Before the 200-yard freestyle relay at Friday's Independent School League swimming championships, Stone Ridge Coach John Gillin had a simple message for his team of juniors Lindsay Rogers and Caroline O'Sullivan and seniors Devin Carey and Maegan Olivos.
"I just told them this was for the meet," Gillin said. "If they won, we'd win the meet. If they didn't, we'd lose."
Rogers, O'Sullivan, Carey and Olivos swam a meet-record time of 1 minute 43.46 seconds to edge Madeira's team (1:43.65), which also beat the previous meet record.
Thanks in large part to that victory, the Gators won their second straight ISL title and third in the last four years. Stone Ridge totaled 241 points to edge Madeira by five and avenged a dual meet loss from earlier in the week. Holton-Arms was third with 209 points.
"We really needed to win both freestyle relays to win the meet," Madeira Coach Rod Montrie said. "But Stone Ridge really swam well."
Stone Ridge had to overcome a 44-point deficit Friday after the Snails dominated Thursday night's diving competition and 500 freestyle. Madeira junior Kelcey Moore took the diving championship, sophomore teammate Jessica Williams placed runner-up, and senior captain Emily Strang was sixth. Freshman Leslie Swinley, meantime, won the 500 freestyle in a meet-record time of 5:07.18.
On Friday, Swinley also broke the 200 freestyle meet record with a 1:54.93.
"It sounds bad, but no, I wasn't surprised," Montrie said. "She's really established herself as a top-notch swimmer."
Another freshman who made an immediate impact at the ISL championships was Colleen Law of Holton-Arms. Law broke both the 50 and 100 freestyle meet records in times of 24.44 and 53.26, respectively.
Stone Ridge's Rogers won both the 200 individual medley (2:12.22) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.15), and National Cathedral's Natalie Pitcher won the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly. . . .
Saturday's Prince George's County swimming matchup between Eleanor Roosevelt and Bowie has been moved from 4 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Prince George's Community College.
Vaulting to the Top
The Robinson and W.T. Woodson gymnastics teams look to unseat perennial powers in their respective district meets this week.
Robinson, led by sophomore Kaitlin Hoey, freshman Katie Sauer, and sophomore Tori Ianni competing all-around, defeated Lake Braddock at the team's final regular season meet last week, and are hoping to pull off a repeat victory at Wednesday's Patriot District championships. Lake Braddock, which will host the 6 p.m. meet, has been perennial district champions since the mid-1990s when they won five consecutive Virginia state titles.
"We're pretty confident, as long as we stay solid, and basically stay on beam," said Laura Wrighte, Robinson's second-year coach.
Hoey, Sauer, and Ianni finished second through fourth, respectively, in the all-around at last Wednesday's meet, and that bodes well for the team total, where the top four scores are counted on each event. Lake Braddock freshman Jeenie Shank finished first.
In addition, Kristin Cicala is back from a sprained ankle and will compete on the balance beam, floor and bars; Amy Silverthorn has also returned from injury and will compete on the balance beam, floor and vault; and senior captain Katie Moran will compete on the balance beam, vault and bars.
"That's the thing that makes us so strong, we have so much depth," Wrighte said. Robinson's team score has improved from 130 at the start of the season to 141.6.
W.T. Woodson, meantime, looks to dethrone defending Liberty District champ and state runner-up Langley, which had dominated the entire Northern Region the past two seasons but this winter lost two key gymnasts to club commitments.
Woodson hasn't won a district championship since 1988, according to coach Erika Sklar, a former Cavaliers gymnast in the early 1990s. But behind talented freshmen Lindsey Eigenbrode, Marianne Le, Allison Pomeroy and Elena Helminiak, the Cavaliers this season defeated every other district rival in regular season meets and enter Wednesday's title meet as the favorite.
"They're real excited," said Sklar of her gymnasts. "Without putting false hopes in their head, they're saying, 'What if. . . .' The thing is, we haven't seen Langley since the beginning of the season, so we don't know what's going to happen." Woodson began the season scoring 128 and has raised the team total to about 137.