- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Patuxent boys and Calvert girls each added an item to their respective stockings on Christmas morning after each was able to add a win to its record following an in-county swim meet between the two on Friday at Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick.
On the boys side, Patuxent (4-1, 4-1 SMAC) out-pointed the Cavaliers in each of the first five events to win, 157-113. The loss dropped Calvert to 2-4-1, 2-4-1 on the season.
The boys got another win and it was thanks to the strength of our relays we were able to do that,” said Patuxent head coach Jeff Ganoe, whose relay teams earned 42 of a possible 64 points.
The Calvert girls exacted a form of revenge for the boys team after rallying from behind to grab a 137-130 victory. It was the Cavaliers (5-2, 5-2) third straight win and all have been decided by nine or fewer points. The Panthers dropped to 3-2, 3-2.
“It's not necessarily our No. 1's who are swimming phenomenally but it's our No. 2's and 3's,” Calvert head coach Brain Dryer said, referring to the foursome of Megen Jackson, Holly Youngblood, Samantha Baker and Megan Beavers, who combined to earn 37 points in individual events. “That's what's really helping us and what I think will continue to make a difference as we go. It's what we've been doing the last couple of meets”
“We have a lot of new swimmers and they're making so much progress,” said Calvert senior Cara Mathers, who won a team-best two events when she claimed the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke. “It's giving us depth and helping us win some of the close meets.”
The fact the Cavaliers were even competitive in the meets was a feat in itself. The meet was Calvert’s fifth in a 16-day span and fourth over the last nine days. By comparison, four teams have each swum in two meets.
“It's been a rough December,” Dryer said. “The kids are tired and want to be on break and there's distractions with everything else in society so it's hard to just get in the water and swim. I would say over half the kids are sick, they're tired... it's rough. Even the coaching staff is tired. It's nice to have the [holiday] break but I wish we had more meets after the break to be able to fine-tune some things but that's what practice is for, I guess.”
Mathers agreed with her coach.
“It's... a lot,” she said. “We work out five days a week [for 90 minutes at a time] and we have to focus on academics and some [of us also swim] on weekends. To have these meets so close together where you're using all your energy to do as best as you can each and every time just wears you down.”
Taking its toll
Teammate Dan America, who won the 100 free and was second in the 50 free, said the pace is taking a toll.
“Mentally I feel like we've kind of gotten in the groove so we know what to do as a team now but physically it's exhausting,” he said. “It's definitely pretty rough because we're doing these meets and with normal year-round swimming you only swim hard a couple times a month so it's definitely a difficult task.”
The Patuxent boys team each received two wins from Edgar Faison (100 backstroke, 200 free), Ronnie Forster (100 breast, 200 Individual Medley) and Chris Kahl (50 and 500 free).
“I always try to push myself hard and do better,” Forster said of his win in 2 minutes 28.52 second in the 200IM. “I'm really proud of how we're doing so far but we have to keep going.”
Meanwhile, Kahl set a personal record in the 50 free when he touched in 23.28 seconds, 68 one-hundredths of a second ahead of America.
“I got a good jump off the blocks and then just kicked a lot,” Kahl said. “I thought my turn was pretty good and then after that turn I just brought it on home.”
Teammate Morgan Duty won the 100 butterfly and C.J. Hall was second in both the 100 back and 200IM.
America, who prompted cheers of, “U-S-A, U-S-A” from his teammates every time he swan an event, earned Calvert’s lone win when he needed 56.15 seconds to win the 100 free.
“Everything was clicking pretty well,” he said. “At the 50 [yard mark] my goggles came up a bit but everything fell into place in that one.”
Michael Tyler (100 fly), Jack Berens (500 free) and Greg Kelly (100 breast) each placed second in one event.
“We did OK but Patuxent is very good,” America said. “Our schedule is very difficult… but after the break we're going to prepare for tougher challenges.”
“It's spread thin,” Dryer said of his boys team, which has just 16 swimmers but will add one more after the break, “especially when only seven or eight of them are returning and competitive swimmers.”
Mathers needed 28.36 seconds to win the 50 free and 1:24.48 to take top honors in the 100 breast. “It was a good flip turn, that's what makes the difference, and how many times you breathe because the less you breathe the faster you go,” she said of her effort in the shorter event. “I don't know [if I was leading throughout the race], just at the end I was. That's what matters.”
The 200-yard medley and free relays also each won as the girls already have one more win than all of last season.
“Our girls are trying to shake things up a bit,” Dryer said.
Beck leads Pax
The Patuxent girls received two wins from Cassi Beck, who churned through the water to claim the 200IM (2:49.32) and 500 free (6:38.64).
“It definitely wasn't my best race but I've been training harder for it,” beck said of the 500, which she won with a whopping 68-plus-second cushion. “I didn't quite swim it the way I wanted to but that was because of swimmer error tonight but it's looking very promising for the future. Definitely it's a mental race. A lot of people think it's all physical but to prepare yourself for such a long race you almost have to tap yourself into it but once you do and you want to finish well, it's easy as pie.”
Allison Leap (100 fly), Bradleigh Williams (200 free), Ali Adams (100 back), Carrie Lake (100 free) and the 400 free relay team of Beck, Leap, Lake and Kelsey Hernandez each also won.
“I've seen over the years various levels of dedication and this year definitely is the highest,” Beck said. “This year we have girls that try just so hard and they have just great attitudes for the sport and each other. I couldn't have asked for a better team.”
While the Patuxent boys won in large part with its relays, Ganoe said it was those events that doomed his girls team.
“I think [Calvert] really started to take over at the 200 free and pulled ahead a little at the 500 free,” he said. “And then our second- and fourth-place finish in the 400 free really did us in. That's normally where we gain points, we just weren't able to do it tonight.”
While his boys team managed a win, Ganoe said he was hoping for something other than the usual ties, gift cards and holiday sweaters from Old St. Nick.
“I'm going to ask Santa to give us a healthy team come the new year,” he said with a smile. “Maybe even a few more swimmers that might transfer in over the holidays.”