George Mason High School’s swim team took the pool by storm over the weekend when the boys won the Class 2 state title with 354 points while the girls fell just short, taking second in the state competition with 299 points.
For Mason’s boys, this year’s title marks their fourth in the last five years. The girls are still seeking a state championship since 2015, having been runners-up in 2013, 2016 and 2017 before this season’s conclusion.
The victory for the boys marked a hard-earned conclusion after a year of plotting their return to the state tournament, where they fell just short in 2017. This year, they were able to crush the competition, besting Maggie Walker Governor’s School (274 points), Clarke County High School (211 points) and Virginia High School (169 points).
For the girls, there was a steep hill to climb. Since state champions are determined by both swimming and diving, Richmond-based rival Maggie Walker took first and second in the state diving competition at an earlier date and gave the Dragons a significant cushion heading into the swim meet. Still, the girls made it interesting by narrowing Maggie Walker’s lead to less than 50 points, but couldn’t overcome the significant advantage the Dragons had attained.
“We were definitely a little more confident with the boys side. They were touched-out in a few events last year and really wanted to go against Maggie Walker, so they put a lot of pressure on themselves to deliver,” Mason head coach Meghan Wallace said. “We knew the girls were going to be a lot closer, since the diving was likely going to affect them, but we were hoping for some top finish and they made a huge improvement in their placement.”
Both teams leapt up the standings from the previous year. The boys jumped from second to first in the state meet while the girls catapulted up three spots, going from fifth to second in 2018.
Mason also won a plethora of events. The boys won the 200m freestyle relay, 200m individual medley, 100m backstroke, 100m breastroke and the 100m and 50m freestyle. Along with that, the girls won the 200m medley relay, 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle and were just touched-out in the 200m freestyle relay.
Individual performers who excelled were Adam Janicki and TJ Roche, both who had two first place finishes, along with Sam Updike who set a state record in his individual first place finish. The 200m freestyle relay team of Ryan York, TJ Roche, Sam Updike and Matt Ng were the final winning pair. On the girls end Ellen Chadwick and Marie Roche both took first in their individual events, while the relay team of Hannah Rollins, Maddy DuBois, Marie Roche and Ellen Chadwick secured the first place finish in 200m medley relay.
All in all, it was a solid showing for the Mustangs at the state tournament and happy ending to to a year of perseverance.