A bright and sunny day at Little Falls pool, located in Bethesda, was the setting for a thrilling start to the Montgomery County Swim League summer season, as the Little Falls Penguins edged out the Damascus Dolphins, 388 to 379, in Division F.
It was an all around great performance for Little Falls as they posted 18 All-Star cuts in 50 total events as a team. The nine point defeat should in no way discourage the visitors from Damascus who were without a few of their top performers.
“We didn’t know where our team stood compared to the other teams in the division” said Little Falls head coach Arielle Fein. “Moving up two divisions was a scary thought, but we have a deep team and a lot of swimmers who can compete.”
Rachel Danegger starred in the victory for the Penguins, winning the 100 IM, 50 freestyle, 50 breaststroke, and 50 butterfly in girls’ 11-12 age group.
“She is a great swimmer who is very involved in our team, which is really great to see,” said Fein of her star, who holds the league record in the 9-10 25 breaststroke record. “She practices year round, but she is here at least once a day with our team, and everyone loves being around her.”
In the loss, Damascus’s Kate Zimmerman was the star of the day for the Dolphins. The Urbana High School sophomore, who trains year-round with RMSC, set the pool record with a time of 1 minute 20.54 seconds in the girls’ 15-18 100-meter breaststroke. The fifteen-year-old rounded out her first meet of the season with a second place finish in the 100 freestyle and firsts in the 100 individual medley and 50 butterfly.
Both teams were partaking in their first Division F meet as the hosts had moved up from Division H and Damascus fell from Division E, entering as the sixth and second seed, respectively.
Head coach Kevin Beabout was pleased with his team’s effort in week one, especially Zimmeran.
“She is really fast and she puts in a lot of work year round,” said Beabout. ”She is really focused and you can tell that she is experienced with her strokes. I’m really happy with the team’s effort today and excited to see what we can do when we have a full team.”
The most exciting race of the day came in the boys’ 15-18 100 IM. Damascus’s Josh Kiehl beat out Little Fall’s Chris Garrity by six-tenths of a second, 1:05.62 to 1:06.22, to take first. Both swimmers posted an All-Star time, Kiehl’s third of the day.
Next week, Saturday, June 23, Little Falls will look to ride the momentum of their opening day win as they take on a familiar foe Palisades, who also moved up from Division H. Damascus will look to bounce back against Glenwood during week two of the MSCL Division F season.