W.T. Woodson has dominated Northern Region boys swimming for 16 consecutive years, winning the Northern Region and Northern District titles each year. That dominance slowly declined this season for the boys team as it lost its first dual meet and district title in that time and last week surrendered the regional title to Lake Braddock (179-170) at Wakefield Park.
Woodson's girls team bounced back from its first ever district title loss to win its 16th regional championship, its fourth consecutively, besting Robinson, 161-130.
Lake Braddock led the boys competition through the first six events until the 100-yard freestyle, in which Woodson's Bill Armstrong finished sixth -- ahead of the Bruins' Mike Majchrowski in 10th place -- to pull the Cavaliers ahead, 118-114. But Lake Braddock regained the lead in the next event, the 500-yard freestyle, and held on to clinch the title.
"I think that the region is finally evening out (its competition). This year we have a lot of boys with top times," said Lake Braddock Coach Diane Underwood. "It's been a very intense rivalry (with Woodson). We've always been second in the district and second in the region and it's great to finally come out the winner."
The Bruins' Mike Riccoboni broke a Northern Virginia record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 53.85 seconds. That time bettered a 1979 record of 55.16 set by Langley's Mike Fell and won Riccoboni all-America consideration. A pre-determined time or score for each event must be equaled or bettered to be considered for all-America honors.
Chantilly's Vince Carmosino (100-yard breaststroke, 58.94 seconds) and Rodney Van Tassel (100-yard freestyle, 47.04) also qualified for all-America consideration. Carmosino defeated Riccoboni in the 200-yard individual medley by .16 seconds in 1:59.21. Van Tassel was a double winner with his victory in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:47.06
The Bruins' Andrew Strauss beat Marshall's Tyson Lewis by .02 seconds to win the title in the 50-yard freestyle. Lewis still swam his best time in the event in 21.80.
Annandale's Bo Bloomer won the diving title with 438.40 points. Woodson's Guy Sandin bettered his score in the Northern District meet, which he won with 410.70 points, by more than 26 points but still fell short of the winner and finished second with 437.25.
In the girls competition, Woodson and Robinson alternated in the lead throughout the meet until two second-place finishes (Kiki Steinberg in the 100-yard backstroke and Kristen Kunstel in the 100-yard breaststroke) scored enough points for Woodson to insure victory.
Despite Robinson's nine-point victory in the district meet last week, Woodson was the favorite to win the region due to the increased competition of 24 teams as opposed to just six in the districts.
"I seeded our meet to win the regionals not the districts," said Woodson Coach Stefan Nickodem. "Some of the things I did may have lost points for us in districts but that was secondary. Regionals was the most important thing."
Langley's Melissa Douse qualified for all-America consideration with her victory in the 100-yard freestyle in 52.69. Douse also won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:54.82.
Lake Braddock's Erin Jones won two events, the 200-yard individual medley in 2:13.34 and the 100-yard butterfly in 59.01. Jefferson freshman Jennifer Clarkson defeated junior Kunstel by .04 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke to win the title. Jessica Paul of South Lakes edged out Jamie Rugless of Robinson by .02 seconds to win the 50-yard freestyle.
Woodson's Celeste Cordova defeated Northern District champion Nikky Marshall of Lake Braddock to win the diving competition 430.85 to 426.40. Marshall, last year's runnerup, was the favorite going into the event after her victory last week over Cordova in the district meet by more than 35 points.
"I was really nervous. I wanted to just dive well and make all-America consideration," Cordova said. "I've lost to her so many times, I told her that I wanted this one bad." Both Cordova and Marshall qualified for all-America consideration.