What had the makings to be Christian Lindberg's worst weekend of swimming turned out to be the Woodbridge senior's best ever.

Lindberg competed in the four-day Junior Olympic Invitational Championships at George Mason University and in a school meet against Gar-Field on Friday evening while battling flu symptoms that had slowed him all week. Lindberg exceeded his own expectations, setting a Woodbridge team record on Friday and three Occoquan Swimming club records over the weekend. Lindberg also posted three junior national qualifying times.

"I'm pretty exhausted right now," said Lindberg, who signed last month to attend Virginia Tech on a swimming scholarship. "I am really proud of what I did the whole weekend. I had a great weekend. It really was the best swimming weekend of my life. And I did it all while I was sick."

Lindberg's swimming weekend began Friday at 6:30 a.m. After competing in two preliminary events, Lindberg rushed to get back to school by 10 a.m. so that he would be eligible to compete in the high school meet that evening.

The effort was worth it. He set a school record in the 100 freestyle (48.04).

His presence not only helped the Vikings nearly defeat Gar-Field--the Indians knocked off Woodbridge by 10 points--it also provided an emotional lift for the team.

"It helped out a lot with the team spirit and morale," Woodbridge Coach Nancy Doggett said. "It is always important to have the whole team together and as a team captain, it was also important for him to be there. And it's not just a matter of making it back for the dual meet, but in order to participate, he had to make it back to school. It was an intense day for him."

At the Junior Olympic meet, Lindberg set club records and junior qualifying times in the 50 free (21.35), 100 backstroke (52.96) and the 200 back (1:54.50).

In Friday's meet, Gar-Field's boys won seven of 11 events and received school record-setting performances from freshman Brett MacLennan and senior Matt Miller to win, 148-138. MacLennan broke his own team record in the 500 freestyle, and Miller set team records in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Both were part of the team record-setting 200 and 400 relay teams.

"I can't remember being more proud of this team," Gar-Field Coach Rob Knoeppel said. "We reached goals we set in terms of times we wanted to swim. The scores are nice, and it is nice to beat a rival, but it is just one meet, and it is not the most important meet of the season. We are looking to swim our best [at districts] in February."

The Gar-Field girls were not as successful against the defending Cardinal District champion Vikings, losing 195-90. Woodbridge was led by freshman Emily Strouse, who set a school record in the 200 IM (2:13.75). Strouse, Christy Cousins and Casey Quimby were all double winners for the Vikings.

* Hylton Rebounds: Without the majority of its top swimmers, defending Cardinal District boys champion Hylton began the season with a pair of close losses to Osbourn Park and Gar-Field.

On Friday night, Hylton rebounded--aided by three swimmers who had competed in national qualifying meets the first two weeks of the season--to defeat Osbourn, 176-110. Sophomore Russell Wood set regional qualifying times in the 50 and 100 freestyle, and junior Jessie Way and sophomore Gerald Garnados finished no worse than second place in all their events.

The team's slow start--Hylton is now 1-2--is of little concern to Coach Kim Sterling, who is confident the Bulldogs can make another run at the title.

"We didn't think we'd come so close to winning without our star swimmers, so we're kind of happy about that," Sterling said. "Hopefully, we're looking at another win at districts."

Shannon Woolard set a state qualifying time in the 100 butterfly and a regional qualifying time in the 200 freestyle to lead the Osbourn girls past Hylton, 163-123.

* Osbourn Park Sweeps: Osbourn Park swept Potomac on Friday, the boys moving to 3-0 with a 131-36 win and the girls improving to 2-1 with a 136-30 victory.

The Yellow Jackets boys were led by Jon Hayden, Kerry Mulholland and Dan Freed, who each had four first-place finishes. The Osbourn Park girls were led by Lauren Clancey and Erin Hammersley, with four firsts apiece.


* Brentsville Outpointed: The unusual scoring system in the Brentsville Holiday Classic worked against the host Tigers.

Despite winning the majority of its matches, Brentsville placed second to Warren County by four points in the seven-team round-robin tournament, in which pins are heavily weighted. In the tournament's format--which Brentsville Coach Thad Kiesnowski adopted roughly 20 years ago to provide incentives for all the teams to enter their top wrestlers into the competition--a pin is worth 16 points, a technical fall is worth just five points and a major decision is worth four points.

Senior Erik Croushorn (145) and junior Zak Thompson (140) finished the tournament undefeated in their respective weight classes. Yet despite defeating state runner-up George Webb (Madison County), Thompson placed second because Webb had more pins.

"We wrestled real well," Kiesnowski said. "Head-to-head we sort of dominated, but Warren County's kids did a heck of a job sticking kids."

CAPTION: Christian Lindberg