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Feb. 21, 2011

Swim and Dive places fifth in County Championships

by Sarah Harper, Online News Editor
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. INDOOR SWIM CENTER, Feb. 19

Blair swim and dive (7-0) came in fifth overall in the County Championships this weekend, falling just behind the tough Division I teams. The boys' took sixth with 167 points and the girls' took seventh with 116 points.

Co-Coaches Charlie Demma and David Swaney agreed that Blair performed as expected. "This meet was lackluster overall, but we've had some terrible counties in the past," Swaney said. "In comparison to previous years, we've done much better."

The boys' started out the meet by earning fifth place in the 200 Medley Relay with a solid time of 1:43.38. Sophomore Jack Foster, who both coaches commended as the best male swimmer of the day, was only 13 milliseconds behind the fourth-place winner in the 200 IM. In the 100 Breast, senior co-captain Eric Ruggieri placed second with a time of 1:00.34, a mere 18 milliseconds behind the first-place winner.

Demma thought the boys' team had slow starts in the first few events, but praised the fast split times during the 200 Free Relay, in which the boys' placed fifth. Swaney was proud of Foster for his sixth-place win in the 500 Free Championships on Thursday. Foster broke the Blair boys' record with a time of 4:47.02 and sophomore Jennifer Arai, who won fifth place in the same event, also broke the girls' record by almost 20 seconds.

Senior co-captain Dennis Li said he expected the boys' to get third place overall, but admitted that seed times were off. "At half time, we were already behind by a couple points. We couldn't make up the difference," he said. Although Ruggieri was impressed by the relay split times, he thought the boys' need to improve their speed for next week's Metropolitan Championships. "We need better starts, finishes and turns," he said.

The 200 Medley and Free Relays were also high points for the girls' team, which placed eighth and sixth in those events respectively. Arai came eighth in the 200 Free with 1:59.72 and sophomore Emily Lathrop was eleventh in both the 200 IM and 100 Fly. Swaney also praised senior co-captain Laura McGehee's performance in the 100 Breast, in which she placed twelfth with a time of 1:13.31.

McGehee said the girls' normally don"t perform as well in counties, and was pleasantly surprised by the relays times. "This meet went better than expected," she said. "People were good about doing what they were seeded and getting the points they were supposed to. We did as well as we could have."

In the Diving Championships on Friday, senior Sophia Seidell placed ninth out of twenty in the girls' competition with a total score of 231.45 and senior co-captain Claire Hoffman placed twelfth with 218.90. In the boys' competition, senior Justin Kanga and sophomore Nick Seidell had disappointing final scores of 94.60 and 92.15 respectively, and were unable to place in the top twenty.

Demma said he was pleased with the girl divers and thought that their high scores helped boost the girls' swim team. Swaney had hoped Seidell would place even higher, but was glad she broke the top ten.

Both coaches mentioned that in general, the team needed to stick closer to seed times and bring up the level of concentration. "We hope people shake off their weaker performances and come back with energy for the Mets next week," Swaney said. "We were just lacking the adrenaline today."

Swim and dive compete in its final meet, the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Championships, at the Germantown Indoor Swim Center from Feb. 23 to 26.



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