Sherwood sophomore Kassy Kugler is not easily pleased. Even after she wins races -- which is often -- Kugler usually shrugs off her victories and nit-picks about her time, her technique or even a flawed flip-turn.
But yesterday, at the 39th Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships, even Kugler could step back and smile about her performance. The All-Met broke meet records in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races and anchored the Warriors' victorious 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Sherwood's 200 freestyle relay, which also included senior Dana West, junior Roxanne Richardson and freshman Brittney Frew, broke a meet record with a time of 1 minute 39.61 seconds.
"She's ecstatic today, but she's a perfectionist," Sherwood Coach Bill Shechtman said of Kugler. "That's why she's so good. She's never satisfied until she's number one."
Kugler, who won the 50 and 100 freestyle races at Metros last season, won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:49.54 to break a 15-year-old record and took the 100 freestyle in 50.59 to break the record set in 1995. Perhaps her most stunning performance, however, came in the 400 freestyle relay. Kugler entered the water with Sherwood a body length behind Good Counsel's relay team. By the first turn, Kugler had taken the lead.
"With the snow, we had practice canceled multiple times during the week, so I was out of the water and my training was all thrown off," said Kugler, who has won four individual titles and anchored four winning relays in just two career Metros meets. "I'm extremely surprised with how well I did."
Despite Kugler's performance, however, Sherwood could not stop Good Counsel from extending its dynasty. The Falcons, led by freshman double-winner Liz Kemp, mathematically clinched their record seventh consecutive girls' team title.
Though the Metros boys' and girls' diving competitions will be held Monday and Tuesday, respectively, the Falcons cannot be overtaken. Good Counsel, which won the 200 medley relay with the team of seniors Rachel Parker, Rachel Tolbert and Janine Carlini, and junior Kimberly Miller, compiled 230 points.
Sherwood, which has no divers entered in the Metros competition, was in second place after swimming events with 192 points. Washington Metropolitan Private Schools Swimming and Diving champion Stone Ridge was third with 179.
"This was a goal we set quite a few years ago," Good Counsel Coach Dave Crocker said. "A lot of things have gone right to make this happen."
Gonzaga, led by All-Met freestyle swimmer Ryan McCabe, clinched its second Metros boys' team title in the last three years. The Purple Eagles compiled 320 points and likely will increase their margin of victory thanks to a strong diving contingent. Defending champion Georgetown Prep was in second place after the swimming events with 300 points, and DeMatha was third with 240.
"Diving is usually before swimming, so we usually come in winning," McCabe said. "Our main strategy was to be winning after swimming this year."
McCabe won his third consecutive 200 freestyle title and repeated as 500 freestyle champion. He also anchored the Eagles' victorious 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
"What can you say about him, he's been one of our most valuable swimmers since his freshman year," Gonzaga Coach Joe Viola said. "He has been our go-to guy, and it's going to be tough losing him."
Good Counsel's versatile Kemp, who owns the school's 100 freestyle record, won both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke in times of 57.58 and 58.83, respectively.
"Eventually, you learn to expect great things from great swimmers," said Crocker. "And she is without a doubt a great swimmer."
Kemp was one of three precocious freshman girls to win individual titles at the meet. Freshmen Colleen Law of Holton-Arms and Kate Ziegler of O'Connell won the 50 and 500 freestyles, respectively. Ziegler broke a meet record with a time of 4:47.78, and Law tied a record with a time of 23.87.
Landon senior Chris Dufek made his last Metros one to remember by winning the first two individual titles of his career. Dufek led wire-to-wire in both the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle races.
"My goal was to get out in front and go," Dufek said. "I knew if I got out there I could ride the momentum coming home. The adrenaline kicked in, and everything I wanted to happen happened."
For the third consecutive year, Whitman senior LeeAnn Chang won the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke titles. Chang, a two-time All-Met selection, broke her own record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.06.
Sherwood senior Chris Tappis defended his 50 freestyle title by touching-out Ireton senior Chris Soniak by nine-hundredths of a second. Soniak, however, came back to win the 100 butterfly in 51.48. It was an impressive turnaround, considering the 100 butterfly was held directly after the 50 freestyle.
DeMatha senior Kevin Mukri capped his career with his first Metros title, winning the 100 backstroke in 50.24. Georgetown Prep's Ryan Hurley won the 100 breaststroke by nearly four seconds with a time of 59.01 and swam a leg of the Little Hoyas' victorious 200 medley relay.