When members of the Jefferson swim and dive team discovered that their school would be placed in Virginia’s 5A North region ahead of this school year, there was disappointment.
Swimming has traditionally been one of the science and technology-oriented magnet school’s best sports, and not being able to compete against traditional regional powerhouses, now 6A schools, was disheartening to a team that boasts the D.C. area’s best male swimmer in junior Andrew Seliskar and a group of boys that can compete with the best in any league.
That disappointment was all but forgotten on Friday night at George Mason’s Freedom Aquatic Center as the boys’ team cheered, joked and posted some of their fastest times of the season on their way to the 5A North region title — their first in 12 seasons. The girls finished second, behind Albemarle.
“Not being able to race the 6A teams hurts a little bit, but winning here tonight is absolutely incredible,” senior Miles Oakley said. “Nothing can take that away.”
The Colonials opened the meet with back-to-back victories in the boys’ and girls’ 200-yard medley relays, sending a clear message from the outset.
Seliskar, a two-time All-Met, turned a half-body length lead in the medley relay into a four-body length blowout with a blazing 21-second split during the butterfly leg. Oakley finished it off with a 21.65-second freestyle split to win the event in 1 minute 34.96 seconds.
One event later, Carrie Heilbrun showed speed of her own by bringing the girls’ relay from seventh to second, again during the butterfly leg, before handing it off the sophomore Charlie Lertlumpraset, who outpaced the field to win in a time of 1:51.09.
“The relays are really something special to high school swimming, and it’s a great opportunity to get up, have some fun and swim fast,” Seliskar said.
Both swimmers were back in the water moments later for the 200 freestyle. Seliskar took it out fast before cruising in the final half for a time of 1:41.56, well off his automatic all-American time of 1:38.42 from last week’s conferences. Heilbrun won the girls’ race in 1:53.57.
Seliskar capped his night by posting the sixth-fastest 500 free time ever by an area high schooler — 4:24.70. Less than 15 minutes later he turned in a 19.88-second split in the 200 free relay.
Heilbrun won the girls’ 100 freestyle in 52.70 and had a 23.51 split on the girls’ freestyle relay.
Jefferson also had top-three finishes from Oakley and Luke Thorsell, who contributed on all three relays and individually.
Other area winners were Falls Church’s James Sturges, who won the boys’ 50 free over Oakley, 21.90 to 21.94 and Edison’s Francisco Nieves in the boys’ 100 free (48.40). Tuscarora’s Pim Silpacharn won the girls’ 50 free (25.10) and Briar Woods’s Brennan Maxwell took the boys’ 100 butterfly (51.22).
Stone Ridge junior Katie Ledecky set the American record in the women’s 500-yard freestyle on Friday night during prelims at the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swim & Dive Championships. Her time of 4:28.71 shattered the previous mark, set by Katie Hoff in 2008, by 1.76 seconds.
Ledecky, the 2012-2013 All-Met Swimmer of the Year, is the second swimmer in history to set the American record in the event at Metros. O’Connell’s Kate Ziegler broke Janet Evans’s mark in 2006. Ledecky’s time also broke her own national high school record by 2.67 seconds. She is the top seed for Saturday’s finals by nearly 28 seconds.