Virginia AAA High School State Championships

By Brian Savard

FAIRFAX, Virginia, February 25. FOUR state records fell in the first four events at the start of the Virginia AAA Championships, setting the tone for a weekend devoted to rewriting the state record books.

Last spring, the championships took place in a short course meter facility, where a handful of national records tumbled.

Team Scores
Fairfax was the victor on the women’s side of competition, scoring 268.5 points. Robinson placed second (224) while Lake Braddock came in third with 181 points.

A close meet also ensued on the men’s side, as Robinson came out as the 2008 state champion with 241 points. Oakton amassed 213 points and took second while James Madison brought in 169 points and placed third.

Women’s Individual Results
Fairfax put up two wins in the relay events, each in state-record time. The 200 medley relay grouping of Laura Benevento, Ellyn Baumgardner, Kristina Massie and Emily Ferguson started off the meet with a 1:46.27 win, erasing the former state mark of 1:47.51 set by Langley in 2000. Fairfax’s 200 freestyle relay (Baumgardner, Frances Dowd, Jean DeOrnellas and Theresa Harvey) eked out a state record, winning with a 1:36.20 time. Yorktown set the former standard of 1:36.58 in 2006.

Lake Braddock lowered its 2006 mark of 3:31.22 in the 400 freestyle relay, as Sarah Lynch, Carly Ogren, Molly Emery and Ashley Danner teamed up to take the final event of the meet in 3:30.60. Lynch, Emery and Danner all participated on the 2006 record-setting relay.

Becca Jones of First Colonial set two state records in each of her individual events. Jones reset her freshman mark of 1:50.18, which she set as a freshman, with a blazing-fast 1:48.45 time. Jones bettered Sarah Baker of James Robinson’s 2004 state standard (4:54.31) in the 500 freestyle, clocking a 4:53.19.

Danner avenged getting touched out by .05 in the 200 IM in 2006’s state meet by South Lakes’ Mei Christesen, which proved to be a state record-setting swim at the time, by winning the 2008 event in 2:01.19. Christensen swam a 2:03.61time in 2006. Danner also joined the elite breaststroke swims among high schoolers this year by clocking a state-record 1:00.96 in the 100 breaststroke. Danner broke her own record with her 2008 swim, resetting her former state mark of 1:02.68. Danner is a Swimming World six-star recruit who will swim for George Mason University next season.

Suzanne Schwee of Stone Bridge clocked a 55.37 in her 100 backstroke, which erased the former state mark of 56.11 set by Christensen in 2006. Schwee also busted out an eye-popping 54.78 100 butterfly, taking down her own state standard of 55.43, which she set in 2006. Schwee, a Swimming World four-star recruit, will suit up for the University of Alabama in the fall.

Robinson’s Amanda Kendall was also a double winner, clocking a 23.68 in her 50 freestyle and a 50.76 in her 100 freestyle. Her performance in the 100 freestyle bettered her own record of 51.33, which she set in 2006 as a freshman. Kendall’s 50 freestyle swim was the only women’s swimming event that did not break a state record.

Men’s Individual Results
Robinson fielded two record-setting relays. The 200 freestyle relay of Robbie Munch, Nick Leverone, Geoff Bobsin and Tim Wingert set the first of two relay records for Robinson with a time of 1:25.89. South Lake swam the former record time of 1:27.00 in 1999. Robinson’s 400 freestyle relay team consisting of Joe Zanellato, Bobsin, Matt Krebs and Wingert put up a state-record time as well, clocking a 3:08.20. Their time nosed out the 1999 record of 3:08.23 set by South Lakes.

Oakton’s contingent of Michael Hallock, K.J. Park, Mike Piantedosi and Tim Daniels crushed the former state standard in the 200 medley relay, swimming a time of 1:34.85. Robinson held the former record of 1:37.44, which its quartet swam in 2004.

John Schnittker of James Madison set the first individual record of the meet, stopping the clock at 1:40.29 in his 200 freestyle after touching out Bryan Uncur of Hickory. Drew Finelli of Robinson set the former mark of 1:41.59 in 2006. Schnittker also took third in the 100 freestyle (47.16).

Jonathan Christensen from Thomas Jefferson won the 200 IM in 1:53.01 and took second in the 100 breaststroke with a 57.65. Christensen earned a share of the state record in the 100 breaststroke, however, as his preliminary time equaled that of Robinson’s Derek Bui’s final time (57.34). Bui set the former record of 57.69 in 2006.

Sean Fletcher of James Madison notched two individual event wins. He started off by setting a state standard in the 100 butterfly, clocking a 48.97. He continued on to take the 100 backstroke title (51.54), but his time fell short of Menchville’s Markus Rogan’s 50.20 standard.

Chantilly’s Matthew Benecki mined gold in the 20-lap distance event, winning the 500 freestyle in 4:30.16. His time lowered Alex Anderson of James Madison’s 2006 mark of 4:30.57. In addition to his 500 freestyle win, Benecki placed 12th in the 200 freestyle (1:46.17).

Diving Results
Maren Taylor of Yorktown earned the gold in the women’s diving competition, finishing with a 455.23 score. Leslie Rea from Mount Vernon placed second with a 419.34 score while Marshall’s Cassie Self took third (409.38).

On the men’s side, Bryan Bahr of Mount Vernon was crowned the diving champion with his 454.05 score. Sean McKinney of Annandale placed closely behind Bahr with a 453.15 score for second while Trevor Michalak from W.T. Woodson picked up third (451.53).

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