Area swimmers struggle against rest of state -- Gazette.Net







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In the past month, Eleanor Roosevelt High School's swimming and diving teams have swept the county and 4A/3A South Region meets. But Saturday's state meet was at a totally different level.

Facing the fierce competition at the Class 4A/3A state championship meet held at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Raiders' boys team tied for last place and the girls team placed 19th.

“It's hard to compete against everybody. The Montgomery County teams, they pretty much dominate the meet and it's hard for us to compete against them,” Roosevelt senior Daniel Chavez said. “They just have faster swimmers. We're not used to this, we're at a little bit of a disadvantage.”

Chavez finished 17th in the 100-yard fly (56.37 seconds) and senior Dennis Witol (2 minutes, 7.21 seconds) placed 18th in the 200-yard individual medley.

Roosevelt junior Jennifer Clune recorded 13 of the girls' 19 team points by placing sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.11). Senior Emily Boluda finished 15th in the 500-yard freestyle (5:32.83).

“We have a lot of really strong seniors on this team that have brought us together,” second-year coach Andrew Zanghi said. “It was nice getting to know them last year and this year and I think that's what I'll remember. That depth of senior leadership and talent.”

The rest of Prince George's county's best did not fare much better against the elite competition.

Charles H. Flowers, led by mostly underclassmen, participated in four relays and 10 individual events. The boys and girls placed 22nd and 25th, respectively.

Freshman Don Brazelton swam a personal in the 100-yard backstroke (56.23) and recorded the second fastest time in school history in the 200-yard freestyle. Freshman Daiysa Burrell nearly broke the school record in the 50-yard freestyle.

Tenth-year coach Jeff Ware said this was the most talented group he has coached. In last year's championship, Flowers brought only two swimmers.

“These kids came in and made a difference in the team this year. Best finish at counties, best finish at regionals and the future looks really bright,” Ware said. “Probably half the school records, half the relays, they just wiped out.”

Bowie's boys team finished 24th with seven points.

“The competition is so much harder and so much faster, and they're not used to it,” Bowie senior Steven Rigby said.

Rigby was disqualified from the 200-yard individual medley before setting a team record with Saadiq Lousiy, Andres Principe and Ryan Phillips in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:35.68).

“I can live with it if I don't do well in individuals. I don't want to let anyone else down,” Rigby said.