Patuxent's swim meet against La Plata on Saturday was a learning experience for Coach Maureen Cassidy--the good kind of learning experience.

Facing La Plata's first-year team, the Panthers' boys team won, 103-57, and the girls won, 98-68, at St. Mary's College.

"Since I knew there wouldn't be any doubt about the outcome, I got to learn more about what my kids can do," Cassidy said. "I could put them in events that they aren't used to swimming and see how they do. I learned a lot about what we can do this weekend."

For the Patuxent girls (2-1), Sarah Burkhart, the team's best freestyler, won both the 100-yard free (1:02.50) and 500-yard free (6:22.47). Cassidy also found a swimmer to complement Burkhart in freestyle events--freshman Joan Tallant, who placed second in the 100 free behind Burkhart with a 1:14. It was Tallant's first competitive swimming meet.

"Joan swam great," Cassidy said. "We need more swimmers who, even though they don't win, can challenge and come in second and third to get more points. I was very pleased with what I saw."

Tallant should have a chance to pick up the slack left by standout freshman Kim Shiplet, who broke her arm snow-boarding over winter break, Cassidy said. Shiplet may miss the rest of the season.

The biggest surprise for the Patuxent boys (2-1) came from sophomore Zach Arellano. In his second-place showing in the 200 free, Arellano trimmed more than five seconds off his personal best time, finishing in 2:43.18. In the 500 free, Arellano knocked off more than seven seconds from his personal best time, finishing third in 7:53.

Juniors Patrick Chan won the 100 backstroke (1:01.12) and 100 butterfly (1:04.87), and David Burkhart took the 200 IM (2:46.78) and 500 free (6:34.52).

La Plata junior Mike Vaira won the 100 free (1:03.92) and 100 breaststroke (1:14.25) to lead the boys (0-2). Junior Shanann Cooksey won the 100 fly (1:15.14) and 50 free (26.97) for the girls (0-2).

NORTHERN BOYS 94, McDONOUGH 76: The Patriots sent the first-year Rams to their first loss of the season behind junior Jeff Burek, who won the 50 free (23.63) and 500 free (6:11.66), and senior Greg Brobest, who was first in the 500 free (7:04.54) and second in the 200 free (2:21.22).

Northern's standout freshman, Mat Cribbs, didn't swim the breaststroke--his best event--after tearing ligaments in his knee while lifting weights over winter break, Coach Kandy Spain said. He did swim the 100 butterfly and 100 back, placing second in both.

McDONOUGH GIRLS 87, NORTHERN 83: The Rams dealt the Patriots their first loss of the year behind senior Carrie Rafer, who won the 200 free (2:08.15) and 100 back (1:05.11).

WESTLAKE BOYS 116, CALVERT 50: Junior Jay Graham had his first double-victory day, taking the 200 individual medley (2:50.56) and 100 butterfly (1:19.47) as the Wolverines cruised. Senior Josh Smith won the 50 free (24.12) and 200 free (2:07.55). Winless Calvert was led by junior Nick Grigsby, who won the 100 free (55.81) and 100 breaststroke (1:15.75).

WESTLAKE GIRLS 117, CALVERT 51: The Wolverines, the SMAC's only undefeated girls team at 3-0, got two wins apiece from senior Kim Hampton (200 IM, 2:32.84, and 500 free, 6:09) and sophomore Erin Antroinen (100 free, 1:07, and 100 back, 1:17.4).