Click here to view the psych sheet for the MCPS championships
The 2010 Montgomery County Public School Swimming and Diving Championships provided plenty of drama and a few surprises as the Whitman girls announced themselves as a legitimate Metros title contender and the Wootton boys earned an elusive victory for their team and longtime coach Howard Blume.
How will the 2011 championship meet fare as a follow up? Let’s take a quick look at how things might shake out at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Swim Center Saturday morning…
Vikings vying for a repeat
After claiming the Metros championship last year, Whitman has not skipped a beat in the 2010-11 season. With depth and versatility throughout the lineup, Coach Geoff Schaefer’s charges go into Saturday’s meet as the favorites to repeat following an unbeaten regular season and last week’s Division I title in hand.
The winning formula last season included only one individual event win, but the Vikings swept all three relays and piled enough top-five finishes to take the meet. But if last week’s Division I meet was any indicator, this Whitman team might be even more deeper than the 2010 Vikings. Charlotte Meyer (200 IM, 500 free), Reia Tong (50 free), Victoria Kuhn (100 back) and Audrey Gould (100 breast) each won individual events and helped the Vikings take first in both the 200 and 400 free relays.
The Churchill girls, who won the county meet in 2009, finished second behind the Vikings at the Division I meet and will likely provide the biggest hurdle for Whitman’s bid to retain the title.
Bulldogs looking to get back on top
After watching Wootton pull the upset last season, Churchill stormed to an unbeaten regular season and a 50-point win over the Patriots at last week’s Division I meet.
The Bulldogs used wins from Brian Xiao (100 fly), Colin Asbury (100 free) and Odin Soevik, Samuel Lee, Austin Cole and Asbury (200 free relay) and five second-place finishes to come out on top. Only Cole (50 and 100 free) heads into Saturday with a top qualifying time, but Churchill has flexed its muscle all season and is eager to recapture the county championship.
For Wootton, the relays will be critical. Both the Patriots 200 medley (Sean Rhinehart, Matt Gibson, Michael Fu, Thomas Finn) and 400 free (Rhinehart, Kenneth Ke, Finn, Gibson) foursomes boast top qualifying times from divisionals and both teams will need to pick up points. Look for tight races between Cole and Gibson in the 100 free and Fu and Gu in the 100 breast to have a significant impact on the final result, but Wootton must pick up a few more points from its secondary event qualifiers to overtake the Bulldogs.
Swimmers to watch
(beyond those listed above)
Elizabeth Pepper, Sr., Walter Johnson (200 IM, 100 fly) – It did not seem to matter what event Pepper swam this season, she was always the first to touch the final wall. Saturday she’ll swim the same two events she won last year while looking to reset the 200 IM record she broke at the 2010 meet.
Emily Ryczek, Sr., Sherwood (50, 100 free) – After finishing third in the 50 at divisionals, the Virginia Tech recruit and reigning Metros champion in both events will look to maintain her dominance across the freestyle sprints.
Natalya Ares, Jr., Churchill (200 free, 100 fly) – With the second best qualifying times in both events, Churchill’s consistent point-producer on the girls’ side must have a big day for the Bulldogs to topple Whitman.
Ellen Anderson, Jr., Gaithersburg (200, 500 free) – One of the top distance swimmers in the state, Anderson will try to repeat as champion in the 500 and challenge Ares and Whitman’s Audrey Gould in the 200.
Diana Hanson, Soph., Poolesville (100 breast, 200 IM) – With the graduation of Cara Chuang Poolesville lacks some of the star power it had the last four years, but Hanson could be the Falcons’ best shot to come away with an individual win if she can fend off Gould and Wootton freshman Jessica Chen in the breast.
Spencer Sterling, Sr., Blake (100 fly, 200 free) – A Maryland recruit, Sterling comes in with the top qualifying time in the 100 fly and will try to hold of Xiao, Rhinehart and Whitman’s Patrick Scordato in what should be a thrilling race.
Garret Powell, Jr., Walter Johnson (200, 500 free) – The Georgetown Prep transfer has provided a tremendous boost to the Wildcats this season. After sweeping both events at the Division I meet, he’ll try to repeat the feat at counties.
Tyler Pham, Jr., Gaithersburg (200 IM, 100 back) – As dominant as Anderson has been this season, Pham has provided similarly seemingly automatic top finishes for the Trojan boys. Both events feature plenty of talent at the top, but Pham has a solid shot to come away with at least one win.
Patrick Scordato, Soph., Whitman (50 free, 100 fly) – A serious title contender in both events, he will likely be Whitman’s top point producer on the boys’ side.
Eric Ruggieri, Sr., Blair (200 IM, 100 breast) – A double-winner at the Division II meet, Ruggieri should not be overlooked in two strong race fields Saturday.
Races to watch
Boys 200 free – Powell (1:46.31), Christopher Wysocki (Churchill – 1:46.65), Barry Mangold (WJ – 1:46.77), Niklas Hammond (Blair – 1:46.92) and Finn (1:46.95) all qualified within .64 seconds of one another, which means Saturday’s individual events could start with a bang.
Boys 200 IM – Pham (1:59.18), Fu (1:59.63), Jorge Rios (B-CC – 1:59.90), Ruggieri (2:00.59) and Gu (2:00.67) lead a loaded field which should be in line for a wild finish.
Girls 50 free – Despite losing at divisionals, Ryczek (24.39) has owned this event the last two years and will surely bring it in this sprint. But Whitman juniors Tong (24.22) and Kuhn (24.34) and Wootton freshman Annie Fagan (24.89) will make this one worth watching.
Girls 1M diving – Defending champion junior Annie Kastler (Walter Johnson) posted the best total score (269.750) in the county at last week’s meet but got a stiff challenge from Whitman senior Emily Schmidt (264.550)
Boys/Girls 400 free relays – If the meet is close, this event could easily decide it. Wootton (3:16.31) narrowly edged Walter Johnson (3:16.67) at the Division I meet and the Patriots know they’ll need to hold onto these points to push Churchill. Last year Whitman’s Dani Schulkin (Harvard) made up ground in the third leg to set up Tong for a dramatic come-from-behind win and a meet record time of 3:34.68. With Tong, Meyer, Gould and Sarah Kannan the Vikings hope to maintain their relay supremacy, but Churchill’s foursome of Alicia Tiberino, Michelle Illig, Shannon Ridge and Ares will be right there with them.
What events and which swimmers and divers are you most looking forward to watching Saturday? And which teams do you think will take home the titles?