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Weekly Wrap-up: Ledecky steps into spotlight at Grand Prix; Records tumble at Metros; Virginia champ meet round-ups

By Bryan Flaherty
Quick results from the weekend’s swim meets: Wash. Metro Interscholastic Swim & Dive Championship; Va. AAA Northwest Region Championship; and Va. AA/A State Championship Meet [local results only]

Katie Ledecky wins first Grand Prix gold

After missing Winter Nationals due to illness, Curl-Burke swimmer and Olympic hopeful Katie Ledecky needed race experience in the long course format. She got her chance over the weekend at the 2012 Missouri Grand Prix, in Columbia. The 14-year-old has burst onto the national scene over the last six months as one of America’s premier female distance freestylers.

Ledecky swam three events during the three day meet, and seemed to get stronger and more confident with each race. On Day One, the high school freshman finished fifth in the women’s 200-meter freestyle in 2:00.01, in a personal-best time. The next morning Ledecky qualified first in the 400 freestyle, but would drop one spot during the night final, finishing second in 4:09.30, another personal best.

She saved her best for last. In the women’s 800 freestyle timed final, Ledecky set the pace from the start, going out in 2:04.86, less than five seconds off her personal best in the 200 freestyle event, set two days before. She would continue to pull away from the rest of the field to finish nine seconds ahead of second place in 8:30.14, beating 16-year-old Leah Smith (8:39.52) and Olympic open water swimmer Chloe Sutton (8:41.65), who finished second and third.

The time was good enough for fourth best in the world this year, and it was the second fastest time by a 13-14 year-old in history, just missing the National Age Group record set by Cynthia “Sippy” Woodhead in 1978, with a time of 8:29.35. Ledecky owns the NAG records in the 500 and 1,000-yard freestyle events, set in November.

Great Britain’s Rebecca Adlington (8:22.35), the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist in the 800 and 400m freestyle, Denmark’s Lotte Friis (8:27.93), the event’s bronze medalist, and Great Britain’s Eleanor Faulkner (8:29.70) hold the top three spots in the world, currently.

While the time ranks Ledecky as the fastest American in the event this year, she will have stiff competition next June at Olympic Trials from Olympians Sutton, Kate Ziegler, Katie Hoff, and Allison Schmitt.

Conger, Gonzaga excel at Metros [Updated w/ Video Highlights]

At what was one of the fastest Wash. Metro Interscholastic championship meets in recent memory, 13 meet records were broken, as well as a slew of participating teams’ league and team records.

Gonzaga rolled to a team scoring record in the boys’ meet, while MCPS rivals Churchill and Whitman battled each other till the end in the girls’ meet. Churchill started the swimming portion of the championship meet with a 54 point lead, thanks to a dominant performance by the Bulldog divers.

Whitman tried its best to make up the difference with top finishes in nearly every girls event, but Churchill was able to hold them off. Saving the win for the Bulldogs was senior Natalya Ares, who picked up big points for her team by winning the 100 butterfly and later staving off Sarah Haase in the girls’ 400 freestyle relay, to pick up vital second-place points for Churchill to seal the victory.

While Good Counsel fell behind in the team competition, its leaders, Jack Conger and Haase, provided some of the best highlights of the year with their swims in the boys’ 500 freestyle and girls’ 100 breaststroke, both Independent High School National Records.

Read more from the 2012 Metro Swimming & Diving Championship here [highlight videos within].

Rosenburg, Doyle shine among area teams at Va. AA/A state championship meet [updated to include Tuscarora High School]

Northern Virginia teams traveled to the Virginia AA/A Swimming and Diving championship meet, held at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Va., on Friday to go up against the best AA and A schools from across the state. Brentsville District finished seventh in the boys’ competition, just ahead of ninth place Potomac Falls. On the girls’ side, Potomac Falls was seventh; Dominion ninth; Tuscarora tenth.

Top performers from area teams were Kaleigh Rosenburg (Heritage) and Justin Doyle (Brentsville District), who collected am individual state title each.

Rosenburg won the girls’ 100 breaststroke in 1:03.21. She was also fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:06.55).

Kayleigh Rosenburg swimming to a state title in the 100 breaststroke. (Photo provided by Gemma Rosenburg)

Doyle was the big winner in the boys’ 50 freestyle, finishing in 21.76. He would follow that performance up with a third in the boys’ 100 freestyle (48.19). Brentsville teammate Ben Cumberland was eighth in 50 freestyle in 22.31.

Rosenburg and Doyle were the lone state champions for the teams from Prince William and Loudoun counties, but area swimmers were in abundance in the top heats all night.

William Lin (Potomac Falls) was fourth in the boy’s 200 individual medley (1:58.19).

In the boys’ 100 butterfly, Brennan Maxwell (Briar Woods) was fifth in 53.67. Jake Koenig (Loudoun County High School) was eighth in 54.89.

Aidan O’Hara (Dominion) placed sixth in the boys’ 500 freestyle with a time of 4:52.90. O’Hara was sixth (55.41)  in the 100 backstroke as well, ahead of Lucas Cherry (George Mason) who finished eighth (55.76).

On the girls’ side, Sophie Newton (Loudoun County) was third in the 50 freestyle in 24.63. Newton was also fifth in the girls’ 100 butterfly (58.54), ahead of Rachel Williams (Dominion), who was seventh in 1:00.15.

Another fifth-seventh finish came in the girls’ 500 freestyle, where Lizzie Mittan (Briar Woods) in 5:16.89, two spots ahead of Jalyn Marks (Dominion) in 5:21.50.

Amanda Presgraves was fifth behind Rosenburg in the girls’ 100 breaststroke, finishing in a time of 1:06.82.

Osbourn Park repeats as Northwest Region champs

Osbourn Park boys’ and girls’ swim teams successfully defended their AAA Northwestern Region Championship titles on Friday at the Freedom Aquatics Center in Manassas. The Yellow Jacket girls scored 319 points, finishing ahead of runner-up Albermarle (256) and third-place Stafford (230.50). Osbourn Park’s boys compiled 334 points to finish more than 100 points ahead of runner-up Albemarle (238.50) and third-place Mountain View (202).

Read more from the 2012 AAA Northwest Region Swimming Championship here.

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6 Responses to “Weekly Wrap-up: Ledecky steps into spotlight at Grand Prix; Records tumble at Metros; Virginia champ meet round-ups”

  1. PLEASE print the psych sheets for the AAA VA High School SWim & Dive Championships which are scheduled for February 17 & 18 at George Mason University.
    Thank you!

  2. Always Forgotten says:

    Congratulations Tuscarora High School! Second year school made a big impact, earning a 10th place in A/AA VHSL Swim and Dive State Championship. Four women swimmers and one women swimmer made finals, three A finalists and top 8 finishers, and two women relays finished top 8.

  3. Tuskie Swim Fan says:

    Another congratulations to Tuscarora High School in Leesburg VA! It was 4 female swimmers and 1 male swimmer making it to finals at States, including top 8 finishes not mentioned in the article above. Tuscarora women’s team 10th place in States – great job for a second year school!

  4. Bryan Flaherty says:

    I am sorry about leaving Tuscarora out of the article. I will update to include top finishes. Thank you.

  5. Swim&Dive Fan says:

    Churchill scored 62 points from the 4 top 20 place finishes, not 54 points. Congrats to all the divers at Churchill also.

  6. Bryan Flaherty says:

    You are correct, Swim&Dive Fan. Churchill did score 62 points. However, Whitman diver Michaela Johnson finished in 13th place to score 8 points. The difference was the 54 point advantage that Churchill began the meet with.

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