The Thomas S. Wootton High School swimming and diving team kept itself in good position to take Montgomery County’s Division I title with Saturday’s sweep of Walter Johnson at the Martin Luther King Swim Center.
The defending Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving and state champion Patriot girls prevailed in a tight meet over the resurgent Wildcats, 91-80, while Wootton’s boys dominated two-time defending state champion Walter Johnson, 106-65.
After the Wootton girls’ surprising Week 2 loss to traditional rival and perennial postseason contender Winston Churchill, Saturday’s win was important heading toward the division meet scheduled for Feb. 1. Each dual meet win is worth one point, teams are awarded points in decreasing amounts based on their finishes at the division meet. The Patriots overall balance between boys and girls — both have only one loss — sets them apart from the field.
“It was definitely important to get this win, [Walter Johnson] is kind of the next big team in the division,” Wootton coach Jacqueline Emr said. “Facing Churchill, that was an off week for [the girls], we didn’t swim our best, so to be able to get the win against WJ was great for morale. It was for the kids to see what it’s like to really race and to really have a meet that’s close so a win today was really, really nice.”
Though the girls meet’s score was fairly close, the Patriot pulled away by winning the close, crucial races, Walter Johnson coach Jamie Grimes said. The Patriots won 17 of 22 events, overall. The girls won eight of 11, the boys took nine. Wootton also finished two in the top three of 14 events.
Though Walter Johnson’s girls, who have only lost to Churchill and Wootton, only won three events Saturday, they finished two in the top three of four races and perhaps most importantly three in the top five of seven events — the top five finishers in individual events score points.
Though Wootton’s boys lost their highest scorer from a year ago, a talented freshman class has helped recover those points, Emr said. The dual meet season has provided coach an opportunity to experiment with combinations, she added, which will be helpful as championship season approaches.
Kristina Li (100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke), Nikos Tragotsis (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard backstroke), Karl Treichel (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly) and Jessica Chen (100-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle) all won two individual events for Wootton.
“Our girls were fired up about the season going in at the beginning, the fact Churchill was able to beat them was kind of a shock to the system, that’s why winning today was so important,” Emr said. “[The loss] kind of [lit a fire under them] and they are definitely looking forward to seeing them again. ... We’ve been playing around with the boys’ lineup, putting kids in different events to see what the best recipe is for us. It’s been nice getting to know the swimmers and I think they’re all meshing well so that puts us in good position for Metros and states.”