The expectations were understandably high for the Patriot boys’ swim team. After two years as contenders who came up just short of the region title, the Pioneers entered Saturday night’s Virginia 6A North region swimming and diving championships as the heavy favorites.
This was their year to shine, and with talented seniors Spencer Rowe, Will Cumberland, Cole Cooper and AJ Ross leading the charge, Patriot led throughout the meet at Oak Marr RECenter in Oakton to win its first region team title. The Pioneers piled up 247 points to distance themselves from second-place Oakton (209). Madison finished third (203).
“We’ve been building up to this,” said Rowe, a four-year team member who will swim at Auburn. “It’s been a while in the making.”
Within a few minutes of the start of the meet, the foursome of Rowe, Cumberland, Cooper and Ross — all Division I recruits — had broken their own boys’ 200-yard medley relay state record in 1:31.78. By the time Ross dove into the pool for the final leg, his teammates had given him an insurmountable lead.
It was no longer a matter of whether Patriot would win but by how much.
“We have an eye on the national record,” Rowe said. “We’re still getting better.”
The girls’ competition also produced a first-time region winner. Madison used its depth on the diving board and strength in its relays to propel itself atop the podium with 229 points. Chantilly took second (205), and Robinson claimed third (167).
Madison finished second in the girls’ 200 free, 400 free and 200-medley relays, and the Warhawks likely aren’t slowing down anytime soon. The team will not graduate any of the swimmers who scored points Saturday.
“The future is really bright,” Madison Coach Andrew Foos said. “We’ll be a contender for at least two years.”
Several meet records fell during the night, including in the boys’ 100 butterfly, which saw Stonewall Jackson senior Sam Pomajevich lead wire to wire in 48.26.
Pomajevich’s victory was fueled in part by his narrow loss in the 200 free to West Springfield senior Lane Stone, who won the event in 1:37.81 to Pomajevich’s 1:38.46. Stone also won the 500 freestyle in 4:24.31, just missing his meet record from last year.
“To be honest, I was kind of mad after the 200 free,” said Pomajevich, a Texas recruit. “So my race plan [in the 100 butterfly] was to go out hard in the first 50 and finish strong. My goal was to definitely break the record, and I want to go under 48 [seconds] at states.”
The Chantilly girls picked up several victories, including a dominating performance in the 200-medley relay. Sophomore Elise Mozeleski, senior Jacquee Clabeaux, senior Lea Gwennap and sophomore Lauren Young teamed up to break the meet record by nearly two seconds in 1:43.37.
In the girls’ 200 free, McLean junior Sinead Eksteen smashed the meet record with a 1:46.91, and Oakton senior Tommy Hallock swam a meet record 44.58 in the boys’ 100 free. Hallock also claimed the 50 free title (20.63).
Earlier in the week, Madison senior Greg Duncan won the boys’ one-meter diving title with 550.9 points, while Mount Vernon junior Hailey Fisher (440.40) repeated as the girls’ champion.