For the past two years, Bel Air's swim team has beaten C. Milton Wright during the regular season only to watch the Mustangs swim away with the county title.
Thursday night, Bel Air beat the Mustangs, 292-218. Although C.M. Wright coach Charlie Jensen hopes history will repeat itself, he's not so sure the Mustangs can make up that 74-pointdifference this time.
"Bel Air swam really well. They were the much better team," said Jensen. "We had three DQ's (disqualifications) which didn't help us, but they would have beaten us anyway."
In Thursday night's tri-meet, which also included Edgewood (128 points), the Bobcats won four ofthe six relays. C.M. Wright only won one. Relays are worth double the points of individual races.
Bel Air coach Janus Shimp said thoserelays could be the key to winning the Feb. 8 county championships.
"Whoever can hold down the most relays at counties has a good shotat winning it," said Shimp. "We're working on the relays a lot more in practice."
Those relays, the 200-meter medley, the 200-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle, force coaches to change their strategies in the county meet, said Shimp. Coaches want to get their best swimmers into the relays to pick up those double points.
Despite the Bobcats' strong showing Thursday night, Shimp said the county meet could still be close.
"There are too many teams that have spoilers this year, which can help us both or hurt us both," said Shimp.
In Thursday night's meet, Bel Air won both the girls and boys 200 freestyle relays and 400 freestyle relays. C.M. Wright won the boys medley relays and Edgewood won the girls.
For Bel Air, Kim Hildebrandt, Jenn Murach, Chris Holloway and Ryan Markoff won two individual events each.
Hildebrandt won the 200 freestyle in 2:10.33. C.M. Wright's Suzanne Capasso was second in 2:17.11.
In the 100 butterfly, Hildebrandt beat Edgewood's Melissa Marzicola by less than a second, 1:04.25 to 1:05.11.
Murach won the 200 individual medley and the100 freestyle. She finished in 2:26.22 in the IM with Marzicola second at 2:27.48. Murach won the 100 freestyle in 58.14 over Edgewood's Sally Paine, 1:04.26.
Holloway's victories came in the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle. He beat Edgewood's Eric Roland in the IM with a time of 2:09.03. Roland finished in 2:12.70.
In the 100 free, Holloway finished in 51.5 followed by the Mustangs' Rob Frazer, 56.62.
Markoff won the 100 butterfly in 1:00.32 followed by the Mustangs' Steve Marcin in 1:03.56. In the 100 backstroke, Markoff finished in 1:07.87, five seconds ahead of C.M. Wright's Scott Panowitz (1:12.94).
Bel Air also got victories from Lisa Reed, Shannon Skurdal and Gerry Warwick.
Reed won the 500 freestyle in 6:03.12 with Capasso second in 6:10.84.
Skurdal took the 100 breaststroke in1:19.29. The Mustangs' Kim Bartell was second in 1:24.15.
Warwickwon the 200 freestyle in 1:58.59 with Bel Air's Rob Flynn second in 2:00.13.
Paine won the girls 50 freestyle for Edgewood in 27.3, edging Reed (27.67).
Edgewood's Carrie Baker won the 100 backstroke in 1:14.34. The Mustangs' Elise Ruechert was second in 1:17.75.
C.M. Wright's Angie Hopkins had the only win for the Mustang girls as she took the diving over Bel Air's Teri Fox, 84 points to 68.55.
Inthe boys diving, the Mustangs' Peter Maranto barely edged Bel Air's Dave Moxley, 66.1-66.05.
The Mustangs' Ryan Stallings won two races, the 50 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke.
He beat Bel Air's Erik Jankowiak in the freestyle, 24.36 to 25 seconds flat.
In the breaststroke, Stallings touched in 1:07.11 to beat Bel Air's Kevin Murach, 1:12.82.