Swimmers stand tall at state meets
Swimmers come up big at 3A-2A-1A state event; La Plata boys finish SMAC-best 5th
COLLEGE PARK — Southern Maryland Athletic Conference swim teams did not enjoy a lot of success at the Class 4A-3A state champion- ships held earlier in the day Saturday, but it was a different story for the 3A-2A-1A swim teams lat- er in the day at the University of Maryland’s Eppley Recreation Center and Natatorium.
The conference sent 14 swimmers and relay teams to the podium and had three top-3 finishers. Huntingtown’s Rebekah Johnson was second in the 100-yard backstroke, the La Plata boys were runners-up in the 200yard freestyle relay and Connor Currie of Hun- tingtown was third in the 500-yard free.
On the boys side, the Warriors finished a SMAC-best fifth with 118 points. Calvert High School was 14th (59 points), Huntingtown tied Thomas Johnson of Frederick County for 17th (43), McDonough finished 21st (11) and Lackey too 22nd (10). Poolesville of Montgomery County won the meet with 347.5 points.
Poolesville also won the girls meet after compiling 363 points. Huntingtown finished a SMACbest 11th with 67 points, while La Plata was 15th (48), Calvert took 21st (29), Westlake was 25th (23.5) and Patuxent finished 26th (23).
Swimmers had to place in the top 16 in an event to register a team point.
The Warriors were led by the boys 200 free relay team of Michael Bowlin, Liam and Connor Vienneau and Osly Melendez, who finished second in 1 minute 32.45 seconds. Poolesville won
the event in 1:28.18.
Conor Vienneau was fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (54.92 seconds) and sixth in the 200 individual medley (2:02.57, about 2 1/2 seconds better than his seeded time).
“It was good; I added a second [to my seeded time], but I’m still happy,” Vienneau said of the 100 back. “I’m just a freshman swimming with seniors, so I think I did pretty well with how old I am. I’m pretty happy.”
The boys 200 medley relay team of Conor and Liam Vienneau, Melendez and Kristopher Schueller placed fifth in 1:43.29 and Megan Schueller (50 free, 25.27), Liam Vienneau (200 free, 1:50.77) and the girls 200 free relay team of Megan Schueller, Cameron Langley and Summer and Savannah Maddox (1:48.82) all placed sixth.
“Yeah, I’m excited. I’m so happy I could get up on the podi- um,” Liam Vienneau said of the 200 free. “It was a pretty good race, I was just trying to keep up with the guy next to me and I think I did that pretty well.”
A two-time visitor to the podium was Westlake’s Emily Decker. The junior tied for sixth place — with Maggie Jones of Kent County — in the 100 free (56.19) and added an eighth-place finish in the 50 free (25.47).
“I was really nervous,” Deck- er said of the 100 free. “I knew I was seeded pretty high, but I also knew that eight of the top nine times were all within a second. I was hoping to do better in the 50, but my goal was to get on the podium today and I did. And my ribbon matches my orange warmup jacket.”
“The reason she’s so successful is she’s a true athlete,” West- lake head coach Troy Great- house said. “She has heart, she doesn’t give up and she should be awfully proud of herself.”
Marc Landicho of Mc- Donough was eighth in the 50 free with a personal record of 22.85 seconds.
“I came in here thinking I’d come in maybe 11th, but I swam my best time ever,” said Landicho, who also broke the school record in the event. “When I got out there I was super nervous. It’s very intense when you get out there — I was losing feeling in my limbs and stuff — I can’t describe the feeling. [But] as soon as the bell went off I could see people behind me as I hit the water.”
Lackey’s highest finish was 12th by its boys 200 free relay team of Shaun Butler, Patric Island, Bryan Mentzer and Jer- maine Thompson (1:38.84).
Thomas Stone’s Douglas Goodell Jr. placed 20th in the 50 free (24.27).
Johnson of Huntingtown fin- ished the 100 back in 1:00.92, 1.68 seconds behind state champion Moshelle Borjigin of Poolesville.
“I’m really happy because I gave it my all and I was tired af- ter, which is how I know I had a good race,” said Johnson, a senior who also placed 11th in the 50 free (26.06). “For me the key was kicking because that’s most of my power push and I could feel my legs kind of dy- ing at the end but I kept pushing through it.”
Currie, who completed his third-place 500 free swim in 5:04.86, also placed 15th in the 200 IM.
“It feels really great because I’ve had some difficult times over the last few months,” said Currie, who is experienc- ing unexplained seizures. “It’s caused me to miss a major amount of [practice] time. I had a good start, but I kind of got tired over the last five laps.”
Teammate Sarah Cole added a sixth-place finish in the 500 free (5:32.37).
“I kind of just went out and did it,” Cole said of the race, which broke her previous personal record of 5:34 set last weekend at the 3A-2A-1A South Region championships. “I’ve swam this race a lot before. It’s one of my regular races, so I’m pretty comfortable with it. I just went out there and swam my best.”
Huntingtown’s Carlos Bala- zs finished the 500 free in 5:25.92, which placed 16th overall but was 12 seconds off his seeded time.
“I just went for it,” he said. “Not [surprised] really because last time I swam [the event] I kind of reserved energy. This time I just went all out from the beginning.”
Patuxent was led by Mackenzie Morgan, who made two trips to the podium. The senior was seventh in the girls 500 free (5:42.38) and eighth in the 200 free (2:07.05).
“It was a really good race so I’m really excited,” Morgan said of the 500 free. “I started out a lot faster than I thought I would, but I started to get really tired. It’s pretty cool [to be seventh in the state].”
Calvert was led by Ben Voelker, who was ninth in the 100 back (55.83) and 10th in the 200 IM (2:08.97). Walter Kuhaneck was ninth in the 50 free (22.90) and 10th in the 100 butterfly (56.60). The boys 200 medley relay team of Kuhaneck, Paul Goldsmith and Connor Gleason was also 10th. (1:46.68).
STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID La Plata senior Liam Vienneau placed ninth in the 100-yard butterfly in 56.52 seconds at the Class 3A-2A-1A state championships on Saturday in College Park.
STAFF PHOTOS BY MICHAEL REID Westlake junior Emily Decker tied for sixth place in the 100-yard freestyle (56.19 seconds) and added an eighth-place finish in the 50 free (25.47).
The La Plata 200-yard freestyle relay team of Megan Schueller, left, Cameron Langley, Savannah Maddox and Summer Maddox pose atop the podium at the Class 3A-2A-1A state championships on Saturday in College Park. The quartet finished in sixth in 1 minute 48.92 seconds.