Boys' team takes first, girls' takes second
GERMANTOWN INDOOR SWIM CENTER, Feb. 12 –
Blair swim and dive (7-0) took first place at the Division II Competition this Saturday with a combined score of 819, defeating their closest competitor by more than 100 points.
The team finished off the regular season with a solid performance: the boys' (7-0) placed first with an astounding 439 points and the girls' (5-2) came second with a score of 380.
The boys' team placed first or second in every event besides the 100 Free, in which Blair took third. Senior co-captain Eric Ruggieri praised sophomore Jack Foster and freshman Kohler Sukachevin for their "come-from-behind" wins in the 100 Fly and 50 Free, respectively. Ruggieri also commended junior Jared Wang for competing in the 200 Free in place of senior co-captain Dennis Li, who had a sprained ankle.
The girls' team had scattered results, but did place within the top four in eight out of eleven events. Blair fell behind the undefeated Northwest team halfway through the meet and never regained the lead. Even so, senior co-captain Laura McGehee believed the meet was a successful one. Sophomore Jennifer Arai won the 500 Free and broke her own record for the 200 Free with a time of 1:58.92. The record for the 200 Free Relay was also broken, with McGehee, junior Elsa Dupre, Arai and sophomore Emily Lathrop earning a total time of 1:44.90.
Ruggieri said this meet boosted seed times, which will help give the boys' team an edge in the upcoming County Swimming Championship, but pointed out several areas for improvement. "There were some close finishes and a few races where we got touched out," he said. "If we change up certain race plans, we'll place better in counties."
Concerning the girls, McGehee also feels confident about the upcoming meet. "Though it was a close meet, we managed to pull through, flip a lot of races and turn the score in our favor," she said. "We're going to be tapering our practices and resting up for counties, but I have a good feeling about next week based on today's results."
Senior co-captain Winston Liu said the team's seniors, who have two meets left in their high school swim careers, stepped up the effort for this meet. "This meet shows how all the work we've put in over the last four years has paid off," Liu said. "Dennis [Li] did his best, and despite his injury, didn't let his relay down. Sofia [Read] gave it her all on the 50 Free and Eric [Ruggieri] was a double event winner."
In the girls' diving competition, senior Sophia Seidell, who holds the highest degree of difficulty in Division II for her back somersault with two and a half twists, won with a score of 214.90, nearly five points ahead of the second place winner. Senior captain Claire Hoffman congratulated Seidell for completing a reverse hurdle, one of the prerequisite dives, with only two days of prior training. Hoffman also praised freshman Brian Huang, who took fourth place in the boys' diving competition with 177.15 points, and sophomore Nick Seidell, who competed his reverse hurdle for the first time.
The dive team needs to improve on reverses before the County Diving Championships, but Hoffman appreciated the consistent judging at this meet. "The judges were fair in their scoring," she said. "In high school diving, scores are normally all over the map, but these results were very consistent. It was definitely encouraging for us."
Though there were some false starts and several swimmers were injured, the divisional win has given the swim team a boost going into the County Swimming Championship. "It was a strong way to finish off the regular season and go out with a bang," Liu said. "We would love to see everyone to come out and support us in the next few weeks."
Blair Swim and dive will compete in the County Championships from Feb. 17 to 19 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Indoor Swim Center.
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