Matt McKenney (Severna Park) and Katie Parker (Severna Park) are worth keeping an eye on.
Davis, a senior, returns to the pool where he took first place in the 100 back (53.90) and second in the 500 free (5:00.62) at last year’s Maryland 4A/3A state meet. He’ll swim the 400 medley relay, 200 and 100 back, 100 fly, 100 and 50 free, 400 free relay and 200 medley relay this weekend.
Bremer and McKenney are juniors and both will compete in numerous events. Bremer will test himself in the 200 and 100 back, 100 fly and 100 breast while McKenney focuses on the freestyle events. Parker is a freshman on the Falcons three-time defending state championship squad and will swim five relays along with the 200 and 50 free, 200 and 100 breast and 100 back.
“This meet just continues to get faster every year,” said SPY Coach and Maureen Kogut. “We made the qualifying times faster this year because we don’t want it to get too big, but more and more swimmers want to come ever year.
“We’re looking forward to another great meet this weekend.”
St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes sweeps Wilson
Heading into the final leg of the girls’ 400 free relay Thursday night at Wilson, St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes faced an uphill climb. For the second time this season, the Saints needed to win the event to take the meet but their top foursome was falling further and further behind the pace.
But senior captain Rachel Movius is the relay’s anchor for a reason, and she showed why with a personal best time to bring her team back and help the Saints capture a narrow 86-82 victory overall. Senior Caroline Blair, sophomore Marian Shaw and freshman Alison Lindsay made up the rest of the 400 free relay team.
Blair took first in the 500 free, Movius finished first in the 100 breast and the Saints also won the 200 free relay with a team made up of Lindsay, sophomore Lizzie Beane, senior Gabby Richichi and freshman Natalie Revers.
On the boys’ side, the Saints took a comfortable 116-54 win. Senior Cabell Perrot won the 200 free and 100 fly, senior Conor MacNair took first in the 200 IM and 100 breast, senior Ryan Gillooly finished first in the 50 free, freshman Ian Shackley won the 500 free and junior Ferrel Atkins took first in the 100 back. The Saints also swept all three relays.
(Matt Brooks contributed to this report.)