Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Swimmers start postseason with county meet

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Saturday afternoon, the county’s high school swimming community will gather for the annual county championships at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.

Bowie High’s boys (14-0) arrive with a perfect mark as the defending county champions, but the Eleanor Roosevelt boys are eager to unseat them. Bowie narrowly won a dual meet against Roosevelt three weeks ago, 90-80, on a day when two Raiders were absent due to a ski trip. With both lineups fully stocked this weekend, either team could walk away with the trophy.

‘‘They’re working really hard to get ready for Saturday,” said Bowie coach Maggie Fletcher. ‘‘We know that it’s going to be very, very close. All of the boys are excited about counties. We’ve retooled our relays a little, so that should be interesting.”

Bowie senior James Lilly is the defending county champion in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. Lilly is also close to establishing new school records in both the 100 butterfly and 100 breast. The three-time Gazette-Star all-county first-team selection will look to add two more county titles to his resume.

‘‘Ever since the start of the season, this is the meet that all of the seniors have been talking about,” Lilly said. ‘‘We won the county championship last time for the first time since I’ve been on the team and we don’t want to see Roosevelt take it away from us. We know it’s going to be close, but we’re confident that our relays can do it. Every finish counts because the points are so important at this meet.”

While the County 4A boys’ title is up for grabs, the Roosevelt girls (14-0) appear to be a cinch to capture their fourth straight county title and loom as one of the serious contenders for the state 4A title. Led by defending county, region and state champions Emily Morse and Stephanie Goldbeck, the Raiders have been invincible in county dual meets this winter and are hoping to topple defending state champion Severna Park at the University of Maryland later this month.

Morse is the defending state champion in the 200 IM. The versatile Bowie resident boasts the county’s best times this season in the 200 IM and 100 fly, while Goldbeck is the fastest in both the 50 free (25.91 seconds) and the 100 breast. Hannah Betman is the defending county champ in the 200 free and 500 free.

Among the 4A girls, the most heated battle will be for second place between Bowie and Laurel. Bowie defeated Laurel in a dual meet three weeks ago. Laurel junior Sarah McCray (200 free and 500 free) and sophomore Caitlin Raynor, the league leader in the 100 backstroke (1:06.05), will have the Spartans in contention for the runner-up honors.

Throughout the season, Fairmont Heights’ senior Temara Jordan has feasted on her rivals in the County 3A⁄2A⁄1A League and currently sports the league’s top times in seven of the eight individual events.

‘‘She has one of the best times in the 50 free, but we’re going to put her in the 100 free and 100 back, since she is the defending county champion in both,” said Fairmont Heights coach Paul Sweet. ‘‘At the regional meet, I think she’ll probably go in the 50 free and the 100 back. She’s getting looks from Delaware, Syracuse, Towson and Florida A&M and hopefully they’ll be in the stands this weekend.”

E-mail Ted Black at tblack@gazette.net.