Holton-Arms School swimming and diving coach Graham Westerberg said early dual meets are not necessarily about winning or losing.
The early portion of the season, he added, is the time to acquire as much knowledge about his team, its strengths and weaknesses and possible lineup combinations so the Panthers are equipped to compete for championships in January and February.
That being said, Westerberg won’t complain about Independent School League victories.
The Panthers won eight of 12 events in Tuesday’s 118-61 win over ISL foe Sidwell Friends in Bethesda.
Landon School’s boys also defeated Sidwell on Tuesday, 129-47, in a meet held simultaneously at Holton.
Holton (4-0) has outscored its first four opponents by a combined score of 420-239.
“We want to try to prepare the kids to swim their fastest at the end of the season. We hope to find the best lineup possible to give us points and put us in a good position,” Westerberg said.
Part of the learning process means placing swimmers in events they are not as strong in to compare times, Westerberg added.
Though some of the Panthers swam their strongest events Tuesday, the meet provided Westerberg the opportunity to plug athletes into events they normally might not swim.
That is also important, he said, to avoid physical and mental burnout later in the season.
Sidwell won four events on the girls side and three on the boys side and does boast some top-level talent, but the Quakers did not have the numbers and depth to compete Tuesday, coach Evan Judge said.
“All of our swimmers were working hard on the key fundamentals — the breathing in and out and the turns — this week; the little things they could do to keep us competitive,” Judge said. “[Team size] is always a factor when you’re a smaller team. When you can only field two relays against a team with four.”
Caroline McTaggart (200-yard individual medley, 500 freestyle) and Alexis LeMone (100 freestyle, 100 backstroke) each won two individual races for Holton. John Freeman (100 butterfly, 200 IM) was Landon’s only multiple individual event winner.
Taylor Knibb (50 freestyle, 200 freestyle) and Gavin Springer (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle) won two races each for Sidwell.