Sebring, Barnett, and Donnick Double Up at MPSSAA Small School Meet

2022 MPSSAA Maryland High School State Championships (Class 1A-2A-3A Boys & Girls)

Senior Carly Sebring and a deep Damascus High School team overcame the 6-time defending champions from Poolesville and a young and talent-heavy La Plata squad to win the Maryland Girls’ High School State Championship meet in February. Meanwhile seniors Konnor Chen and Maxwell Chen led Poolseville High School to its 10th-straight boys title.

This was the first state title meet since 2020 after COVID-19 safety protocols shut down the 2021 championships.

Girls’ Recap

Top 5 Teams:

  1. Damascus – 283
  2. Poolesville – 267
  3. La Plata – 207
  4. Easton High – 204
  5. Patterson Mill – 139

After finishing second to Poolesville at each of the last two Maryland small school championships, Damascus won its first state title in girls’ swimming at the meet.

While Damascus didn’t win many races, they were led by star senior Carly Sebring, who is committed to swim at Auburn in the fall.

Sebring won the 100 fly in 54.78 and finished 2nd in the 100 back in 54.82. She was also part of the team’s other win, anchoring their 400 free relay. There, with Kaitlyn HunterVeronica Ivanovskaya, and Sophia Witt, the school swam 3:34.13 to win by over three seconds.

Sebring will graduate with five individual state titles, out of a maximum of six, but what is perhaps most impressive is that those state titles came in four different events. As a freshman, she won the 200 IM and 100 free, and as a sophomore, she won the 50 free and 100 free.

Her time in the 100 fly also broke her classmate Kaitlyn Hunter’s 3A/2A/1A State Record of 57.02 and just missed the overall MPSSAA record by .07 seconds. Hunter, also a senior, swam the 50 and 100 freestyle instead this season.

Sebring was a touch faster in both races (54.49 fly, 54.38 back) two weeks earlier at the METRO Championships, a high school championship meet for teams in the DC Metro area. She won both races there.

This was a senior-heavy Damascus team that was lined up to make its big run at a state title this year, and they were successful in that endeavor. Out of 177 individual points scored by the Hornets, 142 of them (more than 80%) were scored by seniors.

At the other end of the spectrum was a very young, but very fast, team from La Plata High School that placed 3rd. Sophomore Addy Donnick, getting her first crack at the MPSSAA championship meet, won both the 100 free (50.95) and 100 backstroke (53.68), both in big lifetime bests. Her previous fastest time in the 100 backstroke, from December, was 56.48.

Her 100 backstroke time crushed both the 3A/2A/1A Meet Record and the 3A/4A record as well. Donnick just-missed another championship record, finishing .15 seconds behind Sebring’s class mark in the 100 free.

She also swam the leadoff backstroke leg on La Plata’s winning 200 medley relay (along with freshman Jadyn Woolsey, senior Emma French, and junior Kaeleigh Cupples), and the anchor leg on the team’s winning 200 free relay (with the same foursome).

The medley relay swam 1:48.69, which missed Poolesville’s State Record by .12 seconds, and the 200 free relay swam 1:38.92, winning by four-and-a-half seconds and crushing the old state record of 1:40.75 that was set in 2014 by C. Milton Wright.

She split 25.56 on the medley relay leadoff and 23.27 on the 200 free relay anchor.

By contrast to Damascus, only 10 of La Plata’s 113 individual points were scored by seniors, which is less than 9%.

Woolsey, the freshman, won the title in the 50 free in 24.17, just .08 seconds ahead of Hunter (24.25) and another .03 ahead of Harford Tech’s Emerson Young (24.28), and also finished 2nd in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.35.

That 100 breaststroke was won by Middletown’s Heidi Tomlin in 1:07.22.

The team runners-up from Poolesville were led by junior Anna Li. She dominated the 200 IM in 2:06.84, winning by four-and-a-half seconds. She also finished 3rd in the 100 fly.

Poolesville won the last 6 state titles in MPSSAA smaller schools classification. They still showed they’re one of the best programs in the state by finishing 2nd in the 200 and 400 free relays, as well as 3rd in the 400 medley relay. They fall in between La Plata and Damascus in terms of age: they are not as young as La Plata, but return more firepower than Damascus, and will be the favorites to land atop the podium at next year’s state meet.

Other Event Winners:

  • Easton High School junior Molly Kroeger won the girls’ 200 free in 1:53.76. At the time, that was a personal best by 1.8 seconds – she had been 1:55.53 in December. Kroeger added a sweep of the middle distance races with a 5:05.21 in the 500 free, winning by more than 7 seconds (and holding off a Poolesville 2-3). That is not a race she swims often, and her previous best in the event was a 5:12.88 from January of 2020. She led Easton High to a 4th-place finish.

Boys’ Meet

Top 5 Teams:

  1. Poolesville High School – 372
  2. Rockville High School – 235
  3. Damascus High School – 179
  4. Patterson Mill High School – 169
  5. La Plata High School – 134

The boys from Poolesville High School completed a decade of dominance, winning their 10th straight Maryland State Championship trophy, dating back to 2012.

It was a dominant performance for the Poolesville boys, which included a clean-sweep of the relays. The 200 medley and 400 free relays also broke MPSSAA 3A/2A/1A State Records.

Seven different swimmers participated in their relay results:

200 medley relay 200 free relay 400 free relay
1st leg Andrei Hancu – 24.62 Gordon Leeroy – 22.68
Gordon Leeroy – 48.49
2nd leg Ben Nachod – 26.89 Ben Nachod – 22.11
Maxwell Chen – 47.35
3rd leg Maxwell Chen – 23.25 Pacawat Luu – 22.30
Konnor Chen – 47.25
4th leg Konnor Chen – 20.89 Orluke Borjigin – 22.56
Orluke Borjigin – 49.13
Final Time 1:35.65 1:29.65 3:12.22
Old State Record 1:37.70 (2020 Poolesville) 1:29.09 (2014 Poolesville)
3:14.29 (2020 Poolesville)

Part of the school’s individual effort was 71 points from seniors Konnor Chen and Maxwell Chen, who are not brothers.

Maxwell, who will swim for Division III school Cal Tech next season, won the 100 fly in 50.92, just out-touching Chesapeake High’s Tyler Downing (50.98). He also finished 2nd in the 200 IM.

Konnor Chen finished 2nd in both the 50 free (21.40) and the 100 backstroke (52.92).

Like the girls’ winners from Damascus, Poolesville didn’t win a lot of individual events – Konnor Chen’s 100 fly (a new State Record) was the team’s only individual victory. But they amassed huge points with a lot of top four finishes in the meet. They had at least one swimmer in the top four of every individual event in the meet, and in four of the eight individual events they finished 2-3.

The dominant individual force of the meet was Rockville High School junior Toby Barnett. He successfully defended his title in the 200 IM with a 1:47.15 – almost ten seconds better than the field. At the time, that cut a second-and-a-half off his personal best in the event, though he went 1:46 at NCSAs a month later.

That swim broke the 3A/2A/1A record of 1:54.20 that was set in 2017 by Remington Oland from Catoctin High School. It is also easily the fastest time in either classification – the 4A/3A record is 1:49.02.

He later set another 3A/2A/1A Record by winning the 100 breaststroke in 55.09. The old record was 57.19, set by AJ Navaleza of Demascus in 2020.

Barnett is verbally committed to the Indiana Hoosiers for the fall of 2023.

He wasn’t the only winner for the runners-up from Rockville High School. His senior teammate Theodore Ament won the 200 free in 1:42.52 and the 500 free in 4:35.62. In both cases, he held off a 2-3 finish from Poolesville High swimmers. In the 500, that included a .23 second margin of victory over Poolesville senior Borjigin, a WashU commit.

There were three double winners on the day individually in the boys’ pool. The other was Taj Benton from Baltimore City College, which in spite of its name, is a high school (and one of the oldest active public high schools in the United States).

Benton won the 50 free (20.81) and 100 free (45.76). In both cases, those times were faster than the records of either of the two MPSSAA meets. He broke the class record in the 50 that was previously held by Harford Technical’s Tucker Young (21.30), and in the 100 that was set by Rockville’s Griffin Alaniz (46.45) in 2016.

In 2020, Benton won the state title in the 100 fly, which made him the first City swimmer to win a state title in swimming.

Other Winners:

  • Kade Snyder of Patterson Mill High School won the boys’ 100 back in 50.98. Snyder, only a sophomore, was the youngest individual swimmer on the boys’ side of the meet. He is just the 3rd swimmer in school history to win an individual state title after Alan Nguyen and Jack Leary.

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Megan Donnick
9 months ago

Thanks for sharing and great article, but the title is misleading…only Donnick and Barnett were double individual winners. Donnick was a quad winner if you want to count the relays. Don’t think anyone else did that?

AJ Wong
9 months ago

The Chens😂 they brothas in heart

Jake Novak
9 months ago

Congrats Carly, War Eagle!

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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