Boys place eighth despite intense private-school competition
FEB. 26, MONTGOMERY AQUATIC CENTER--
Every year, after the regular season is over and done with, after divisional and county championship trophies have been awarded and the annual inter-division demotions and promotions are finalized, Montgomery County's swimmers get one last chance to race before it's time to leave the pool until next year: the Metropolitan Area Championships. The Championships bring together qualifying swimmers from 46 teams from around the region, including several top-ranked private school teams, and the level of competition at the meet is far more intense than at any county-sponsored equivalent.
The Blazers boys held their own against the competition, however, earning 94 points to place 8th in the boys' rankings. Blair's girls were not so lucky and ended the meet without scoring, but the boys' score was also enough to secure Blair the 19th spot in the overall team rankings.
Although the Blazer girls sent four swimmers to Metros last year, only one of whom graduated in 2004, junior co-captain Kelsey Dean was the only Blazer to qualify for an individual event in this year's competition. Dean placed 39th and 40th in the 500 and 200 Free events, respectively. The Blazer girls also took 29th in the 200 Free Relay and 30th in the 200 Medley Relay, but were unable to break into the score-earning top 16 in any event.
For Blair's boys, however, the 2005 Metro meet was a drastic improvement from the year before, when the Blazers sent only five individual swimmers and two relay teams to the meet for a total of 32 points. The boys scored especially well in relays this year, finishing sixth, eighth and 13th respectively in the 200 Free, 400 Free and 200 Medley Relays for a total of 56 points. Freshman Yang Yang, senior co-captains Patrick Detzner and Ari Halper-Stromberg and junior co-captain Tyler Wilchek set a new Blair record for the third consecutive week in the 400 Free Relay, completing the race with a time of 3:22:28.
The Blazers' success was not limited to the relay events, however, and the boys enjoyed similar triumphs in the individual events -- especially the freestyle races. Wilchek led the boys with a sixth-place finish in the 100 Free and a 13th-place finish in the 50 Free, earning 17 points for Blair and a 32nd-place spot on the individual boys' rankings. Detzner (50 Free) and sophomore David Vuong (100 Back) both took 11th in their respective events, and Vuong also broke his own school record in the 500 Free with a time of 4:57:49.
Halper-Stromberg rounded out the boys' freestyles triumphs with a 16th-place finish in the 200 Free, but was unable to translate his success into a different stroke: He finished 17th and scoreless in the 100 Fly by only 30 hundredths of a second, a fate similar to that of freshman Eddie Tang, who missed placing in the 100 Breast by 31 hundredths of a second. Along with Vuong, Yang was the only Blazer to score in the non-freestyle strokes, placing 14th in the 200 Individual Medley and 16th in the 100 Breast. Earlier in the meet, junior Sam Silsbee also finished 16th in the One Meter Dive -- the first time that a Blazer has placed in that event since 1997.
According to the three boys' captains, the Blazer boys performed "great” at Metros this year. "We improved a lot from last year," Detzner said, and Halper-Stromberg agreed: "We had three people in finals last year; this year, we had two relays in the top eight and five people in finals. It's good that so many people scored,” Halper-Stromberg added. "It shows that we are a good team.”
Kristina Yang. Kristina Yang is 1/10 of the Blair girls' volleyball team. When not on the court, she most likely to be running away from Magnet math homework, trying to pay off her three speeding/redlight tickets, or feeding her bubble tea addiction. She would also like to ... More »