Given 2nd chance, NDP finishes first

Blazers avenge only loss to McDonogh to clinch 8th conference title in row

Girls swimming

January 27, 2002|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Notre Dame Prep girls swimming coach Lisa Wiegmann said she wore all her good luck charms to yesterday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship meet, which is curious because NDP hadn't needed much luck over the past several years.

The Blazers won their eighth straight conference championship and avenged their only regular-season defeat at the same time, scoring a 403-389 victory over second-place McDonogh. Archbishop Spalding finished a distant third with 263 points.

NDP has now won all three IAAM swimming titles on top of the five consecutive Catholic League titles the school won from 1995 to 1999. Earlier in the season, NDP, which finished the regular season 10-1, lost a dual meet for just the second time in Wiegmann's seven-year tenure, 50-44, at McDonogh.

In that meet, only the top three finishers in each race were awarded points. But in the conference championship, the top 16 finishers in each event earned points, giving a heavy advantage to teams with more depth. Up to 31 swimmers competed in each of the individual events.

"It was an all-out effort by the entire team," Wiegmann said. "We have always done very well, because of the depth of our team. Today, again it came down to our depth. The girls that may not have been the first- or second-place finishers dug deep and got the points that we needed."

McDonogh, which posted a 13-0 regular-season record, finished second in the IAAM because the winner of the season-ending conference meet is awarded the title.

"This is the best depth I ever had, but they were still deeper than us," McDonogh coach Scott Ward said. "Every year I've coached, the team I've had has been better than the team I had before; and still we finish second. Other teams are also starting to get real competitive in this league."

Individually, McDonogh had the top performances, as junior Liz Williams became the fifth swimmer to sweep all four of her events at a Catholic league championship meet. Williams won the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, and she swam a leg on the winning 200- and 400-freestyle relay teams.

Williams set a meet record in the 100 freestyle, finishing in a time of 53.00 seconds, edging NDP junior Bridget Kimmel by .33 of a second. Kimmel, who swept all four of her events at last year's meet, broke her own record in the 100 backstroke (58.43). Kimmel also swam a leg on NDP's record-setting 200-medley relay team, which finished in 1:53.52.

In all, records were set in seven of the 11 events. McDonogh freshman Claire Hutchinson won three events, including the 500 freestyle, which she swam in a record time of 5:04.55. Hutchinson also took second in the 200 freestyle, finishing just .45 of a second behind Williams. Meanwhile, NDP sophomore Katie Hopkins set records in the 200 individual medley (2:10.55) and the 100 breaststroke (1:07.68).

"I think this was even more exciting, because we lost to McDonogh earlier in the season," Kimmel said. "So it was real fun to get to come out here and have another chance."

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