As Janet Hu took her final strokes into the wall in the girls’ 400-yard freestyle relay, her Oakton teammates on deck exploded into a fit of joy, hugging each other as they celebrated the team’s fifth state record at Saturday’s Virginia AAA state swimming and diving championship meet.
Oakton claimed its second consecutive girls’ state title, doubling up second-place Yorktown, 275-128. The Cougars did it in dominating fashion by capturing four individual titles and winning all three relays at George Mason University’s McKay Natatorium.
The Robinson boys topped Madison (218.50-192.50) to take home their first state title since 2009.
“These girls chose to go out in a big way,” Oakton Coach Parker Ramsdell said. “Setting two relay records and missing the third by about four-tenths of a second shows just how much of a team effort this win was. We aren’t just a couple great swimmers, we’re a team.”
No swimmer was more impressive for the Cougars than Hu, the 2012 All-Met Swimmer of the Year, who was in a class of her own all night. The junior provided jaw-dropping splits in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays, both of which set new state marks.
Individually, she reset her own state and pool records in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. She touched in 52.84 seconds in the butterfly and 53.27 in the backstroke, finishing with open water between herself and second place in both races.
Hu’s freshman teammate, Megan Byrnes also set a state record for the Cougars in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:49.75 —
more than nearly 10 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Oakton sophomore Laura Branton won the 100 freestyle (50.79), narrowly upsetting 50 free winner Abi Speers of Langley (50.82). Speers set the 50 freestyle record with a 23.18.
In the boys’ meet, Robinson flipped the script from the Northern Region meet two weeks ago, where the Rams finished second behind Madison.
“Last year we weren’t even top 10 at this meet. We had some talented freshmen come in, but this was about more than just a few swimmers,” Robinson Coach Philip Caslavka said. “Not one swimmer from our medley relay scored individually, but their sixth-place finish was the difference in the meet.”
Freshman James Murphy shined for the Rams by winning the 100 freestyle in 45.70 and providing anchor legs in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays which finished second. Murphy also took second in the 200 freestyle, falling to Chantilly senior Chris Grimmett-Norris, who swam a near perfect final 100 yards to out-touch Murphy, 1:39.16 to 1:39.31. Both swimmers went under the previous state mark.
“I’m looking forward to the next three years with these freshman,” Caslavka said. “I don’t see why we couldn’t win three more state titles.”
Jefferson sophomore Andrew Seliskar posted another impressive state meet with two state records and a pool record. He won the 200 individual medley, breaking the state and pool marks with a time of 1:46.09. He also shattered his own 100 butterfly record with a time of 47.92, less than a second off the national public high school record held by Madison’s Sean Fletcher, set at the 2009 state meet.
[Correction: Seliskar did not break the state record in the 100 butterfly. Sean Fletcher, as mentioned, owns both the state and national public high school records in the event.]
“I felt fast tonight,” Seliskar said. “I was glad to come out and get my team the points they needed. Setting records is just a bonus.”