Silver Chips Online

Blair places 11th at Metros Championships

Swim and dive breaks records in final competition

By Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
March 2, 2010
This story was based on post-game interviews only and not on a first-hand account.

Blair swim and dive (4-1) came in 11th at the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships (Metros) with a combined score of 219 points. The boys placed ninth with a final score of 164 points and the girls placed 20th with a final score of 55 points. The meet included 53 public and private high school teams from all over the Washington Metropolitan area.

Coach David Swaney explained that the goal of Metros is not necessarily to win, but to try for the best times of each individual swimmer. Prior to the meet, Swaney admitted that the unreliable weather made him anxious about whether Blair would be competitive. "I was worried about this meet because of the storm that put a dent in people's training," he said. But Swaney was pleased with the Blazers' performance, as it proved how hard the team had worked during the year. "We exceeded expectations," he said.

Several Blair swimmers placed in the Metros finals. Senior Matthew Kannan was a finalist in the 500-yard Freestyle with a time of 5:04.26 minutes. "He had the best race of his life," senior captain Nate Hukill said.

Unlike previous years, several Blair girl swimmers also placed in finals. Hukill pinpointed freshman Jennifer Arai as one particularly notable swimmer; she reset her own 500-yard Freestyle record with a time of 5:26.59 minutes in the preliminary round and later shortened her time to 5:21.93 minutes in the finals. Hukill also acknowledged senior captain Jenna Williams, junior captain Laura McGehee, freshman Emily Lathrop and Arai for their performance in the final round of the 400-yard Freestyle relay. They finished in a record-breaking time of 3:47.30 minutes.

Senior Molly Branson broke Blair's 100-yard Breaststroke record in the finals with a time of 1:10.20 minutes. Branson was particularly excited about her performance because she had been trying to break the record since her freshman year. "I finally got it in my very last high school meet," she said. Hukill acknowledged Branson's hard work and was glad about her record-breaking time. "We're all really happy about that because we know how bad she wanted it," he said.

Several members of the boys' team also broke records in the finals. Senior captain Jeff Lin broke the Blair record for the 200-yard Individual Medley, qualifying with a time of 1:59.25 minutes during the preliminary round and later reducing his time to 1:56.72 minutes. Swaney applauded Lin. "Jeff was phenomenal," he said.

Junior captain Eric Ruggieri placed fourth in the 100-yard Breaststroke with a record-breaking time of 59.93 seconds. Hukill was also a finalist in this event with a personal best time of 1:01.34 minutes.

Both Swaney and Branson recognized improvement in the Blazers' times at Metros. "We had big drops this week," Swaney said. Branson further noted that the entire team had decreased their times throughout the season, leading up to this final meet. "Overall, everyone has definitely improved both individually and as a team," she said.

Swaney said he was delighted with the Blazers' performance at Metros, especially those of the graduating seniors. "I was very proud, and particularly proud of some of the seniors who had great last swims," he said. Hukill agreed that the seniors' last act truly proved their swimming ability. "It was our seniors' last meet and everyone stepped up and had a good meet," he said.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9950