Blair takes handy victory over Eagles

Dec. 4, 2006, midnight | By Merlyn Deng | 14 years, 10 months ago

Blazers win 126-41, 110-46 in non-divisional meet


The Division II Blair swim team opened their season strongly last Saturday in a non-divisional meet against the Division IV Seneca Valley Eagles. Both the boys and girls swept far past the Eagles, winning 126-41, 110-46, respectively.

Since the meet does not count for the overall record, the captains and coach David Swaney used the meet as a chance for the the members to try out different events, according to junior captain Yang Yang. Despite the changes in the usual lineup, the boys swept numerous races, and the girls performed well. According to Swaney, the mixing up was a success. "I thought it was great...we had a lot of good swims by new kids on the team," he said. "[There were also] some surprises from people who have been on the team before."

The team, which posted a 6-0 (boys) and 1-5 (girls) record last year, returned with a new vibe, mostly due to the captains' commendable efforts to motivate the team. Throughout the entire meet, the whole team cheered on all sides of the pool, led by a new group of captains that Swaney said are "more organized and spirited from years past." The captains also took the excitement a step further by even offering guidance and encouragement to swimmers at the starting block. "I saw some of the captains really pumping up [the swimmers] before their races, and it made a difference," he said.

Both the boys and girls had many good swims, said Swaney. In the first half of the meet, the boys swept all the races, except the 200 Medley and 50 Free. Senior David Vuong won the 200 IM by swimming at 2:09:28. Sophomore Andrew McGehee placed second, finishing six seconds behind with 2:15:69. Of the girls, sophomore Melissa Mergner placed first swimming a 2:22:75.

Midway through the meet, the Blair divers made their debut. Senior Nicole Poor received 129.9 to place first, followed by sophomore Caitlin Ludington with 118.95. Junior Michael Willems led the boys with a 114.0 finish, placing second after Seneca Valley's diver.

After the break, instead of the girls' 500 Free event, there was an additional 100 Free. In the first heat, sophomore Melanie Snail placed first with 59:37, followed immediately by senior captain Sally Chang with 1:00:87 and Mergner with 1:03:91 to sweep the event. In the second heat, sophomore Tamara Castro swam a 1:06:59. Again, the boys swept almost all of their events, except for a place each in the 100 Free and 100 Breast.

The meet culminated to the boys and girls' 400 Free Relay events. Senior Matt Ludington, junior captain Christoff Visscher, senior David Goode and captain Yang led the sweep with a time of 3:39:88. Captain Chang, junior captain Franny Blume, Mergner and freshman Allison Arai were the first in the girls' sweep with a time of 4:17:62. By the end of the meet, members of the team, supporters and parents were still on their feet cheering.

The increased excitement and the strong captains this year are just two of the things that show promise for a successful season. Although the team lost several of their outstanding scorers and captains from last year, Swaney believes the freshmen on the team will more than compensate. Yang agreed, and added that more commitment to swimming during the season will also help the team. According to Yang, "a lot more people on the team are doing winter swimming," in addition to the mandatory after-school practices.

Junior captain Eddie Qian has high ambitions for the newly invigorated team. "I want to take the county championships [this year]," he said. The boys placed second last year at the February competition, while the girls placed 15th. Blair took 8th place overall.

The swim team will be competing against Magruder next Saturday for their first divisional meet. The meet will be at the Olney Swim Center at 11:30 a.m.

Merlyn Deng. Merlyn (Mer - LEEN) has an unhealthy fixation on Silver Chips Online, the Silver Chips Manifesto, red pens and serial commas. When not editing stories and racking her brain for SCO and its readers, she may be found haunting Blair's hallways or downtown Silver Spring. … More »

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