The George Mason High School varsity swimming team took on what was their biggest challenge of the season at the state meet in Charlottesville last Friday and Saturday, taking on 68 other AA and A schools from across the commonwealth, and came away with their heads held high.
In an atmosphere to which Mustang coach Jon-Michael Lemon, a ’97 graduate of the high school, referred to as “pretty overwhelming,” 12 Mason swimmers to compete in a field that included 236 relay teams, as well as 731 single swimmers in Charlottesville. Lemon stated it was the largest meet Mason had competed in, by far, in their first season as a varsity sport. Despite their newfound varsity status, the Mustangs took home an unofficial single A state title on the girls side. While Mason competed in an event with both AA and A schools, they finished ahead of all of the other A schools in Virginia, ranking 29th overall. The boys were not far behind their female peers, as they finished 30th.
Freshman phenom Kelley Frank was the lone finalist for the Mustangs in the two-day event, as she carried Mason to their point total by herself. Frank was the only single A girl to reach a final, finishing in a tie for fourth in the 50 freestyle. Her time of 25.25 in the finals was enough to net her a medal for the event.
Three boys relay teams reached the finals, with the 200 medley as well as the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams finishing 16th, 15th, and 16th respectively. In the process, the boys managed to drop considerable time from their state-qualifying time they posted earlier in the year.
The 200 medley relay team of juniors Colin Lauer, Kyle Nette and Andrew Breen, as well as freshman Sam Parker, was seeded 21st going into the state meet, but managed to move up five spaces. The 400 freestyle relay team of Lauer, Nette, junior Jeff Williams and sophomore Carlos Clark improved their entry position of 23th to 16th.The Mason 200 freestyle relay team was comprised of Breen, Nette, Williams, and senior Eddie Huber.
On the girls’ side, senior Kirsti Price put up one of the most impressive feats for the Mustangs on the weekend, dropping nearly two seconds in her 50 freestyle relay split time. That made up the majority of the three second improvement the 4×50 girls relay team saw. Juniors Krisie Southern and Jourdan Frankovich, as well as anchor Frank rounded out the relay team.
The girls 200 medley relay team of senior Mariam Alshagra, Frankovich, Frank and Southern finished 33rd. Individually, Frankovich finished 39th in the 200 freestyle, while Frank took a 17th place finish in the 100 freestyle.
For the boys, Carlos Clark finished 31st in the 200 freestyle and 30th in the 500 freestyle, Sam Parker placed 29th in the 200 IM and 40th in the 100 breaststroke, Andrew Breen took home a 31st finish in the 50 free, while Nette finished 19th in the 100 butterfly. Jeffrey Williams and Colin Lauer finished back to back, 30th and 31st respectively, in the 100 freestyle.
Lemon is optimistic about next season, though noting the team will miss the contributions of Alshagra, Price and Huber, as well as all the contributions Attaphon Sakprayoonpong and Charlotte Volpe brought to the squad throughout the season.