Inaugural swimming season ends well

Full house watches county championship


February 14, 2007|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Reporter

The first varsity swimming season in Anne Arundel County exceeded expectations, said Greg LeGrand, the county administrator of athletics.

"We were very surprised with how many students came out," said LeGrand, who is in his first year as the county's athletic administrator. "We really thought we would have about five or six schools with about 100 kids, but we're over about 400 kids who came out. We got a lot of help from the community, and it's been wonderful."

After a regular season that consisted of 10 meets for each of the 12 public school teams, the first county championships took place Friday night at the Arundel Olympic Swim Center.

"It went great, and I do perceive it getting bigger," said LeGrand, who credited swimming coordinator Gladney McKay and her volunteers for the county championships running so smoothly in front of a capacity crowd. "I think we had about 150 to 200 kids who had never participated in an extracurricular sport in our county before. So this was their first entrance into high school athletics. We're really happy to tap into that new group of students. I do see it getting bigger, now that it's also a state sport."

Regional championships are set for this weekend in Class 4A-3A and Class 3A-2A-1A at the Fairland Aquatic Center in Prince George's County, to be followed by the states at the University of Maryland on Feb. 24.

LeGrand credited the success of the inaugural season in Anne Arundel County to the efforts of retired teacher and coach Tim McMullen.

"Tim went around with me to various sites and pools to get pool time," said LeGrand, who used three pools this year and hopes to add a few more by next season. "We made it our priority when I came in [July] to get all the questions solved, and we got a lot of help from the community."

North County senior Jamie Schmidt, who won the 50 freestyle Friday, swam for Mount de Sales in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland her first two years of high school. Schmidt said the county program this year was every bit as good as the one in Baltimore.

"It seems pretty big now in the county, and everybody is asking about it," she said. "I think it can become a lot bigger than it is now. It's been a lot of fun and so well-run."

Quick hits

The Broadneck boys basketball team was without Clyde Gross (16 points per game) Friday when it was upset at Severna Park, 51-50. Gross has been placed on academic probation until March 2. He could return for the Class 4A East regional final, if the Bruins are involved. ... Severna Park Boosters president Larry Sells said that over $2,600 was collected in donations for the Jimmy Pitt Fund at Friday's Severna Park-Broadneck game. Jimmy Pitt, the son of former Severna Park coach and teacher Jim Pitt, was left paralyzed from an auto accident last

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