The 2012-13 season was a banner year for the Friendly High School swim team. The Patriot boys went undefeated for the first time in recent history, the girls dropped just two meets to perennial powers, and both finished in the top eight at the Prince George’s County championships. However, graduation losses caught up with the Patriots in what coach Erin Reynolds deemed a rebuilding year.
The Patriots lost two of their top three scorers from last year on the boys’ side and Gabrielle Griffin, their only top 50 individual point scorer from the girls.
Nevertheless Friendly has been competitive early this winter. The Patriot boys defeated High Point, a top 10 county finisher a year ago, 77-68, and Northwestern, 86-34, in a tri-meet held Saturday at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex. It was the High Point girls, who finished 13th in the county last year, who handed the Patriots their first loss of the season, 99-55. High Point and Friendly both beat Northwestern by scores of 109-24 and 86-34, respectively.
The High Point girls won 19 of 22 races Saturday, including all 11 events against Northwestern. The Patriot boys only won six of 11 races against High Point was propelled by better depth — the top six finishers in each event earn points in decreasing amounts.
Though Northwestern lagged behind both High Point and Friendly, the Wildcats are taking strides each season. This year the program grew from six swimmers a year ago to 22 on the roster and coach Marcus Fitts said he and his team can learn from every meet.
Though Friendly lost a lot of numbers, Reynolds said the Patriots’ success helped draw interest in the program, which has to compete with basketball during the winter for athletes. That added interest is helping to keep Friendly afloat this year.
“We’re in a rebuilding year but a lot of our underclassmen [on the boys’ side] have stepped up, and really surprised me, they’re really pulling through, so we’re optimistic about maybe not a repeat of the perfect season but getting them through to states and all that,” Reynolds said. “The girls have also built up numbers. A lot of them are beginning swimmers but they’re going to be up and comers.”