Unlike many of her fellow Montgomery County swimming and diving coaches, Thomas S. Wootton's Jacqueline Emr does not keep a running tally of points throughout a given meet.
“I go by events. I love watching the individual events, seeing the touch-outs,” the first-year coach said.
Emr was treated to some incredible races in Wootton's sweep of crosstown rival Winston Churchill Saturday at the Olney Swim Center.
The Wootton girls sent a message to the field by upending the defending Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving champion Bulldogs, 103-68. The Patriots boys won, 99-72.
“This was the most life I've seen [from my team]. They were psyched up,” Emr said. “I think we absolutely [sent a message]. I know a lot of people were saying it was going to be a close one. A lot of people scored it out based on their lineups. So, seeing something like this ... I am a little bit surprised [by the points difference].”
Saturday's meet was certainly a glimpse into what's to come during the fast approaching championship season which begins with divisionals Feb. 2 as the Wootton and Churchill girls will likely be the top two contenders during postseason. But it was not all-telling. Though many of the Bulldogs' top swimmers were present Saturday, much of their depth was missing due to a school trip.
But Churchill coach Brendan Roddy said that might work to the team's advantage.
“I'll take the blindfold this week. [Emr] puts together a strong lineup. Without doing it on purpose I think we had the opportunity to have that veil and the opportunity to see [Wootton] and where we need to switch things around to best swim them,” Roddy said.
The undefeated Wootton girls won six events Saturday to Churchill's five but piled on the points with tremendous depth, finishing two in the top three of eight races. The Bulldogs (4-1) only placed two in the top three of three events.
Wootton's boys only won four of 11 events but finished two in the top three — worth one more point than a first-place finish — of nine events.
Freshman Lindsey Hannah (200-yard freestyle, 100 backstroke), Harrison Gu (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly), Austin Cole (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Steve Ge (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle) all won two individual races for Churchill. Jessica Chen (50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) was the Patriots' only double winner.
As a true fan of swimming, Emr said it was remarkable watching Hannah in the water — Li set the 100 backstroke meet record at last year's Metros.
Emr didn't know what the meet score was at any given time Saturday but she said she enjoyed some remarkable performances.
“I try not to keep score. I'll check at halftime but I just like watching individual events,” Emr said.