North Point girls claim first-ever SMAC swim meet title
North Point girls swim team claims first-ever SMAC meet title
North Point head swim coach Jeff Rivenburg turned 38 on Sunday. One day earlier, he got one big birthday present.
Saturday, the Eagles’ girls program made history with its first-ever championship at the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference swim championships, held at the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center’s aquatic center in St. Mary’s City.
Just weeks after dethroning Leonardtown for the regular season crown, North Point scored 427 points to win the conference meet title, edging the Raiders by 17 while Northern placed third with 360. Leonardtown took home top honors in boys with 380 points, with North Point in second with 369.50 and Northern grabbing third with 367.
The Eagles girls saved the best for last, setting a new SMAC record in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team of Car- la Arquero, Kerrigan McMillen, Mya Rivenburg and Nathalie LaFontant finished the race in 3 minutes 47.65 seconds, breaking Leonardtown’s 2016 record by nearly a second.
Leonardtown won the first two laps, but it was Rivenburg who made the difference in the third lap to pull the Eagles ahead and beat the Raiders by nearly four seconds.
“In the 400, we knew that we were up, but we knew if we wanted to win, we had to swim legally and that we couldn’t make any mistakes,” Mya Rivenburg said. “Finding out that we got the SMAC record was absolutely crazy. It’s the best feeling ever. I think both of our teams did an extraordinary job today. Leonardtown is an extraordinary team and that will always be great competition and have great drive. To know that we gave everything that we had today is an amazing feeling.”
Jeff Rivenburg said he’s been asking for this gift for a couple years.
“We needed some points going in to give us a buffer before the final relay,” he said. “Leonardtown’s 400 free relay is dom- inant, so we wanted to make sure we had a little bit of a point margin. I didn’t expect the girls to set a SMAC record there so that’s pretty cool. We had to get that buffer because nobody can beat Hayley Newton head to head. As good as we are, we had to get our lead secured. It was pretty impressive.”
North Point’s 400 free relay record was one of seven new SMAC marks set Saturday.
Leonardtown’s girls 200 medley relay of Leila McCloskey, Emma Carrigg, Hayley Newton and Kaylee Simcic finished in 1 minute 56.59 seconds, breaking a 2006 record.
Newton, a junior, also went on to win two more events. She broke her own SMAC record in the 200 individual medley (2:11.54), edging Northern junior Kelly Moton by seven one-hundredths of a second.
Newton also captured the 100 butterfly, touching the wall in 1:00.37, just beating Northern junior Laurel Gallaudet by three one-hundredths of a second.
“The 200 IM was one of my favorite races of the day,” Newton said. “It feels good to be pushed by such great athletes and having close races is so much more fun and I really appreciated the sportsmanship of the Northern girls swim team. It was so refreshing. I’m proud of all the Leonardtown swim girls. They didn’t give up anything and I’m excited for next season.
“I have to give it to North Point. It was obvious that those girls worked hard throughout their season and earned their win.”
It was also a good day for the Great Mills girls 200 free relay, who broke their own 2016 SMAC record of 1:46.68 with Hayley Mesmer, Samantha Chan, Jessica Mesmer and Savannah O’Dell. O’Dell touched the wall to give the quartet a time of 1:45.45.
O’Dell, a junior, won the 200 free in 2:02.19, prevailing over Rivenburg. The North Point sophomore won the first and third laps, with O’Dell taking the second and final and was all smiles after the tough race.
“I decided to gut it out, but slipping was not the best way I could have done that,” O’Dell said. “I really wanted to keep it strong and I’ve been working really hard on it, so I wanted to show it off. I’m more of a finisher. I like negative splits better, so I was just going for the neg- ative splits, so I was perfectly fine with that.”
Gallaudet broke a 2003 SMAC record in the 500 free by over a second, pacing herself to win in 5:22.43. Sophomore teammate Nolan Dennes also set a new SMAC record in the 100 fly in 54.14 seconds, breaking a 2016 time of 54.41.
Moton broke a 2009 SMAC record in the 100 breaststroke when she won in 1:08.00, breaking the previous mark by nearly a second.
“We had best times and many incredible races and really performed well as a team,” Moton said via text message with Southern Maryland Newspapers. “My races all went very well and I knew my 200 IM was going to be a tough race, but we both went best times so it was just fun to race against her [Newton].”
Huntingtown senior Bekah Johnson was a double winner, with wins in the 100 free (55.92) and 100 backstroke (1:03.14). And North Point’s LaFontant, a freshman, won
Leonardtown came up with three individual wins en route to taking the crown over North Point.
Junior Ben Carrigg won the 100 free (51.81), freshman Kyle Rock picked up a clear win in the 500 free (5:03.69) and the 400 free relay team finished in 3:29.22.
“I’ve been lucky to see them grow and get to this level. It’s Raiders boys claim SMAC meet title something I’ve always wanted to do,” Raiders assistant coach Alex Smith said. Head coach Chuck Jacobs wasn’t present due to a scheduling conflict. “I’ve never been bored coaching. I’m very proud of Alec Bacon, Ben Carrigg. Both of them are junior captains who stepped up to the plate and really worked hard today and swam some of their best times today. Kyle Rock moved up some places and swam amaz- ing. the whole team really. We have a lot of kids who play dif- ferent sports who pull together. We had two DQ’s and were still able to pull it off, so I’m proud of them.”
La Plata freshman Conor Vienneau was a double winner, capturing the 200 IM (2:03.18) and 100 back (55.24). His brother Liam Vienneau, a senior took home first place in the 200 free in 1:51.25. The Warriors also claimed the 200 free relay (1:34.65)
North Point junior Tyler Whitsett won the 100 breast (1:05.64) and the Eagles claimed the 200 medley relay (1:44.76).
Calvert junior Walter Kuhaneck took the title in the 50 free (23.47).
Kuhaneck said he didn’t swim his best time in the event, but was happy overall.
“I can’t be too mad about it since it got me first place,” he said. “I usually talk to some of my teammates and they get me psyched up for it and I get into a zone and I know what I want to do in the race. And since it’s so short, you can’t make too many mistakes. You just have to get everything perfect to get the time you’re looking for. Connor [Gleason], since he’s a senior and his last season, he’s always pushing me. He’s one of my best friends, so I’m just trying to make him proud during the season.” Twitter: @tamlynnusa
The North Point Eagles celebrate an early birthday gift for coach Jeff Rivenburg after the girls win the first-ever SMAC swim championships title with 427 points, 17 better than Leonardtown. The boys finished second with 369.50 points, while Leonardtown captured first with 380.