- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Pressure? They don’t feel pressure.
The Leonardtown Raiders girls swimming team, and in particularly the seniors, did not feel pressure to win its ninth-straight Southern Maryland Athletic Conference swimming title, they felt at ease with the idea to have fun and enjoy each other.
That calm, yet admitted nervous mindset, and winning six events on Saturday at the aquatics center at St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Athletics and Recreation Center, helped the Raiders girls finish with 475 team points to indeed win its ninth SMAC championship. The North Point girls finished second overall with 355 points. Northern was third with 286, while Great Mills took fourth with 281 and Thomas Stone rounded out the top five with 267 points.
Two of the Leonardtown girls’ six individual wins came from junior Mairyn Branaman, who set SMAC records in both the 100-yard butterfly, in 59.62 seconds, and the 100 backstroke in 1 minute 0.52 seconds.
“Well, there is always going to be a little bit of pressure, but we always just try to have fun with it and try not to think about that,” Branaman said. “It’s just about going out there together and having fun and trying to better our times.”
Senior Eden Mallory ends her four-year SMAC career with her fourth SMAC title and added to the first-place swims by winning the girls 100 freestyle in 58.13 seconds.
“We’re so happy that in our senior year, we could take the SMAC title one more time,” Mallory said. “Hopefully they keep the tradition for the upcoming years, too.”
Rosie Click (200 individual medley, 2:25.34) and the Leonardtown 200 medley relay (1:58.59) and 400 free relay teams also won SMAC titles. The 400 free relay team broke a SMAC record winning in 3:50.84 seconds.
The Leonardtown boys, with a certain motivation from the regular season, won the SMAC title with 421 points to help the Raiders sweep the championships.
North Point finished second overall with 400 points, with Huntingtown just behind the Eagles in third with 397. Northern was fourth with 363 and La Plata finished fifth overall with 238.
Leonardtown senior Brennan Williams watched as sophomore teammate Caleb Kaslik won the boys 100 breaststroke (1:02.76).
“It’s great, especially because we came up short against North Point [in the regular season],” Williams said of winning the team title. “It feels great as a team because everyone stepped up and we had a lot of best times. We did it all for the team.”
He added, “What brought us to life was trying to get back at North Point. They beat us in the regular season and doing as well as we did was always the goal; to win.”
The Leonardtown boys 200 medley relay team also swam to a SMAC title, finishing in 1:46.57.
The Chopticon Braves girls team placed eighth overall (213) and the Braves boys swimmers placed 12th overall (103). The Great Mills boys placed sixth overall with 231 points.
Northern boys break records
The Patriots foursome of Ben Lawless, Tommy Cranford, Nick Goszkowicz and Kyle Horak enjoyed breaking records Saturday, winning the 200 free relay in 1:33.03 and the 400 free relay in 3:27.85, both times amounting to SMAC records.
Individually, Lawless also won SMAC gold in the 500 free in 4:36.48, a new SMAC record, and the 100 back (56.27).
Cranford continued the Northern winning ways as he took gold in the 200 IM (2:06.58) and 100 free (50.49).
“It feels good,” Lawless said. “Last year, we almost got it but didn’t get it, but were close. This year, we have Nick and Kyle going really fast and then, Tommy, so that helps a lot. It was a team effort. We all wanted really bad and we got it.”
Cranford added, “I have been swimming for a while now and I am used to swimming a lot of events, so I just tried my best. ... I feel like I can win regionals, too. I feel pretty confident about that. Our relays are pretty good and I think we can win relays at regionals, too.”
Patuxent’s boys finished seventh overall with 224 points thanks in part to a 50 free gold by Chris Kahl.
“It felt good,” said Kahl, who won the race in 23.22. “The 50 free is not necessarily my best event. I just went all out and I beat the guy next to me by .03 and he had a faster seed time than me, so I was pretty happy.”
The Calvert boys placed 11th overall with 123 team points.
The Huntingtown girls team placed seventh overall with 248 team points, while Patuxent was 11th with 150 points and Calvert 12th with 144.5 points.
North Point comes through in second
North Point sophomore Noemi Arquero became the first-ever North Point swimmer to win two individual SMAC championships, according to North Point head coach Jeff Rivenburg, with her victories in the 200 free (2:04.64) and 500 free (5:35.53).
“Honestly, it’s pretty amazing right now,” Arquero said. “It’s kind of unbelievable and I really didn’t expect it. I was really nervous coming into today, but I knew that I had to work really hard because I wanted it, my coach wanted it and my team needed it.”
Eagles senior Maddie Young added a SMAC title in the 100 breast, finishing in 1:15.18.
The North Point girls 200 free relay team also added a SMAC title, finishing in 1:49.29.
La Plata finished sixth overall in girls with 258 points, while McDonough was ninth with 182 points. Westlake took 10th with 169 and Lackey 13th overall with 65.5 points.
Helping the Rams girls was junior Sydney Fuller, who won the 50 free event in 26.38.
Helping the Eagles place second on the boys side were first-place wins for Nick Essing in the 200 free (1:55.05) and Austin Fisher in the 100 fly (58.04).
The Stone boys placed eighth overall with 187 points, while Lackey was ninth with 155. McDonough took 10th with 130 and Westlake 13th with 54 points.