Oak­ton leaves marks as it re­peats

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALL METSPORTS.COM - BY BRYAN FLA­HERTY fla­her­tyb@wash­post.com

As Janet Hu took her fi­nal strokes into the wall in the girls’ 400-yard freestyle re­lay, her Oak­ton team­mates on deck ex­ploded into a fit of joy, hug­ging each other as they cel­e­brated the team’s fifth state record at Satur­day’s Vir­ginia AAA state swim­ming and div­ing cham­pi­onship meet.

Oak­ton claimed its sec­ond con­sec­u­tive girls’ state ti­tle, dou­bling up sec­ond-place York­town, 275128. The Cougars did it in dom­i­nat­ing fash­ion by cap­tur­ing four in­di­vid­ual ti­tles and win­ning all three re­lays at Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity’s McKay Nata­to­rium.

The Robin­son boys topped Madi­son (218.50-192.50) to take home their first state ti­tle since 2009.

“Th­ese girls chose to go out in a big way,” Oak­ton Coach Parker Rams­dell said. “Set­ting two re­lay records and miss­ing the third by about four-tenths of a sec­ond shows just how much of a team ef­fort this win was. We aren’t just a cou­ple great swim­mers, we’re a team.”

No swim­mer was more im­pres­sive for the Cougars than Hu, the 2012 All-Met Swim­mer of the Year, who was in a class of her own all night. The ju­nior pro­vided jaw­drop­ping splits in the 200 med­ley and 400 freestyle re­lays, both of which set new state marks.

In­di­vid­u­ally, she re­set her own state and pool records in the 100 but­ter­fly and 100 back­stroke. She touched in 52.84 sec­onds in the but­ter­fly and 53.27 in the back­stroke, fin­ish­ing with open water be­tween her­self and sec­ond place in both races.

Hu’s fresh­man team­mate, Me­gan Byrnes also set a state record for the Cougars in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:49.75 — more than 10 sec­onds faster than the sec­ond-place fin­isher. Oak­ton sopho­more Laura Bran­ton won the 100 freestyle (50.79), nar­rowly up­set­ting 50 free win­ner Abi Speers of Lan­g­ley (50.82).

In the boys’ meet, Robin­son flipped the script from the North­ern Re­gion meet two weeks ago, where the Rams fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Madi­son.

“Last year we weren’t even top 10 at this meet. We had some tal­ented fresh­men come in, but this was about more than just a few swim­mers,” Robin­son Coach Philip Caslavka said. “Not one swim­mer from our med­ley re­lay scored in­di­vid­u­ally, but their sixth-place fin­ish was the dif­fer­ence in the meet.”

Fresh­man James Murphy shined for the Rams by win­ning the 100 freestyle in 45.70 and pro­vid­ing an­chor legs in the 200 and 400 freestyle re­lays which fin­ished sec­ond. Murphy also took sec­ond in the 200 freestyle, fall­ing to Chan­tilly se­nior Chris Grim­mett-Nor­ris, who swam a near per­fect fi­nal 100 yards to out-touch Murphy, 1:39.16 to 1:39.31. Both swim­mers went un­der the pre­vi­ous state mark.

Jef­fer­son sopho­more An­drew Seliskar posted an­other im­pres­sive state meet with two state records and a pool record. He won the 200 in­di­vid­ual med­ley, break­ing the state and pool marks with a time of 1:46.09. He also shat­tered his own 100 but­ter­fly record with a time of 47.92, less than a sec­ond off the na­tional pub­lic high school record held by Madi­son’s Sean Fletcher, set at the 2009 state meet.

“I felt fast tonight,” Seliskar said. “I was glad to come out and get my team the points they needed. Set­ting records is just a bonus.”

Madi­son’s Grayson Camp­bell won the boys’ div­ing ti­tle with 497.30 points. McLean’s Caro­line McCleary won the girls’ com­pe­ti­tion with 393.65 points.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG KA­PUSTIN/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

TOP: Robin­son fresh­man James Murphy checks the re­sults af­ter win­ning the 100-yard freestyle. ABOVE: Jef­fer­son’s An­drew Seliskar nearly broke a na­tional record while win­ning the 100 but­ter­fly. LEFT: Janet Hu set four records, in­clud­ing the 100 fly, and the cham­pion Oak­ton girls set five.

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