NDP's dual-meet win streak ends after 4 years, 50-44 to McDonogh

400 freestyle relay clinches win for Eagles

Blazers lose first since '97

Girls swimming

High schools

January 16, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

McDonogh sophomore Danielle Spearman lost her first two races of the swimming season yesterday afternoon, but she more than made up for it in the end.

Spearman held off Notre Dame Prep junior Bridget Kimmel in the final leg of the 400-meter freestyle relay to lift the Eagles to a thrilling 50-44 victory before a boisterous, standing room only crowd in Owings Mills.

With the victory, McDonogh improved to 12-0 and ended NDP's four-year dual-meet winning streak. The Blazers (8-1) - who have won every Catholic League and Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship since 1995 - last lost a dual meet on Dec. 16, 1997. Since Lisa Wiegmann took over as coach in 1995, NDP has lost just two dual meets - both to McDonogh - and has never failed to capture its conference championship.

McDonogh led 44-40 after 10 events, which meant NDP needed to win the 400 freestyle relay, worth six points to the winner, to have a chance. But in the first leg, unbeaten junior Liz Williams grabbed a sizable lead that freshman Claire Hutchinson and senior Michelle Freeman guarded.

Spearman then held off Kimmel by 6 1/2 seconds to finish in a time of 3 minutes, 39.98 seconds and provide the clinching points.

"We had a really big lead, luckily, because Bridget is an amazing swimmer," said Spearman, who earlier placed second in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke. "I just knew it was the only chance we had, so I gave it everything I had."

Williams had a big afternoon all around, winning all four of her events. She took the 200 freestyle in 1:55.79, the 100 freestyle in 53.74 and was a part of the 200 freestyle relay team that won in 1:43.84.

"The girls came up big," McDonogh coach Scott Ward said. "In every race that we talked about, where we needed them to pull it out, they did it."

Freeman also captured the 50 freestyle in 25.33, and Hutchinson claimed the 500 freestyle in 5:07.80. For NDP, sophomore Katie Hopkins took the 200 individual medley in 2:10.34, the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.58 and swam a leg on the victorious 200 medley relay team.

Kimmel won the 100 butterfly in 58.24, the 100 backstroke in 58.64 and swam the first leg for the 200-medley relay team. But by the time her turn came in the 400-freestyle relay, Spearman led by nearly 25 meters.

"I knew Spearman was pretty far ahead," Kimmel said. "I hoped something would happen, but I was pretty sure going off that they were going to win. McDonogh was definitely on its game today, but hopefully the IAAM championships will be a different story."

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