Gonzaga wins third straight crown; Holton-arms narrowly wins girls’ title
As Gonzaga Coach Josh Klotz climbed out of the pool Saturday night — his clothes drenched after his team’s dominant performance at the Washington Metropolitan Prep School Swim and Dive League championships — he watched his team hoist one another into the air and relished a familiar feeling.
Gonzaga had the most vocal, rambunctious team on the deck Saturday.
It had the strongest in the pool, too. The Eagles posted 500 points to claim a third straight WMPSSDL title at the Takoma Aquatic Center in Northwest. Georgetown Prep took second (319) and Good Counsel (282) finished third.
Holton-Arms (294.5) captured the girls’ title in a dramatic fashion. It rallied past Good Counsel (294) in the final race, the 400yard freestyle relay.
“Our depth was unbelievable,” Klotz said. “Last year, we lost 15 seniors going into it and a lot of people doubted us. Everyone who was entered in the meet for Gonzaga scored.”
The Eagles were led by senior captain Paul O’Hara. He set a meet-record in the 200 individual medley (1 minute 53.41 seconds) and followed with a decisive win in the 100 breaststroke.
Gonzaga, which led throughout, also picked up a team win in the 200 freestyle relay.
Good Counsel won the 400 yard freestyle relay in the final boys’ event, capping a dominant day for Jack Conger. The senior set two meet records in the 50 free (19.94) and the 100 butterfly (46.70), but he had hoped to break national records in both events.
“It was a goal for me to get it,” Conger said. “I’m not tapered right now, I still went to nine practices this week. So the fact that I can go less times with being this rested, it gives me a lot of confidence next week for Metros.”
Good Counsel’s Catherine Mulquin, who won the 100 free, led Holton-Arms sophomore Caroline McTaggart for the first half of the final leg of the 400 free relay. But McTaggart surged ahead in the final 50 yards to out-touch Mulquin at the wall.
“I knew going in that if we won, we would win by .5,” Holton-Arms Coach Graham Westerberg. “I put those four girls there for a reason.” Holton-Arms (3:32.69) finished just ahead of Good Counsel (3:33.52) to set a meet record in a fitting finish to the day.
Stone Ridge finished third overall with 282.5 points. Katie Ledecky, an Olympic gold medalist in London, set meet records in the 200 free (1:45:07) and the 100 butterfly (54.38).
“We’ve been preparing for it as a team,” McTaggart said of the win over Good Counsel and Stone Ridge. “Our spirit really propelled us.”