Swimmers from Montgomery County public schools top division gathered on a snowy Saturday night inside the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center in North Bethesda for the Division 1 swimming and diving championship meet. Wootton’s girls team took home first with 454 points, beating out Churchill who finished with 422. Walter Johnson repeated as the boys’ divisional champs with 381.5 points to second-placed Wootton’s 379.5. Churchill’s girls and Montgomery Blair‘s boys held slim leads through the first ten events, but Wootton and Walter Johnson slipped into the lead after event 14 and never looked back.
The meet was dedicated to long-time Wootton head coach Howard Blume who passed away this past April due to complications from a heart condition.
“His passion for the sport and ability to drive people crazy with stories and statistics made him a popular staple with the other MCPS coaches,” read the cover of the meet’s program. As they have all season, the Wootton swimmers wore swim caps with the words “for Blume,” and a moment of silence was held before the start of the meet in his honor.
“It has definitely inspired us,” said Wootton junior and 2012 first-team All-Met selection Kristina Li on the passing of her former coach. “For us to beat Churchill and win divisionals that’s what he would have wanted.”
Li was part of Wootton’s victorious 200-yard medley relay team in addition to placing first in the 100-yard butterfly and second in the 100-yard backstroke. The 100 butterfly was a clean sweep for Wootton with Junior Helen Park finishing second while senior Allie Klatzkin, who will swim at Brown next year, was third.
On the men’s side, Walter Johnson was led by future Virginia Cavalier Barry Mangold who won the 50 freestyle in 21.27 seconds, half
“Meets like this are why I love high school swimming; I don’t remember divisionals ever being this loud,” said Mangold. “High school swimming is why I am getting into college swimming, the sense of a team with brothers and sisters is something I really enjoy.”
“Barry is a stud,” added his coach Jamie Grimes. “Metros are going to be fun, we have a chance with this group, I think it is between us, Georgetown Prep, Gonzaga, and Good Counsel.” Walter Johnson finished fourth last year at Metros, first among the public schools.
Churchill freshman Hannah Lindsey was perhaps the most impressive swimmer on the day with dominate wins in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, finishing in 1:53.9 and 56.43, respectively.
“I was really excited because there is so much riding on this meet,” said Lindsey. “I felt good in the 200 free and really brought it home in the final 50; I was definitely focused on saving it for the second half of the meet though.”
“She has a unique fighter mentality; she wants to compete and win rather it be in a meet or practice,” said Churchill head coach Brendan Roddy of his freshman sensation. “That relay is almost like a crescendo, its a fun way to do it almost like a graduated relay in high school.”
Along with Alicia Tiberino, Michelle Illig, and Elaina Gu, Lindsey was part of the 400 freestyle relay team that crushed the competition by more than six seconds. The relay team was composed of a freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. Illig and Tiberino also placed first and second in the 100 freestyle.
Whitman senior Charlotte Meyer won the grueling 500 freestyle in 5:01 and the 200 IM where she finished nearly three seconds ahead of teammate Audrey Gould. In the boys’ 500 freestyle, Blair sophomore Brian Tsau won in 4:38.6. Richard Montgomery’s Gregory Song came in second in 4:45.17.
Montgomery Blair’s Michael Thomas, Brian Tsau, Noel Antonisse, and Jack Foster edged out Whitman’s John Mooers, Mike Sullivan, John Janezich, and Patrick Scordato by .25 seconds in the most thrilling race of the night.
Blume’s widow Maryl traveled all the way from New York to see the meet along with his son Scott. “All the intensity and everything you saw tonight we had our whole life,” said Maryl. “Not only Wootton, but the entire Montgomery County community has been unbelievable, I can’t describe how nice it has been hearing what everyone has to say about him.”
“It has been a tough season, but I’m so proud of how our
team performed,” said Wootton head coach and former assistant under Blume, Jacqueline Emr. “We kept our chins up all year and they swim for Howard.”
Tags: 2013 High School Championship meets, 2013 MCPS Division I Championships, Alicia Tiberino, Allie Klatzkin, Barry Mangold, Charlotte Meyer, Hannah Lindsey, Jack Foster, Kristina Li, Michelle Illig