Courtesy of Matt Rees
Girls results: http://www.pvswim.org/1718hs/2018VaRegion6D_w.html
Boys results: http://www.pvswim.org/1718hs/2018VaRegion6D_m.html
For years, Northern Virginia has been a hotbed of elite high school swimming, and the atmospherics at the 6A Northern Region championship meet – typically held before a capacity crowd at the Oak Marr Rec Center – often lead to some of the fastest prep times in the country. Colleges have taken notice, and many Division 1 rosters include swimmers who competed at the meet in the past few years: Aaron Boyd, Laura Branton, Megan Byrnes, Jacqueline Clabeaux, Suzanne Dolan, Christian Ginieczki, Tommy Hallock, Janet Hu, James Jones, Emily Meilus, James Murphy, Sam Pomajevich, John Shebat, and Lane Stone, just to name a few.
The latest proof of Northern Virginia’s eminence came during Saturday night’s 6A Northern Region championship meet. Multiple swimmers went under the “automatic All-American” thresholds – many of them are seniors who have already committed to Division 1 schools. But there many other eye-popping times delivered by juniors, sophomores, and even a few notable freshmen.
But high school swimming is not just about individual performances, and one team stood out from the rest on Saturday dnight: James Madison, of Vienna. The Warhawks proved dominant, with the girls winning by 90 points over Oakton, while the boys finished six points of head of Langley, in McLean.
While depth played a key role for Madison, the girls received a huge boost from sophomore Anna Keating. She won the 100 breast in meet record time (1:01.38), building on the adrenalin delivered in the Flo Rida walk-out song “My House.” She was also part of two winning relays – the 200 medley (1:44.13) and the 200 free (1:35.63 – missing the meet record by .01). And in one of the most exciting races of the night, she tied Yorktown’s standout freshman Victoria Huske in the 200 IM. The dynamic duo had a see-saw battle, with Huske leading by more than four seconds after back, only to have Keating slice the margin to about 1.5 seconds after breast and then make up the rest in free, bringing the capacity crowd to its feet.
There were also four triple winners:
Casey Storch of Langley, who has committed to the University of Virginia, had dominant swims in the 200 IM (1:49.15) and the 100 breast (55.19 – missing the meet record by .01). He also delivered a 46.20 split in the 400 free relay, helping power the Saxons to a first-place finish in 3:07.31.
Corey Shepard, a senior at Osbourn Park, and a U.S. Air Force Academy commit, sprinted to victories in the 50 free (21.03) and the 100 free (45.62), while anchoring his team in their 200 free relay victory, splitting a lightning fast 20.15.
Daniel Gyenis, a junior at Oakton, won both the 200 free (1:38.42) and the 500 free (4:27.00). He also swam fly in the 200 medley relay, splitting a 22.19, which Oakton won in 1:33.10.
Anthony Grimm, a precocious freshman at Oakton, was the breakout swimmer of the night. He reeled off victories in the 100 fly (49.24) and the 100 back (48.90), and led off Oakton’s winning 200 medley relay with a blazing fast 22.16 backstroke leg. Local fans are already excited about getting to watch him, and Huske, for the next three years. See his post-meet interview with SwimSwam here.
There were also two double winners. Emily Hetzer, a senior at Battlefield and an Auburn commit, scored an upset victory in the 200 free (1:48.81), finishing ahead of last’s year’s winner, Notre Dame commit Sinead Eksteen (149.31), after trailing by a half second at the 150 mark. Hetzer also won the 500 (4:52.32).
Lexi Cuomo, a junior at Centreville, won both the 50 free (23.35) and the 100 fly (53.26) – a race she also won as a freshman and a sophomore. Not far behind Cuomo was the Yorktown freshman, Huske (53.62) – setting up a marquee race at next year’s meet.
Other individual winners were Elizabeth Kuhlkin, a sophomore at James Madison, who touched first in the 100 free (50.73) and Anna Redican, a sophomore at South Lakes, who prevailed in the 100 back (56.02).
Virtually all of these swimmers will be squaring off again at the state meet, being held at George Mason University on February 17. And with so many standout swimmers returning next year and beyond, the 6A region meet will continue to be a “can’t miss” event for dedicated swim fans.