Newport News, VA, March 10. THE Collegiate School (Richmond, VA) girls completed an improbable odyssey in winning the 2004 VSIS State Swimming and Diving championships held the weekend of Feb. 20 & 21st at Midtown Community Center in Newport News. Placing no swimmer or relay higher than second the Cougars utilized heart, depth and diving to notch their second championship ever and first since 1998.
In the process Collegiate ended the three-year reign of runner-up Madeira School (McLean, VA) who, for the second year in a row, got double wins from distance star Leslie Swinley and IM/fly supernova Leigh Psaris (girl swimmer of the meet). Snail Diver Kelcey Moore won the 1-meter crown toppling teammate and last year’s champion Jessica Williams.
Swinley, an Olympic Trials qualifier, easily won the 200 (1:53.95) and 500 (4:58.76) freestyles while Psaris established a new VSIS mark of 57.69 in the 100 fly. In the girls 400 free relay Madeira’s team of Psaris, Ali Buki, Kathleen Fuchs and Swinley churned out a 3:42.67 event to record Madeira’s sixth win in six years in that event.
Collegiate’s Sarah Ailsworth achieved lifetime bests in finishing second in the 100 fly (58.72) and third in the 200 IM (2:12.43) and leading off the Cougars third place 400 free relay with a 54.94 split. Susan Cook, also a member of the 400 free relay, took second to Swinley in the 500 free (5:15.78) and fourth in the 200 free (1:59.40). Eighth grader Becca Kelley garnered two sixths in the 200 IM (2:16.50) and the 100 breast (1:11.18) to bolster the Collegiate cause.
Diving played a pivotal role for the Cougars as Collegiate divers went third, fourth, fifth and tenth to amass 52 points enabling the Richmond school to outdistance Madeira (237) Norfolk Academy (227) and meet favorite Bishop Ireton (204.5). Ireton suffered double blows early and late through the absence of outstanding sprinter Colleen Sullivan and disqualification for an early sendoff of their fifth place 400 free relay.
Norfolk Academy showed considerable muscle in winning the 200 medley and free relays. Christi Morrissey, Lindsey Randlett, Samantha Zwemer and Ali Meier teamed to set a VSIS record of 1:41.07 in the former while Meier, Meaghan Dvorak, Randlett and Morrissey brought home gold in the latter (1:53.62).
The closest boys meet in recent memory was decided in the final 15 yards when St. Christopher’s School (Richmond, VA) swimmer of the meet Bryan Pinkston clocked a 47.74 leg to sweep past both North Cross School (Roanoke, VA) and Hampton Roads Academy (Newport News, VA) anchors. Final tally for the top three was St. Christopher’s 254, Hampton Roads Academy 251 and North Cross 239.
Pinkston defended last year’s 100 butterfly crown in a state record 50.63 just edging Collegiate’s Michael Hogg who also broke Pinkston’s former standard of 51:54. Both earned All-American Consideration (AAC). Pinkston’s other victory came in the 100 back (53:07), an event in which he finished second last year.
Other double winners were Collegiate’s Grant Steadman in the 50 free (21.65) and 100 breast (1:00.28). Both times earned him AAC. In the 50 Steadman defeated Matt Balderston (last year’s champ) from Norfolk Christian to avenge his only loss in last two years.
The Potomac School’s Jason Adler closed out a stellar prep career by winning the 500 free (4:36.17) for the fourth consecutive year. He did it in typical Adler fashion by swimming a strong opening 200 and descending his final three 100s to drop a game 200 IM winner Jeff Collier of North Cross (4:41.74). Adler also posted a 1:44.88 in the 200 free to win by four seconds over Norfolk Academy’s Jake Chang (4:48.87).
Defending 1 meter champion Daniel Dickerson of St. Christopher’s stuck all 11 of his dives in sticking it to the competition. Dickerson’s 396.50 easily trumped runner-up Paul Moran of Paul VI (Alexandria, VA) who collected a 301.30 total.