The Washington area entrants in the upcoming Youth Games swimming championships will need outstanding efforts to improve upon last year's performances.
Last summer, the D.C. team won 24 gold medals and set 12 records in earning first place in boys and girls competition.
Only one swimmer, Gretchen Ritter, who earned seven gold medals in the 12-13 category, is returning after tryouts last week at the Capitol East Natatorium on Capitol Hill.
She was clocked in 27.11 in the 50-yard freestyle and 58.05 in the 100 freestyles. However, her times at the tryouts were off her personal best (25.2 for the 50 and 55.0 for 100 freestyles) for each event.
"I just came from a workout and I was a little tired," said Ritter, a three-year veteran of the Youth Games who swims in the winter for Jeff King's CURL club.
"I want to swim fast and show a lot of team spirit," she said of the Youth Games, to be held Aug. 6-11 on the campus of Montclair (N.J.) State College.
"Hopefully at the end of August, I'll go to the Junior Nationals in Alabama," she said.
The most exciting races at this year's tryouts were in the boys 9-11 category between Crosby Tredwell and Benjamin Beers. Tredwell nipped Beers at the tape twice to win the 50-yard freestyle in 38.7 and the 100-yard freestyle in 1:33.3. Beers was clocked in 39.0 and 1:33.6, respectively.
"Crosby came to me when he was 4," his coach, Roger Thomas, said. "He was in the learn-to-swim program then. Last year was his first time on the summer swim team. He wants to be a good swimmer."
Tredwell, 9, swims for the Capitol East Natatorium.
In the girls 9-11 category, Stacey Krejci of CURL won both the 50-yard freestyle in 28.63 and 100-yard freestyle in 1:02.2. Jeff Kruger of Solotar won the 50 for boys 12-13 in 23.98 and the 100 in 54.04.
Erica Bledsoe of York won the 50 for girls 12-13 in 26.67 and the 100 in 1:01.22. Nathaniel Beers also won both, in 29.72 and 1:07.09.
Dawn Simpson of the Chillum Striders is only 10 years old and in her second year of competitive track, but she recently won three events in the Youth Games track trials.
She won the 100-yard dash (14.87), the 220 (32.2) and the 440 (1:11.0). Even though she does all three races well, her favorite is the 440-yard dash.
"I like it because I can always pace myself," said Simpson, who probably will represent Prince George's County in the Nationals.
Shauna Clarke, won the 14-15 100 (13.88), 220 (27.88) and 880 (2:28.28).
Veronica Harris paced herself well in coming from behind to beat Toni Brooks, who ran for Deal Junior High to win the 440 (1:02.10).
Harris used a burst of speed to pass Lisa Robinson after the first 100 to win the 220-yard dash (26.88).
Tasha Ashberry displayed good form in winning the 13-14 440-yard dash (1:04.54).
"This is my first quarter this year," said Ashberry, who qualified for the 880 at last year's tryouts. "My fastest time last year was 61.08."
Roy Carpenter, who was national champion in the 100-yard dash at the Hershey championships two years ago, won the 100 (12.40) and 220 (26.4).
William Perry was the only local youngster who qualified last year for three national meets -- Hershey, Youth Games and ARCO/Jesse Owens track championships. At the ARCO/Jesse Owens, he came in second in the national championships. This year, he won the 16-17 100 (13.77) and the 220 (28.42).