(Jan. 25, 2014) – The first ever Conference 14 swim championship had the expected and the unexpected.
As expected the Potomac Falls High School boys swim team, which all but dominated the Dulles District with 8 titles in 12 years, swam away with the boys title behind the junior dynamic duo of William Lin and Justin Touve, who each captured two events and had a hand in the three Panther winning relays.
The unexpected came in the tight girls race where Freedom, which snuck up on the Cedar Run District last year to take the school’s first girls swim title. did it again this year as the Eagles erased a slight deficit to Stone Bridge in the final three events with sophomore Katherine Wroniewicz (100 back) and senior Maggie Eaton (100 breast) each winning races.
The Eagles finished with 341 points for the title with Stone Bridge runner-up at 322 and Broad Run, which nipped the Bulldogs in the final race of the night, the 400 meter relay, by .02, came in third at 321. The balanced field had Tuscarora at 289.5 and Briar Woods at 287 with Potomac Falls (249.5) rounding out the 6-school event. Broad Run had edged Freedom in the regular season, head-to-head, 149-137.
On the boys side it was all Potomac Falls as the Panthers piled up 432 points to out-distance Briar Woods at 368 and Broad Run at 336. Tuscarora (243), Freedom (218) and Stone Bridge (213) rounded out the scoring.
The Freedom girls were swimming under first year coach Kim Puckli who took over for Brent Miller after he moved up to the assistant athletic director position in South Riding.
The top four in each event and top four relays automatically move onto the 5A North meet, as well as those swimmers that have already booked state qualifying cuts.
What the Potomac Falls boys and Freedom girls did have in common Friday were rosters that had just two seniors scoring points — surely a scary thought for opponents next year.
Potomac Falls had 16 athletes score points in the meet, half of which are part of a sparkling junior class including Lin (200 and 500 free winner), Touve (50 and 100 free winner), and Vincent Marrocco (3rd 50 free; 5th 100 fly). Those three each swam on 2 of the 3 winning Panther relays along with senior Jonathan Perry (4th in 50 free; 6th 100 fly). Those four alone totaled a whopping 218 points.
Bryce Dowling, the Panthers other senior scoring, was on the opening winning medley relay and scored in the 200 IM (7th) and 100 breast (5th).
It’s not just the Panther juniors that are loaded with talent, Potomac Falls sophomore swim class includes Christopher Perry (3rd 200 IM; 6th 100 back) and Jonathan Weese (8th 200 free; 9th 100 back), both part of a winning relay.
Other Panther juniors scoring: Daniel Zhang (9th 200 free, 10th 50o free), Illya Ovchynnikov (4th 100 breast), John Deker (5th 100 free), Samuel Mclean (6th 500 free) and Gianluca Grignoli Portillo (10th 100 free).
Potomac Falls sophomores scoring: Nick Holmberg (9th 200 free and a winning relay), William Shangraw (7th 100 breast), Ryan Wells (9th 100 fly) and Wyatt Pontius (13th 100 back).
Lin and Touve paced the Panthers from the start with Lin opening the medley relay and then Touve anchoring the 1:41.14 win. Linn timed 1:47.40 in the 200 free and 4:48.90 in the 500 free to take titles. He also anchored the final race of the night, a 3:27.85 winning 400 free relay.
Touve sprinted to wins with a 22.07 in the 50 free 48.08 in the 100 free. He anchored the winning 200 free relay that finished at 1:32.94.
On the boys side, both Briar Woods and Tuscarora had two individual winners each.
Huskies sophomore Simon Shi won the 200 IM (1:59.85) and was runner-up in the 100 fly. Teammate, senior Sam Presgraves took the 100 breast (1:01.13) and was 3rd in the 200 free.
Falcon senior Brennan Maxwell was first in the 100 fly (53.24) and 3rd in the 100 back. Teammate, junior Derek Rothrock was first in the 100 back (56.78) and runner-up in the 100 free.
Potomac Falls and Briar Woods were the only two schools to automatically qualify all three relay teams for the regional meet. Tuscarora and Stone Bridge qualified two out of three and every school will be represented from the conference at Regionals in the relays as Broad Run and Freedom each qualified one relay. Other relay teams may have already earned a spot via a regular season meet time.
On the girls side, the eagles win was guided by a senior (Eaton), a junior (Olivia Doherty) and four sophomores (Wroniewicz, Molly Manning, Caitlin Campbell and Baylie Delean).
Wroniewicz and Eaton had the only individual wins with Wroniewicz first in the 100 back (59.43) and runner-up in the 200 IM. Eaton won the 100 breast (1:12.97) and was 5th in the 100 fly. Both were part of the Eagles winning medley relay to start the meet along with Manning (6th in both 200 IM and 100 free) and Doherty (11th 50 free; 10th 1oo free).
Campbell was part of two strong relays and was 5th in both the 200 and 500 free. Delan, scoring in one relay, was 7th in the 50 free and 5th in the 100 back.
The Eagles other senior scoring was Grace Morales who was 6th in the 200 free and 7th in the 500 free.
Freedom’s sophomores came up big with Laura Lamb (12th 50 free; 6th 100 breast; relay), Madeline Doyle (10th in both 200 and 500 free) and Maeve Dumais (13th 200 IM; 15th 100 back) all scoring key points.
Also scoring for Freedom were junior Julia Faist (10th 100 fly; relay) and freshman Victoria Burgos (12th 100 free; 15th 100 breast).
Tuscarora junior Pim Silpacharn was the only double individual winner on the girls side, taking the sprints with a 25.19 in the 50 free and 54.54 in the 100 free. Her teammate, junior Imelda Ogango was first in the 200 IM (2:16.07) and runner-up in the 100 breast. They combined with freshman Yasmine Boswell and senior Bailey Jenkins to win the 200 free relay in 1:32.94.
Broad Run junior Emily Adams won the 200 free in 2:01.31 and was 3rd in the 100 free. In the most exciting race of the night, Adams and teammates Megan Thiede, Helena Wang and Caroline Haines took the 400 free relay by just .02 over rival Stone Bridge — 3:47.04 to 3:47.06.
Stone Bridge’s Lindsey Jachimowski and Alyssa Coon, part of the runner-up relay team, took solace in a pair of first place medals with Jachimowski winning the 500 free in 5:29.09 while finishing runner-up in the 200 free; and Coon won the 100 fly in 1:01.87 and was 5th in the 200 IM.
Stone Bridge was the only school to send all three relays automatically to regionals by finishing in the top four. Briar Woods, Broad Run, Freedom and Tuscarora each had two relays qualify at the meet and Potomac Falls had a lone relay finish top four.