The defending Maryland Class 3A/2A/1A state champion Poolesville High School boys and the Sherwood High girls swimming and diving teams kicked off the four-week championship season with wins at Saturday's Montgomery Division II competition held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Swim Center.
The Falcons boys finished with 437 points, ahead of Bethesda-Chevy Chase in second place with 390 points. Quince Orchard (352 points), Northwest (324.5) and Sherwood (245) rounded out the top five.
Sherwood's girls dominated the six-team field Saturday. The Warriors finished with 513.5 points and were followed by Poolesville (369) and B-CC (368) in second and third.
“We got some really good freshmen this year and a lot of good swimmers back so we're even stronger this year than we were last year. A lot of the girls dropped some time today and finished their races well. We're excited to move on and see what we can do [at next weekend's Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships] and states,” Sherwood coach Brendan Lees.
Poolesville's boys and the Warriors girls took different paths to Saturday's titles.
The top 16 finishers in each event earned points in decreasing amounts; each team was allowed three entries per race.
The Falcons only won three of 12 events Saturday but finished all three swimmers in the top 10 of eight of nine individual events.
While the Warriors have depth as well, they are also propelled by a core of incredibly fast swimmers. Sherwood won eight events Saturday, including all three relays, which are worth double the points. The Warriors also finished three in the top 10 of eight events and two in the top three of two races.
“It's an awesome problem to have to figure out how you're going to put a lineup together when you have four people who can qualify for Metros in a given event. It's the best problem to have,” Poolesville coach Johnny Leong said.
While there are technically six teams considered to be better than Saturday's six-team field — the ones in the county's top division — the Division II meet featured a plethora of athletes who will be major championship season contenders.
Sherwood's Anna Kolanowski and Poolesville's Diana Hanson were among the top 12 individual scorers at last winter's Metros competition; a number of Saturday's top performers finaled and earned top-10 finishes at the prestigious competition last year.
“We have a lot of great swimmers in this division, maybe just the depth isn't there for every team,” Lees said.
Added Leong: “There are a lot of metros qualifiers and finalists here. There is not just one top team in the county that runs away with it, you have maybe 10. Even Division III and Division IV are not without finalists. You can't sleep on those teams. I'm going to say Division II is very competitive.”
Kolanowski (100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle) and teammate Megan Conrad (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke) and Hanson (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke) were the meet's only double individual event winners.
Kolanowski and Conrad were also on two of the Sherwood's three winning relays, the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays.
“[The girls] placed really well. We have a couple great swimmers getting first place finishes and we get a lot of points that way and with the relays. Getting those points really helps,” Lees said.