By Lauren Rigg
COLLEGE PARK, Maryland, February 25. AFTER winning two out of the three relay events at Saturday’s MPSSAA high school swimming and diving championships, the Richard Montgomery boys were happy to come out on top and turn the previous year’s third place finish into first.
“It’s sweeter to come from behind, because we knew we had to work for it and we wanted it,” Richard Montgomery head coach Aryn Wheeler told Gazette.com.
The meet began with the 200 medley relay, where Richard Montgomery (1:38.20) won by a hair over Broadneck (1:38.70) and Wootton (1:39.99), with all three teams breaking the 1:40 barrier. Next, in an even closer race, Walt Whitman junior Mike Sullivan claimed the title of the first individual event, swimming a 1:42.76 in the 200 freestyle. Second place finisher Brian Tsau of Montgomery Blair and third place finisher Vadim Jacobson of Broadneck finished with times of 1:42.88 and 1:45.07. Later on, Tsau and Sullivan switched places in the 500 freestyle after Tsau posted the winning time of 4:32.71 to Sullivan’s 4:37.29. Gregory Song managed third in the event with a 4:42.86.
Rory Lewis, a junior from Einstein, had a dominating performance in the 200 IM and posted a 1:53.86, only seven-tenths of a second off the state record time set the previous year. With times of 1:55.33 and 1:55.57, Bouke Edskes and Song, both of Richard Montgomery, rounded out the top three. Lewis went on to win the 100 butterfly with a state record-breaking time of 50.79 over Michael Thomas of Montgomery Blair (52.24) and Duncan Johnson of Einstein (52.41). After multiple records fell at last year’s state meet, including the men’s 100 butterfly record, Lewis’ accomplishment was no easy feat.
Only two one-hundredths of a second separated Walter Johnson’s Jean-Marc Nugent and North Point’s Nicholas Essing (21.62) in a photo-finish 50 freestyle in which 21.60 was the time to beat. Noah Yanchulis was about a tenth behind in third with a 21.71. Nugent and Yanchulis were the only other boys to break a state record in the meet, as they both swam under the 100 freestyle record time a few events later. Dueling for first and second, it was Nugent who touched the wall first with a 46.99 to Yanchulis’ 47.11. John Mooers of Walt Whitman was hot on their heels to claim third with a 47.36.
Bouke (53.39) scored another second place finish in the 100 backstroke when he finished just behind the champion, Andrew Gibson of Wootton (52.94). Samuel Fuller of Severna Park was not far behind them with a 53.47. The final individual event saw Harisson Gu, who swims for Winston Churchill, in first place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 58.24. He defeated Coby Zucker and David Thornton in the process, representing Walter Johnson and Broadneck with times of 58.77 and 1:00.33, respectively.
Of the final two relays, only the 200 freestyle relay saw Richard Montgomery (1:28.62) in the top three after they claimed first over Winston Churchill (1:29.24) and Walt Whitman (1:29.45). In the 400 freestyle relay it was Walt Whitman, Wootton and Walter Johnson who earned the top spots, but it was not enough to push Richard Montgomery out of their overall winning position. Richard Montgomery finished the meet with 267.5 points and a commanding lead over Wootton (225) and Broadneck (221).