Silver Chips Online

Swim and dive is faster in the pool

Blair defeats Poolesville 176-166

By Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
January 25, 2010
OLNEY SWIM CENTER, Jan. 23 -

The Blair swim and dive team (3-0) out-swam the Poolesville Falcons Saturday night, beating Poolesville with a final score of 176-166. The girls fell short to the Falcons 103-68, winning two out of eleven events. The boys were undefeated on the night, placing first in every event with a final score of 108-63. In the diving competition, juniors Justin Kanga and Claire Hoffman placed second overall.

Senior captain Jeff Lin anchored the boys' swim team by placing first in the 200 Individual Medley by a full 13 seconds and winning the 100 Fly with a time of 54.52 seconds. Lin also helped the boys secure first place in the 200 Medley Relay with a combined time of 1:45.94.

The girls' team looked to freshman Emily Lathrop for success, who placed first in the 100 Fly with a time of 1:03.83 and second in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:18.17.

The boys conquered Poolesville by placing first in every event. Lin, senior Matthew Kannan and junior captain Eric Ruggieri also swept first, second and third place in the 200 Individual Medley. Junior captain Laura McGehee praised the boys for remaining consistent and strong each week. "They usually do really well and I don't think today was an exception," she said. "They're getting really fast times."

The Poolesville girls' team posed "tough competition," according to McGehee. Their lineup included senior Cara Chuang, who qualified for the Olympic trials in 2008. "We knew it would be a tough one," McGehee said. Although swimming against Poolesville was a challenge, McGehee was pleased with the way her team responded. "Even though they have some good swimmers, the Blair swimmers have been stepping up and that's all we can really ask for," she said. "All the swimmers put in their best effort."

Both McGehee and senior captain Nate Hukill identified sophomore Niklas Hammond as a key competitor for the Blazers. Hammond placed first in the 500 Free with a final time of 4:54.97, beating his Poolesville opponent by over 35 seconds. "He swam a really good race," Hukill said.

Although the meet was a success overall, certain swimmers faced difficulties when they were forced to compete in events they did not usually swim in. "A couple [Blair athletes] swam things they weren't used to," Hukill said. "So next week we're going to go more back to normal." Hukill said the team is also going to practice starts and turns to prepare for next week's meet against Quince Orchard.

Several members of the Blair team also competed in a Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club (RMSC) meet earlier that day and were fatigued from their performance. McGehee thought the Blazers still attempted to rise to their full potential. "Despite all that, we tried to get our spirits up," she said.

The team also competed without coach David Swaney, leaving co-coach James Demma to head the team alone. Despite the absence of their coach, Hukill felt the team competed up to standards. "People were just swimming really fast today," he said. "We picked it up for Mr. Demma."

Coming off this victory, the Blair swim and dive team is motivated to continue their successful season. Hukill wants his fellow swimmers to remember their accomplishments during this particular meet for inspiration. "If you're not first, you're last," he said. "And today Blair was first in everything."

Blair's swim and dive team competes in their next meet against Quince Orchard High School on Jan. 30 at the Gaithersburg Aquatic Center at 11:30 a.m.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9831