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Rebels, Cavs, Rams Swim for State Finals Bids

Individual swimmers earn trip to state finals in Virginia Beach.

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Members of the Fairfax swim team cheer on their teammates during the Northern Region swim meet. The blue mohawks they sported are a team tradition for big meets.

For much of the 2009-10 season, Fairfax swim coach Meredith Harris has raved about her male swimmers. On Feb. 15 at the Northern Region swim meet at Washington and Lee, the boys’ team exceeded Harris' expectations with a stellar performance.

"The boys have done more than [we] could ever expect," Harris said.

Among the boys' accomplishments at the meet were seven state cut times and a new school record.

Senior Patrick Johnson's time of 54.15 in the 100-yard backstroke beat the school's previous mark and qualified him for the state finals on Feb. 19 at Virginia Beach.

Senior Joey Kelly also turned in a strong performance earning an All-American Consideration (AAC) time in the 50-yard freestyle and finishing first in the event with a time of 21.18, beating the state cut time of 22.29.

Kelly's 50-yard freestyle time was not even his personal best.

"I went faster at a club meet, but only by about .06," Kelly said. "I've been training pretty hard for [this meet]. I just love it."

Due to the blizzard, Harris and her team missed a week and a half of practice in the pool, but Harris said she was pleased with the team's performance after the lengthy dry spell.

"The boys have been doing great," she said. "I couldn't ask for anything more.

In addition to the strong individual performances, the Fairfax boys’ team finished second at the Northern Region meet allowing the Rebel boys to compete at states as a team.

After claiming her first Patriot District swimming title, Woodson head coach Susie Hamrock set her team's sights on finishing near the top at the Northern Region swim finals on Feb. 15 at Washington and Lee.

"We wanted to be in the top two teams," Hamrock said.

While individuals can earn a chance to compete at specific events, only the top two teams from the Northern Region meet will compete in the state finals on Feb. 19 at Virginia Beach.

Although Woodson was unable to garner one of the top two seeds, the Cavaliers finished the meet in fifth place as a team, they did manage to send a few more swimmers to the state meet in individual and relay events.

"The team just had a great meet," Hamrock said "We had some better finishes and we mixed things up on our relays."

One relay shake-up involved putting together swimmers for the 200-yard freestyle relay who hadn't been swimming together for much of the season.

"We never put that relay together [in the regular season]," senior Braden Baffer said. "So we stacked it [with our best swimmers] and tried to win it from the outside lanes."

The relay earned a state qualifying and All-American Consideration (AAC) time of 1:28.01 and finished third in the event.

Baffer said the addition of the new relay didn't faze the Cavalier swimmers and dismissed any notion that it would take time for the group to gel.

"We all swim other relays together," he said. "It was pretty much the same thing, just a different event."

Senior Kevin Vest was another top performer for the Cavaliers. He broke his own record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.34.

Vest finished second in the event and beat the state cut and AAC time. Vest also beat the state cut in the 100-yard freestyle where he finished in third place with a time of 48.04.

A blizzard wasn't enough to stop the Robinson boys' swim team from making its mark on the Northern Region swim meet on Feb. 15 at Washington and Lee.

Eight Robinson swimmers exceeded state cut times for their events, some even surpassing state cuts they set at previous meets.

"I'm proud of my guys," head coach Clayton Joyner said. "They were in a tough situation with this break."

Five Rams also earned All-American Consideration (AAC) times across four events.

Junior Ricky Munch earned his AAC time in the 100-yard breaststroke and finished third with a time of 58.51.

Munch earned another AAC time in the 200-yard freestyle relay alongside junior Matt Osiecki, freshman Johann Shim and junior Cameron Boster with a time of 1:28.26. The 200-yard freestyle relay team finished fourth in the event.

The 400-yard freestyle relay, featuring Munch, Boster, junior Ben Zajic and junior Kyle Bumiller, finished with a time of 3:12.47, good enough for fourth place and an AAC time.

With the Northern Region meet over, Joyner said it's time to focus on the state meet in Virginia Beach on Feb. 19.

"[The Northern Region meet] was tough, but every team had its ups and downs," Joyner said. "We're all about preparing for states now."