Conger, Gonzaga excel at Metros

Conger, Gonzaga excel at Metros

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 Click here for complete results from the 2012 Metro Championship

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.

But even Gonzaga’s impressive team victory — Georgetown Prep finished second with 352 points — could not eclipse the individual performance by Good Counsel junior Jack Conger.

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.”

Jack Conger swimming backstroke (Ricky Carioti/For The Washington Post)

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.

Caroline McTaggart (Holton-Arms) dazzled, breaking records in the girls’ 50 freestyle (23.09) and 100 freestyle (49.94).

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.”

Meyer would also be a part of Whitman’s two record setting relays in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay, along with Reia Tong – runner up in the 50 and 100 freestyle, – Audrey Gould, and Sarah Kannan.

Haase would reset her own 100 breaststroke record in a time of 1:00.05. Kristina Li (Wootton) broke the girls’ 100 backstroke record with a time of 54.84.

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.

In the loss, Georgetown Prep showed a lot of promise for the future, with impressive swims by freshmen Grant Goddard and Carsten Vissering, winners  in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.


  1. Phenomenal swims by Conger, A few have come close (conger,caldwell,,pinion) but Kosteff’s record is a hard one to break.Powells’s 4;20 should not be overlooked either, only 2.5 behind Conger, that is a stellar time.I would say altitude training agrees with both of them and their time last month at the OTC was well spent.

    Meyer and Haase had a great race as did all the kids. The energy at this meet is amazing and is the closest to what a college conference meet atmosphere is that I have ever been to at a HS meet,

  2. Great to see how amazing the times were at this meet. I know some people were worried about MD States making this meet less important (and slower). Good to see that wasn’t the case. Nice to see the Bulldogs pull out a girl’s win. Nice to see the Alma Mater doing well. Way to go everyone for the great swims! Some seriously fast times.

  3. I think it was a great idea that they allowed everyone to still wear fast suits! Even though Moco school cant at states

  4. CSN was shooting video as they have in previous years. I will post videos and link out once they are available. Thank you.

  5. The heading is fine. Conger’s performance was historic; Churchill’s was commendable but happens every year.

  6. Clarification on the Region/State meet suit rules: MPSSAA (the governing body of Maryland high school sports) has a rule that states that teams must be in uniform at the meets. Meaning, everyone on a team must wear the same style suit. The rules on “fast” suits are the same as for Metros and every other high school meet in the US… they are allowed. But only if the entire team wears the same one.

  7. Its great to see the area is still producing such stellar talent. Conger has already marked himself as one of the all time most versatile high school swimmers. If he can translate the speed and versatility he has shown in freestyle to long course, I could see him pushing for the 4×200 relay at some point.

    Between Conger and Ledecky (not to mention Matt Mclean), olympic trials should be very interesting this year. I’d bet on Conger making top 8 in 100 backstroke, and I’ll call a surprise 1:49 in the 2 free. If Ledecky has another breakthrough she could be a threat to make the team.

  8. I am wondering why the times from prelims at METRO’s (and perhaps other meets) are not showing up in top times and only finals times are showing up. Is it possible to upload them as well?

  9. Aquaholic, this is an issue with the way our upload system works currently. I am working with our IT department to overhaul the stats/results sections to provide as much information to our readers as possible, including prelim results, splits, etc. As you can imagine, that process takes time. Thank you for your input.

  10. Agree with Swim taxi on the headline … Metro’s is a team event, not an individual event … the Churchill girls deserve proper recognition. They are not even mentioned until deep into the article (9th paragraph, but who’s counting). Not sure what learning to fly is referring to in writing “commendable but happens every year.” If memory serves, it was Whitman who took the title in 2011 and 2010, and Good Counsel for about ten straight years before that.

  11. How about you appreciate the work that this man is doing in providing us all with coverage of the meet and posting it just hours after the conclusion of it. If you don’t like the way that he writes something then stop coming back to the website. Since Bryan has taken over this website he has drastically improved not only Reach for the Wall, but the amount of publicity that our area swimmers are receiving (and deserving). For all of the complainers: Go make your own website! Thanks for all the work and effort you put in, Bryan!

  12. enough is enough: sorry, but I believe you’re missing the point. it’s not only about quantity (of which there is plenty), but also quality … in this case, gender equity.

  13. Sorry – but winning with depth is not the story here. Nice wins by Gonzaga and Churchill, but Conger is the headline.

    And don’t give me gender equity. When my team won in the late 80’s all the Post’s headline mentioned was Wootton’s girls repeating.

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