Duo pools talents at Bel Air Still friends: Dan Machovec and Jeff Warwick, both with unbeaten records, have respect for each other's ability.

February 04, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

For the past two years, Dan Machovec, a Bel Air senior, has been one of the top swimmers in Harford County, specializing in distance freestyle events.

So what was he to think last fall, when Jeff Warwick, the county's Boys Swimmer of the Year for 1992-93, returned to high school competition, with the 500-yard freestyle as one of his events? From the beginning, it was no big deal.

"We've been friends for years," Machovec said.

Both carry unbeaten records. Machovec added, "Nobody can beat either one of us, so coach puts us where we're needed."

Head-to-head?

"He was a step ahead of me when we started and he's still there," Machovec said of Warwick, who has set five county records this season, breaking two of his own marks in the process.

Warwick has been swimming since he was 10, and Machovec fell in with him a year later when his family moved from Baltimore. The pool was across the street from their homes.

Warwick, now a senior, displayed speed and versatility as a high school freshman at John Carroll, recording the regular season's best times in five of the eight individual events, and placing among the top three in the others.

He transferred to Bel Air the next year, swam in the high school program only half a season (setting county records in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley), then skipped last year.

A national-level, age-group swimmer, he took the year off to concentrate on his academics and hone his swimming skills.

"My goal has been to go to college, and I thought I needed that time, so I went for it," he said.

Two years ago he was close to 6 feet tall and weighed 125 pounds, but in the ensuing time he has grown an inch and, with the help of a supervised weight training program, added 40 pounds. His swimming performances have improved dramatically, and he has a 3.0 average in the classroom.

"I wanted to come back," he said of the county's swim program. "I really missed my friends, and I like swimming for a team."

Machovec received honorable mention on the All-County team as a freshman, then blossomed. In each of his sophomore and junior years, he won two individual titles. For those two seasons, he had the fastest county times in the 200 and 500 freestyles, and won eight gold medals (four from relays).

He also has a 3.0 academic average and would like to teach science or a related environmental subject.

Machovec, who has trimmed some 50 seconds off his best 500 freestyle time in getting it close to 5 minutes during his high school years, is versatile, too. In a recent meet, he won the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke. The same night, Warwick set a county record in the 500 freestyle (4:46.48) and won the 50 freestyle.

His other county marks are in the 100 freestyle, 48.06; 200 freestyle, 1:46.58; 100 backstroke, 57.29; and 200 individual medley, 1:59.57.

Both swimmers will be among the individual favorites at the annual county championships next week at the Magnolia Middle School pool. Girls finals are set for Thursday; boys finals are Friday.

Bel Air is defending girls and overall champion, and Fallston, whose boys team is undefeated, is defending boys titlist.

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