By Reach for the Wall Staff; Photos by Marcus Chen
Bethesda MD- Tuesday November 15 marked the opening night for the WMPSSDL season as Stone Ridge/Gonzaga hosted Good Counsel for the first dual meet. Stone Ridge left no doubt that they are one of the top teams in the area and will be tough to beat come Championship season. The meet started with diving, where Michelle Mazzara (2022 NISCA All American and Metro runner-up) set the tone, posting a 6 dive total of 249.75, out scoring Good Counsel’s Fiona Tworowski by over 60 points!
Stone Ridge started the swim competition off with their top lineup in the 200 Medley Relay (Liza Goetcheus, Cameron House, Eleanor Sun, Erin Gemmell) posting a 1:47.16 , a time that would have placed 3rd in the 2022 Metro’s. In the 200 Freestyle, Good Counsel’s Madison Smith (2022 NISCA All American) took the win over Stone Ridge Lauren Tucker 1:56.04 to 1:58.04, both very solid times to open the season!
In the 200 IM Stone Ridge’s Eleanor Sun (2022 NISCA All American) out paced the competition by 8 seconds to take the win.
Stone Ridge then went 1-2 in the 50 Freestyle, with Freshman Addison Webb taking the win in 25.18. Liza Goetcheus kept the streak going for Stone Ridge, taking the top spot in the 100 Butterfly. Erin Gemmell (2022 NISCA All American) swam her first individual event, taking the 100 Freestyle in 51.09, 4 seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher Addison Webb.
Good Counsel then took the top 2 spots in the 500 free, with Madison Smith nabbing her 2nd win of the meet, touching the wall in 5:09.73 and her sister Lauren in 2nd with a 5:32.85.
In the 200 Freestyle Relay, Stone Ridge again put together a strong lineup, with Erin Gemmell anchoring in 22.83, posting an overall time of 1:37.26.
The 100 Backstroke was a battle between Celia Watkins of Good Counsel and Darby LeFaivre of Stone Ridge, with Celia touching 1st in 1:00.53. The 100 Breaststroke was not without suspense as 3 Stone Ridge swimmers, Eleanor Sun, Cameron House and Erin Gemmell touched within .9 of each other. Erin got her 2nd individual win of the night hitting the wall 1st with a 1:05.77, Cameron House was 2nd in 1:06.23 and Eleanor 3rd in 1:06.66. Those times would have been 5th, 6th and 7th at last year’s Metro’s meet. Stone Ridge completed the meet with the win in the 400 Freestyle Relay, touching almost 2 seconds ahead of Good Counsel. Final score was Stone Ridge 111.5, Good Counsel 77.5
Gonzaga came into the meet with a lot of changes from last year’s team. They graduated 3 of the top 4 point scorers at last year’s Metros (Mac Marsh, Collin McKenzie, and JT Snow) and have a new coach at the helm Brian Kilner. The new coach and Gonzaga got things going in the first event, with the 200 Medley Relay team of Jack Moloney, Trent Badrak, Aiden Bond and Lukas Zidlicky posting a winning time of 1:37.38, 5 seconds clear of Good Counsel. In the next event (200 Free), Malcolm McKenzie captured the win for Gonzaga from an outside lane, posting a strong 1:48.84. Caden Wilkinson then led the Eagles to a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 IM. In the 50 Free, Gonzaga placed 5 in the top 6, with Jack Moloney touching 1st in 21.61. Owen Watkins touched 2nd for Good Counsel in 21.72 and Lucas Zidlicky, 3rd for Gonzaga in 21.87 to conclude the swimmers who got under 22 in the race. For perspective, those three times would have been top 10 at last year’s Metro meet. Trent Badrak posted the top time in the 100 Butterfly with a 53.36. Owen Watkins got the first win for Good Counsel in the 100 Free, taking the race in 50.87 and Gonzaga’s Palmer Bice won the 500 in 4:51.74. In a bit of a surprise, Good Counsel (Chase Keeler, Braxton Cobbs, Nikolai Kalinin, and Owen Watkins) touched out Gonzaga in the 200 Free Relay 1:34.55 to 1:34.72 with Watkins completing the anchor leg in 21.60 to secure the win for the Falcons. Chase Keeler, kept some momentum going for the Falcons and jumped right back in the water for the 100 Backstroke, hit the wall 1st in 55.04, just ahead of Aiden Bond of Gonzaga who finished 2nd in 55.13. The Breaststroke race had Gonzaga occupy the top 3 spots, with Trent Badrak winning in 1:02.69. Gonzaga went on to take the top 3 spots in the final relay and completed the win for the Eagles. Final score: Gonzaga 129, Good Counsel 51