Gonzaga dominated the team competition at the Washington Metro Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships Saturday at Germantown Indoor Swim Center, racking up 503 points to become the first team to break 500 points in the meet’s history.
In the 500-yard freestyle, Conger nearly broke a 29-year-old national high school record, set in 1983 by Olympian Jeff Kostoff. Conger broke the previous meet record by more than eight seconds with a time of 4 minutes 17.51 seconds.
“I thrive on this environment,” said Conger, who missed breaking Kostoff’s record by 1.12 seconds. “I knew I’d be close to the record. I missed it, but I still have another year.”
Conger was not done there, shattering his own record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.85, as well as providing the key leg to the record-breaking 200 medley relay (1:33.77), with teammates Brady Welch, Evan Garfield, and Ryan Edmunds.
“I just want to keep getting better and become the most versatile swimmer I can be. I’m focused right now,” Conger said, before adding, with a smile, “I have practice tomorrow morning and meets to prepare for in March.”
Gonzaga’s Sean Sullivan, who finished second to Conger in the 50 freestyle, got a small piece of revenge later, when he broke Conger’s 100 free record, with a new time of 45.23. Sullivan would also anchor Gonzaga’s 200 freestyle relay to a new meet record of 1:24.88, along with Paul O’Hara, Patrick Reyes, and Madison Hardimon.
“This was a total team effort tonight,” said Gonzaga Coach Josh Klotz, who has now won three championship meets in a row, also taking the National Catholic and Washington Metropolitan Prep School Swim and Dive League meets. “Every swimmer who made it back for finals scored for us. It’s been a great year for our boys.”
In the girls’ competition, Churchill edged Whitman, 382-380.
Other record setting performances came from Garrett Powell (Walter Johnson) in the boys’ 200 freestyle, where he set a new record in prelims with a time of 1:38.38. Powell was the runner-up to Conger in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:20.04, which would have broken the old record by six seconds.
In one of the most thrilling races of the night, Charlotte Meyer (Whitman) broke the girls’ 200 individual medley record, beating out former record holder Sarah Haase (Good Counsel), with a new time of 1:58.19. Meyer and Haase went back and forth, but after a surge in the breaststroke, Haase could not hold on against the Whitman junior.
“It’s great to get the chance to race Sarah,” said Meyer. “We train together year-round. She’s great about helping me out, letting me know how fast I need to go.”
Churchill’s Natalya Ares just missed the record in the girls’ 100 butterfly, finishing in 55.09.
Whitman and Churchill go head-to-head again in two weeks, Feb. 25, at the Maryland High School Championship meet.