Boys finish third, while girls clock in at 19th
FEB. 19, MARTIN LUTHER KING SWIM CENTER--
Blair's boys scored 240 points, placing third in the county after Walter Johnson and Whitman, while the girls scored 29 points for an 19th-place finish. Blair's 269 combined points allowed it to place sixth overall, just behind Division-II champion Churchill, which will be taking Blair's place in Division I next season.
Following the trend established during the regular season, the boys established their strength from the first event and never looked back. Although the Blazers never took the gold in any race, their consistent ability to place in the top six in nearly every individual event allowed Blair's score to remain near the top of the team standings as the meet progressed, and Blair's strong relay teams further reinforced Blair's position in the rankings.
Junior Bryan Erickson, senior co-captains Patrick Detzner and Ari Halper-Stromberg and junior co-captain Tyler Wilchek led Blair to its only second-place finish of the meet in the 400 Free Relay, winning Blair a whopping 34 points in the process. The four also set a new Blair record for that event with their time of 3:24:66, shaving nearly a second off the 3:25:77 record that they had established themselves only a week before. The Blazers also scored 32 points off a third-place finish in the 200 Free Relay and 24 from their seventh-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay, bringing Blair's total number of points earned from relays to an even 90.
While the results from these three relays combined to give the Blazers nearly 40 percent of its points, Blair could not have hoped to finish third in the county without strong efforts from its individual swimmers as well. As usual, the Blazers were led by a few strong swimmers in the freestyle events: Detzner and Wilchek earned Blair 48 points in the 50 and 100 Free races, while Halper-Stromberg and sophomore David Vuong added another 25 points to Blair's score by finishing sixth and eight, respectively, in the 200 and 500 Free. Though not a freestyler, freshman Yang Yang also swam a characteristically strong meet, placing fourth in both the 100 Breast and 200 Individual Medley.
While the talent of these top swimmers were crucial to Blair's success, the Blazers could not have placed so high without the efforts of a strong supporting group of swimmers as well, swimmers who may not be able to place in the top six but could nonetheless swim fast enough to earn Blair several points in each of their individual events. With the exception of the 200 Free and the One Meter Diving events, in fact, both of the Blazers swimming in each event place high enough to earn at least one point. This double-scoring was crucial in allowing Blair to surpass other teams that could field stronger top swimmers but did not have the same level of depth through so many events.
Just as the boys scored a large percentage of their points from the three relay events, the girls also relied heavily on relay finishes to boost their score. The Blazers captured 14th in the 200 Medley Relay and finished 15th in the 200 and 400 Free Relays, earning 14 of its 29 total points through these three races.
The rest of the girls' points would be won in two individual events, both swum by junior co-captain Kelsey Dean. Dean, Blair's top female long-distance swimmer, once again proved her strength in the 500 Free with an eighth-place finish in that event. Her 5:34:22 time won the Blazers 11 points -- over a third of the girls' total haul -- and also set a new Blair record. Dean later went on to place 13th in the 200 Free, earning Blair an additional four points and securing its 19th-place position on the final rankings.
According to Coach David Swaney, Blair's sixth-place overall finish was a solid indicator of the Blazers' relative strength in the county. "It was a slow meet,” he said, explaining that few Blazers swam best times, "but it wasn't just Blair that was having slow times. People were hitting their seed places, and we finished about where we should be.”
Blair will not swim in any more meets as a team this season, but qualifying Blazers will be participating in the Metropolitan Swimming Championships on Saturday, Feb. 26. This meet will be held at the Montgomery Aquatic Center, and its starting time has not yet been announced.
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 »