Five local swimmers returned from the U.S. Senior National Swim Championships last weekend without medals, but with hopes for stronger showings next year, according to their coach.
All five are members of the UMBC Retriever Aquatics Club.
"Our kids made some mistakes," said coach Sid Burkott. "They all have been faster at different meets this summer."
The senior nationals, a five-day championship meet at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are a prelude to Olympic competition.
The club's strongest showings came in medley competition. Overall, approximately 80 club teams competed in the meet.
Cheryl White (Mount Hebron), Megan Malchak (UMBC), Candace Johnston (Westminster) and Elysia Moreland (Howard) swam to a 14th place finish in the 400-meter medley relay (4 minutes, 26.12 seconds).
The team of Ingrid Kilpe (Centennial), Johnson, White and Moreland captured a 17th place fin
ish in the 800 freestyle relay (8:37.05).
Top individual performances came from Moreland and Glenelgsenior Dan Van Hemert, who is being recruited by the University of Florida.
Van Hemert placed 20th in the 200 backstroke (2:20.59) and24th in the 200 butterfly (2:04.52), while Moreland posted a 2:19.44in the 200 fly and a 5:04.69 in the 400 individual medley.
The competition was stiff.
"You have some of the best swimmers in the country at that meet -- club and college," Burkott said. "Two world records were broken at this meet. Some of the swimmers competing were inthe 1988 Olympics. Over 90 percent of the athletes that performed inthe finals (top 16) at night were 18 and over."
All the club members may need to post better results in the future is some experience,said Burkott.
"Our athletes are good enough to be there," Burkottsaid. "But they are lacking experience and confidence at that level.The only way to overcome that is to gain experience. The one thing they have to keep in perspective is that they are 15, 16, 17 years of age. They are all young kids."
The team competes next on Oct. 19, when UMBC faces the New Jersey Wahoos and the Bowie Bulldogs in a dual meet.