Freshman laps up some top times

February 07, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

John Carroll freshman Jeff Warwick won't sneak up on anyone when the Harford County swimming championships begin this week.

Although he is one of the county's youngest swimmers, Warwick is one of the best.

From his first scrimmage back in December, Warwick has dominated the opposition. And he has gotten better with almost every meet.

Warwick, 14, has turned in the season's best times in more than half of the eight boys individual swimming events. He has been fastest in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 100 free and 500 free.

He also stands second in the 50 free and the 100 breaststroke, and third in the 100 backstroke.

Warwick is within one one-hundredth of a second of a county record. His time of 1 minute, 50.47 seconds in the 200 free is right behind the mark set by Edgewood's Mark Haynes in 1988.

He is closing in on records in other events, too -- pulling within two seconds of county marks in the 200 IM, 100 free, 50 free, 500 free and 100 breaststroke.

"Jeff could be one of the best swimmers the county has ever seen," said John Carroll coach Al Herlinger. "Jeff's name is going to be in the Harford County record book all over the place, and I see that happening next year. When he leaves, it's going to be the Warwick record book."

Several of the records Warwick is close to are among the longest standing county records. The 50 free and 100 free marks were set in 1982 by Edgewood's Jim Born, who went on to the U.S. Olympic trials.

But the record Warwick would most like to break is the 500 free mark of 4:48.31 set in 1991 by former Patriot Stewart Harris.

"I'd like to get the 500 record," said Warwick, a Box Hill resident. "I like the distance freestyle the best. I've always done pretty good in them."

A three-year veteran of the Edgewood Aquanauts, Warwick followed his brother Gerry into swimming summer meets with Emmorton five years ago.

Back then, however, he didn't have quite the discipline he has now, said Herlinger, who coached Warwick at Emmorton four years ago.

"This is a completely different Jeff," said Herlinger. "He has learned that hard practices give results."

For Herlinger and the Patriots, Warwick's versatility has been one of his best assets.

Herlinger can put Warwick in any event, and that sometimes makes coaching strategy difficult. Each swimmer is limited to two individual and two relay events, so it wasn't easy to draw up the lineup for the county championships with boys preliminaries Wednesday and finals Friday at Magnolia Middle School.

Although high school competition is rarely as tough as the competition Warwick faces in U.S. Swimming meets with the Aquanauts, he plans to stick with John Carroll.

In twice-a-day practice sessions, Warwick spends 3 hours, 15 minutes a day in the pool. He swims with the Patriots from 6 to 7:15 each morning and again with the Aquanauts in the afternoon.

In addition to his individual success, Warwick has helped the Patriots improve their tri-meet showings. For the past few years, the Patriots have had one of the best girls teams in the county, but they have lagged on the boys side.

"Jeff has really solidified our boys team," said Herlinger. "He gets along with everyone. The other kids don't think, 'What a stuck-up freshman.' They think, 'What a talented freshman, and thank goodness he's with us.' "

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