Arts & Entertainment

Mason Swimmers Conquer Clarke In Dual Meets

Karen Hamill competes during a recent meet for the George Mason High School girls varsity swim team. (Photo: Emilio Ramos)Mustangs Prepare for Upcoming Date With Local Foe F.C. High

Last season, despite their impressive finish in their first year as a varsity sport, the George Mason High School swimming team still had one more obstacle to overcome entering the 2007 campaign: defeating Clarke County.

Their Bull Run District rivals bested the Lady Mustangs in all of their meetings last year but, given the opportunity to face the Eagles twice in three days, Mason more than took advantage.

Last Friday, Mason went to battle in a rare home dual meet versus Clarke. With Strasburg High unable to attend because of an accident that shut down the highway, the Mustangs and their arch rivals were left to duke it out at the Dunn Loring YWCA.

Both the boys (107-63) and the girls (84-76) dominated Clarke in the overall team standings. The girls squad, moreover, had a winner in all but two events, while their male counterparts, led by freshman Will Doty, continued their outstanding season.

Doty posted a team-record time in the 100 butterfly, finishing in 1:00:94 and winning by nearly 10 seconds. Classmate Sam Butler tasted victory in the 50 freestyle, in addition to swimming in the victorious 200 yard freestyle relay.

The 200 yard medley relay team of seniors Jeffrey Williams, Andrew Breen and Kyle Nette and sophomore Sam Parker posted yet another state qualifying time, building on the success they had last year in which they reached the state meet.

Parker also won the 100 yard breaststroke, while the 400 yard freestyle relay team of Nette, Williams, senior Colin Lauer and junior Carlos Clark also was victorious. Clark took over in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle, besting the nearest swimmer by 12 and 40 seconds, respectively in the two races.

On the girls' side, it was all Mason as they continued their hot start to the season. Senior Krisie Southern led the attack with first place finishes in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle, while senior Jourdan Frankovich won the 200 yard freestyle.

A pair of sophomores — Karen Hamill and Kelley Frank — dominated what few events Southern and Frankovich did not race in, as Hamill won in the 100 yard backstroke and 200 yard individual medley. Frank won the 100 yard butterfly and the 100 yard breaststroke.

All four of these girls swimmers combined to form the potent 200 yard freestyle and 200 yard medley relay, as they won by nearly 20 seconds in each of these events.

Just two days prior, the Mustangs absolutely obliterated the competition in a quad meet with Clarke, Central High School and Strasburg High, as both the boys and the girls won their dual meets.

This meet marked the first time in their brief history that the girls’ squad had ever defeated Clarke County, besting the Eagles 83-78.

“It was really exciting to finally beat them, and this just shows how far we’ve come in the past few years,” commented Kelley Frank following the race. “This just really shows what we’re capable of this year.”

If this meet was any indication, the Mustangs are certainly capable of great things. Three team records on the girls side were shattered, as the 200 yard medley and 200 yard freestyle relay team — combined of the aforementioned swimmers — and Frank in the 100 yard breaststroke swam their way into the books.

Hamill also posted a team record in the 100 backstroke and placed first in the 200 yard individual medley, while Frank finished first in the 100 butterfly as well. Southern continued her dominance in the freestyle events, earning first in the 100 and placing second in the 50. Frankovich took care of the 200 yard freestyle, winning by nearly six seconds.

While the Lady Mustangs eked out victories over Central and Clarke by a combined nine points, their male counterparts had an easier time dispatching their opponents. The boys’ average margin of victory was 70 points, allowing a mere 35 points per match to their opponents.

Carlos Clark, much like Southern and Frankovich, ran the table in the freestyle events he competed in, finishing first in the 500 yard and 200 yard. Other individual winners included Sam Parker in the 100 yard breaststroke and the 200 yard individual medley, Sam Butler in the 500 yard freestyle and Jeffrey Williams in the 100 yard freestyle.

Relay winners for the Mustangs included the 400 yard freestyle team comprised of Williams, Clark, Nette and Lauer, the 200 yard freestyle of Breen, Williams, Doty and Butler, and the 200 yard medley squad, featuring Doty, Parker, Nette and Breen.

“We really have a strong senior presence this year, and when it comes to meets it definitely shows,” said senior captain Andrew Breen. “That’s not to say, though, that the underclassmen aren’t doing their share. Some of them swim just as fast as the seniors.”

Having lost just one meet this year, the boys go into Friday’s match versus local rival Falls Church High looking to extend their impressive campaign, in which they have lost just two dual meets dating back to last year.

The ladies ride a four meet winning streak into Friday, where they will take on AAA Wakefield in addition to the Jaguars. The meet begins at 6:30 p.m. at Providence Pool.