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Group AAA Swim Meet: Athletes slotted for a final splash

MONAHAN, BARDEN AMONG REGION SWIMMERS

TO PUSH FOR STATE TITLE SATURDAY

BY ZAC BOYER

FAIRFAX—Bailie Monahan has no regrets when it comes to swimming.

Granted, she doesn’t have the opportunity to have many. The holder of eight school records, undefeated in the 100-yard butterfly all season and headed for East Carolina next fall, Monahan, the Colonial Forge swimmer, is not one to get out of the pool with any kind of doubt.

But when she expressed slight disapproval in her finish in the 200-yard individual medley during the preliminary round of the Group AAA state finals at George Mason on Friday, her coach, Georgia Rathje, knew that it would be a temporary feeling, not a permanent one.

“I know that it’s only for a small time disappointing to her, because she knows that she’s going to have another opportunity to do it right,” Rathje said. “She’s a very quick learner, knows what she does wrong and doesn’t make the same mistakes.”

Monahan finished the 200 IM in 2:06.29—good for seventh place, where she’ll squeak into the eight-swimmer top heat for a chance at the state championship Saturday night. She also finished fourth in the butterfly, completing the four laps in 56.35, but chalked that up more to simply being in position to qualify than achieving any specific mark.

“I really just wanted to make it into the top heat, to be honest,” said Monahan, whose mark in the butterfly was her best high school time. “I’m just really looking forward to finals.”

Monahan was also part of the 200-yard medley relay team that, with fellow senior Ciara McTarsney and freshmen Kara Wineinger and Ryli Waisanen, finished eighth in 1:49.95. And her 400-yard freestyle relay team placed 10th in 3:41.50—its strongest time of the season.

Monahan faces a strong task to try to claim the top spot. Janet Hu, a sophomore at Oakton, set a state record by finishing the event in 54.49—nearly two seconds faster than Monahan.

“I mean, she’s such an incredible swimmer, it’s just fun to swim in the same heat as her,” said Monahan, who finished second to Hu last year. “She’s incredible.”

That’s not likely to faze her, her coach said said.

“I know that Bailie is a very consistent swimmer, and she’s going to go out and give it 100 percent,” Rathje said. “Even if she can’t go a 53 or a 54, she’s going to give it everything she has.”

Orange senior Justin Barden, who will swim at William & Mary next year, was the only Fredericksburg-area swimmer to earn a top seed in an event.

His 50.29 first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly was not only a school record, but it was 2.84 seconds faster than any time he had recorded this season.

That meant he jumped from being seeded 20th out of 33 qualified swimmers to the top spot, earning all-America consideration in the process.

“I mean, I gave it my all,” Barden said. “I wasn’t expecting to go that fast. I knew it would be tough to get into the top eight with the time that I had. I didn’t even think I’d make top eight, so I just gave it 100 percent and luckily I got into first.”

Barden had no desire to simply coast into the top heat. He wanted to capture the top seed to give himself a better chance in the finals, and his time, which set a school record, coincidentally followed other record-setting times by Ryan Hofmann, who was 19th at 52.89, and Alex Montes de Oca, who was sixth at 51.49.

Montes de Oca was also fifth in the 200 IM at 1:55.74 and Riverbend’s Kayla Brumbaum was third in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:03.73, allowing them both a shot at state titles.

Mountain View will aim to have the best 200-yard medley relay team, placing eighth in 1:38.37, and backstroker Michael Sell will vie for the individual title after placing seventh in 53.00. Katie Sell, a freshman, took 10th in the backstroke, as well, finishing in 59.60 to improve on being seeded 18th out of 26 qualifiers—a performance coach Michele Golles described as “unbelievable.”

“I was surprised by the medley relay,” Golles said. “I was surprised by the backstroke, both the Sells, and they knew that they could come back, but they knew they had to give a personal best time. Neither one of them are really shaved or tapered so much. They’re both rested, so for them to be able to pull of those great swims [was remarkable].”

    PRELIMINARY RESULTS

    GIRLS

    200 medley relay: 8. Colonial Forge (Ciara McTarsney, Kara Wineinger, Bailie Monahan, Ryli Waisanen) 1:49.95; 16. Stafford (Haylie Harbin, Elizabeth Klevino, Alli Lloyd, Rachel Showers) 1:57.88.; 200 freestyle: 12. Mary Flinn (Brooke Point) 1:56.87; 200 individual medley: 7. Bailie Monahan (Colonial Forge) 2:06.29; 50 free: 1. Abi Speers (Langley) 25.51; 100 butterfly: 4. Bailie Monahan (Colonial Forge) 56.35; 100 free: 14. Rachel Showers (Stafford) 55.13; 500 free: 12. Caroline Wanner (Brooke Point) 5:11.29; 13. Haylie Harbin (Stafford) 5:13.36; 100 backstroke: 10. Katie Sell (Mountain View) 59.60; 100 breaststroke: 3. Kayla Brumbaum (Riverbend) 1:03.73; 12. Larissa Neilan (Orange) 1:05.85; 13. Kara Wineinger (Colonial Forge) 1:06.12; 400 free relay: 10. Colonial Forge (Ryli Waisanen, Kara Wineinger, Ciara McTarsney, Bailie Monahan) 3:41.50.

    BOYS

    200 medley relay: 8. Mountain View (Michael Sell, Dylan Phillippart, Michael Slattery, Mike Johnson) 1:38.37; 14. Orange (Justin Barden, John Marquis, Ryan Hofmann, Alex Montes de Oca) 1:40.32; 200 freestyle: 13. Mike Johnson (Mountain View) 1:46.20; 200 individual medley: 5. Alex Montes de Oca (Orange) 1:55.74; 100 butterfly: 1. Justin Barden (Orange) 50.29; 6. Alex Montes de Oca (Orange) 51.49; 500 free: 16. Mike Johnson (Mountain View) 4:51.94; 100 backstroke: 4. Justin Barden (Orange) 51.64; 7. Michael Sell (Mountain View) 53.00; 400 free relay: 11. Mountain View (Mike Johnson, Michael Sell, Daniel Stockner, Michael Slattery) 3:18.20.

Zac Boyer: 540/374-5440

zboyerom@freelancestar.com

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