While a number of summer leagues succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic, the Prince-Mont Swim League is about to embark on an abbreviated season this weekend and five Charles County teams are among the 16 squads competing.
In most seasons, the Prince-Mont League was comprised of 35 or 36 teams split into six divisions, with five meets of dual meets followed by the Divisional Championships and the All-Stars meet. But this year, Prince-Mont will consist of just 16 teams split evenly among four divisions, with dual meets contested virtually — teams will not travel — starting this Saturday and the next two Saturdays followed by the divisional meets to conclude the season on Aug. 1 with no All-Stars meet.
The Charles County swim championships, which is normally competed each year on a Sunday later in the Prince-Mont season, will not happen this summer.
Many of the larger teams from Montgomery and Prince George’s County opted not to join this summer and Kings Landing, which would have been Calvert’s lone entry, nixed its season a month earlier. But five Charles County teams are among the four divisions and each of the quintet has varying goals heading into the abbreviated slate.
Hawthorne Country Club, which kick off its Division A schedule this weekend against Prince George’s Council on Saturday, features recent La Plata High School graduates Kris Schueller, Megan Schueller and Conor Vienneau along with Addy Donnick, Cole Rapczynski and Kaeleigh Cupples, whose mother, Mary Jane Cupples, doubles as the Hawthorne and La Plata High School head swim coach.
Bannister Swim Team will kick off its trio of Division C meets this Saturday against Laurel City. Bannister will have a decidedly Smallwood Village flavor this summer as Jamie Rivenburg, wife of former North Point High School head swim coach Jeff Rivenburg, and their daughter, Mya Rivenburg, will handle the coaching duties for Bannister. Mya Rivenburg will also compete in several events this summer, her last year of Prince-Mont eligibility.
“We’re lucky because our pool has been open for three weeks,” Jamie Rivenburg said. “Our kids have been able to practice during the week. We only have 28 to 30 kids and only a few 8-year-olds, but we have a lot of talented older kids. But our main focus this summer is helping the kids improve their technique and then dropping times. We’re not really focused so much on wins and losses.”
Longtime Smallwood swimmer Teagan Rohrbaugh aged out of Prince-Mont last summer, but she is back as one of the team’s assistant coaches with Chase McClure as head coach as Jeff Rivenburg is sitting out the summer. A rising sophomore at Salisbury University where she excels in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke, Rohrbaugh is looking forward to the summer season as a coach and appreciates the job her predecessor did.
“One thing about becoming a coach you really understand what your coaches had to do over the year,” Rohrbaugh said. “You set the lineup, run the practices, make sure everyone is in their events. We just started practice on Monday, so we’ll only have a week of practice under our belt when we start on Saturday. But we have 40 kids on the roster, so it’s exciting to see what they will do.”
Indian Head will open its season Saturday against Oxon Hill with Meladeh McKinnon coaching this summer, taking over after Jo Proctor who stepped down following the 2019 season, while Westlake Village will begin its season Saturday against Fort Washington.
Waves of Westlake veteran swimmer Kerrigan McMillen, a rising sophomore at West Virginia University, will compete in her 15th and final season for the team.
“Considering everything’s that happened with a lot of pools not opening, I think we have good participation,” Prince-Mont Swim League president John Venit said. “We have a lot of social distancing rules in place, with only one timer each lane and no relays this year. Of course, none of the teams will be traveling since all of the meets will be virtual. We’ll have three meets, then divisionals, but no All-Stars this year.”