Based on last winter's performance in the Interhigh swimming and diving championships and the abundance of returning experienced swimmers, the Wilson Tigersharks shouldn't have too much trouble repeating as the team champion in both the boys and girls divisions.
In the boys division, Wilson outpointed runner-up H.D. Woodson and third place Cardozo, 94-71-65, in last season's championship.
Returning from that squad will be seniors Patrick Keegan, Chris Landberg, Dan Schlesinger and Tommy Thompson. Keegan, Schlesinger and Thompson teamed with Cary Moore, now graduated, to capture the 200-medley relay in a time of 2:09.78.
Landberg finished second in the 200-meter individual medley with a 2:54.30 and second in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:04.44. Thompson and Keegan were second and third, respectively, in the 50 freestyle and Schlesinger swam second in the 100 breaststroke.
This nucleus should give Coach Kelvin Jones and his Wilson squad a second consecutive championship, with improved times in the relays.
At Dunbar, Coach Clarence E. Bell will count on junior Andre Suber to help fill the void left by co-MVP Andre Thomas, who now swims for Howard University.
"Andre Suber shows great promise", said Bell. "We will be depending on him to swim the freestyle races, the individual medley and the 100-meter butterfly."
Also returning will be senior Ray Poindexter, runner-up in the one-meter diving with 100.75 points. Seniors Jether Bonds, who anchored last year's third-place 400 freestyle relay team, and Morris Hillian also will contribute. Hillian will be the backstroke specialist.
Ballou, coached by Fred Hopkins, will rely on seniors David Washington and Antonio Williams along with juniors David Barnett and Anthony Weaver. Williams finished third in both the 400 freestyle and the 200 freestyle while Washington placed third in the 100 breaststroke at last year's championships.
Runner-up H.D. Woodson, coached by Bruce Bradford, will be without co-MVP Charles Exton. He graduated after breaking six Interhigh records during his career.
"We will be rebuilding just like everybody else in the league except for Wilson," said Bradford. "Our team will consist of a lot of young kids."
Returning from last year's squad will be senior Bernard Morton, third in the 200-meter individual medley, and junior Deon Johnson.
Michael Lyon is back after swimming as a sophomore but sitting out his junior year. "He is a big, strong kid who hurt himself by not swimming last year," in Bradford's estimation. Markieth Holt, a transfer who has experience in AAU competition, should help.
Cardozo is also in a rebuilding stage.
"We have a new group that we will bring along slowly," said Coach Stanley Gainor. "We will be short on talent but will try to develop character." Senior Gregory Johnson, who swims all four strokes, and Cornell Kinard will captain the boys team.
Unless something unusual happens, the Wilson girls will maintain their tradition of dominance over the rest of the Interhigh. Wilson has been the girls champion the last five years and eight of the last nine seasons.
Last season's MVP Courtney Fahy, champion and record holder in the 200 freestyle, heads a strong cast of returning veterans at Wilson. She won the 100 butterfly and anchored the victorious 400 freestyle relay team. Other returnees include senior Betsy Lake, champion of the 200 individual medley and the 100-meter backstroke. Juniors Jenny Peabody, Sarah Boomer and Heather Johnson add to Wilson's depth. Peabody won the 100 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke, edging out Boomer.
Ginny Sullivan and Sandra Thomas should contribute on the relays.
A challenge may come from Cardozo. Coach Gainor will rely on Stephanie McCalop and Anissa Owens to swim the 50 freestyle. Rhonda Hudson will specialize in the backstroke. Four sophomores, Daneen Gresham, Diane Robles, Tracy Raines, and Portia Clark, show a lot of promise to Coach Gainor.
H.D. Woodson, which did not have a girls team last year, has Kia Moore, a sophomore, who has a lot of potential.