Madison's Sean Fletcher Sets National High School Record in 100-Yard Butterfly

By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 22, 2009

As Madison's Sean Fletcher neared the wall toward the end of his third lap in the 100-yard butterfly at yesterday's Virginia AAA state championships, he started to feel "a little dead."

But in the final three strokes, Fletcher could hear the roar of the crowd at the Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center in Manassas. And he could see his teammates and friends jumping and cheering on the side of the pool.

Fletcher knew what that meant and let the adrenaline take over.

When he touched the final wall, the Michigan-bound senior heard silence, then looked up as the crowd roared: 47.08 seconds -- Fletcher had broken the national high school record of 47.10 set in 2007.

"I don't even know how to describe it," Fletcher said. "I was so happy. . . . It's up there with all the Olympians, so I'm really excited and just want to keep improving and do a lot better. So I'm excited for the future."

Officials at the meet were not sure of the last time a national record had been set at a Virginia meet, or if it had ever happened.

Fletcher didn't have much time to soak in the moment, instead rushing to the warmup pool to prepare for his next swim, the 100 freestyle, that was just two events later. He won that, too, just missing the state record with an automatic all-American time of 45.58.

For his effort, Fletcher helped propel Madison to a second-place finish in the meet. But the Warhawks could not catch powerhouse Robinson, which took a seventh consecutive state championship with a team score of 206, almost 50 points ahead of Madison.

Boosted by a disqualification in the first relay of the night that gave the Rams boys' 200-yard medley first place, Robinson -- which had lost a dual meet for the first time since the early 1990s and finished second at the Northern Region championships earlier this season -- pulled together and continued its reign.

The Rams also took home the title on the girls' side, giving satisfaction to a program that finished second last year and has not won a state title since the mid-1990s.

Robinson was led by All-Met senior Amanda Kendall, who won a fourth consecutive title in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.40, breaking the state record set in 2000, and also took third in the 100 butterfly.

"To earn something they've been shooting after for so long, it's great," Robinson Coach Tom Koucheravy said. "They earned it. They've been rocking every meet since the year started, and they earned it."

In all, 11 state records were set at the meet, including marks by Madison's Robbie Parker (50 free), Edison's David Kiss (200 IM), Brooke Point's Meredith Cavalier (100 backstroke), Chantilly's Matt Benecki (500 freestyle), Annandale's Rachael Burnett (500 freestyle) and Langley's Stephen Richards (100 breaststroke).

Va. State Championships Falling Records: One mark that came off the books was Markus Rogan's nine-year-old state record of 1:52.66 in the 200 individual medley. Rogan, who swam for Mt. Vernon and later won a silver medal for Austria at the 2004 Athens Olympics, saw his mark bested by Edison's David Kiss with a time of 1:51.72. Speed Freaks: Chantilly senior Matt Benecki, who last year broke the record of Olympian Tom Dolan with his swim in the 500 freestyle, shattered his own mark in this year's race with an automatic all-American time of 4:25.72.

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