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Group AAA Swim Meet: Barden’s surge for state title falls short


FAIRFAX—The sound coming from 35 feet to Justin Barden’s left wasn’t a horn. It was a human voice instructing all swimmers to stand clear of the platform, and still, Barden’s body lurched forward, his arms flying outward, his mind remaining on a fast start.

He had been swimming since he was 8, attracted to the pool by an older cousin who liked to swim, though it took him some time to grow to love the water. His first victory came four years later in a Junior Olympic event, and he got so accustomed to winning that Friday, in the preliminaries of the Group AAA state championship, where most swimmers would be content to place among the top 16 and qualify for the finals, Barden dropped nearly three seconds from his time in the 100-yard butterfly to capture the top seed.

Winning isn’t everything, but it’s close. And while close saved the senior from Orange from not being disqualified because of a false start in the finals of that event—his feet remained firmly planted on the platform, despite both the warning and his impulses—it didn’t do him any favors.

“Once in a blue moon,” Barden said. “You never really expect it, but luckily, I was able to catch myself.”

Barden finished second in the butterfly in 50.23 seconds, falling a close 0.59 of a second behind Thomas Jefferson freshman Andrew Seliskar at the Jim McKay Natatorium at George Mason.

A lanky senior, Barden had the advantage over his younger opponent for much of the race. He led by .18 of a second after the first 50 yards, but Seliskar caught up after the final turn, eventually surpassing the top seed over the final 15.

But the pause on the plat-form was a problem. Only on a handful of previous occasions had Barden experienced a similar situation, and Saturday, the most inopportune moments struck.

“I held my breath for a little bit there, but he was all right,” coach Ryan Campbell said. “The other kids were just faster today. That’s the way it goes.”

Barden later gained a measure of satisfaction, improving upon his seed time in the 100-yard backstroke to capture third in 51.29 seconds. And with teammates John Marquis, Ryan Hofmann and Alex Montes de Oca, the foursome started off the meet by finishing the 200-yard medley relay in 1:40.70 to take 15th.

Montes de Oca, a finalist in two individual events himself, was eighth in the 200-yard individual medley in 1:56.71 and finished five places back of Barden in the butterfly, taking seventh in 52.40.

“The move up from AA to AAA was so hard this year, comparing the times and what we did last year,” said Montes de Oca, a junior. “I think we did pretty good.”

Colonial Forge senior Bailie Monahan, headed for East Carolina, reached her goal of earning all-America status in the butterfly, taking third in 55.14 seconds—the first time all season she didn’t win the event.

Instead, that honor went to sophomore Janet Hu from Oakton, who won her second consecutive title with a state record time of 53.20 seconds.

“Going in there, I really wanted that all-America qualifying time, and I accomplished it, so I’m happy,” said Monahan, who also was fourth in the individual medley in 2:05.59 and was part of two relay teams—the medley relay, which was seventh, and the 400-yard freestyle relay, which was 12th. “It was such a great experience to be swimming with this team, with these coaches, with my teammates. I appreciated their support, and I’m just going to take that and go to college. I’m so excited.”

Mountain View’s Michael Sell was sixth in the backstroke, while his sister, Katie, finished 13th. And Riverbend’s Kayla Brumbaum placed fifth and 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke and the individual medley, respectively.

Cox of Virginia Beach won the boys’ team championship with 246 points and Oakton of Vienna the girls’ title with 183. The Colonial Forge girls were 14th with 68 points and Orange, led by Bardin and Montes de Oca, finished 15th in the boys’ team standings.

Bardin, who holds four individual records and all three relay records, will swim again at George Mason as soon as next season, when he enrolls at William & Mary.

“It’s a great place,” Bardin said. “Plus, I swim fast here. I just gave it 100 percent. I couldn’t have gone any faster than I did.”

    GIRLS (x–state record)

    TEAM SCORES: 1. Oakton 183; 2. Osbourn Park 166; 3. West Potomac 162; 14. Colonial Forge 68; 33. Riverbend 20; 39. Brooke Point 10; 41. Stafford 7; 43. Orange 5; 45. Mountain View 4.

    INDIVIDUALS: 200 medley relay: 1. Battlefield (Nina Tremols, Natalie Martin, Holly Criscuolo, Sofia Revilak) 1:45.57–x; 7. Colonial Forge (Ciara McTarsney, Kara Wineinger, Bailie Monahan, Ryli Wisanen), 1:50.75; 16. Suffield (Haylie Harbin, Elizabeth Klevino, Alli Lloyd, Rachel Showers) 1:53.35.; 200 freestyle: 1. Audrey Kula (Osbourn Park) 1:52.31; 13. Mary Flinn (Brooke Point) 1:56.38; 200 individual medley: 1. Amanda Carner (Menchville) 2:02.01; 4. Bailie Monahan (Colonial Forge) 2:05.59; 11. Kayla Brumbaugh (Riverbend) 2:09.16; 50 free: 1. Abi Spears (Langley) 21.62; 1-Meter Diving: 1. Katherine van Winkle (Marshall) 418.90 points.; 100 butterfly: 1. Janet Hu (Oakton) 53.20–x; 3. Bailie Monahan (Colonial Forge) 55.14; 100 free: 1. Sofia Revilak (Battlefield) 51.44; 16. Rachel Showers (Stafford) 55.38; 500 free: 1. Amanda Carner (Menchville) 4:54.93; 11. Caroline Wanner (Brooke Point) 5:10.78; 13. Haylie Harbin (Stafford) 5:11.67; 200 free relay: 1. West Potomac (Maxine Clifford, Sara Bertram, Reanna Dona, Hellen Moffitt) 1:36.58; 100 backstroke: 1. Janet Hu (Oakton) 53.45–x; 13. Katie Sell (Mountain View) 59.72; 100 breaststroke: 1. Jenna Van Camp (Herndon) 1:02.95; 5. Kayla Brumbaum (Riverbend) 1:04.04; 12. Larissa Neilan (Orange) 1:06.31; 14. Kara Wineinger (Colonial Forge) 1:07.14; 400 free relay: Oakton (Laura Branton, Stephanie Hallock, Kendall Lawhorn, Janet Hu) 3:31.89; 12. Colonial Forge (Ryli Waisanen, Kara Wineinger, Ciara McTarsney, Bailie Monahan) 3:42.02.

    BOYS (x–state record)

    TEAM SCORES: 1. Cox 246; 2. Oakton 168; 3. Thomas Jefferson 146; 15. Orange 60; 18. Mountain View 47; 41. Massaponax 3.

    INDIVIDUALS: 200 medley relay: 1. Cox (Nate DaCruz, Austin Temple, Carson Black, Wesley Francis) 1:33.78–x; 8. Mountain View (Michael Sell, Dylan Phillippart, Michael Slattery, Mike Johnson) 1:33.78; 15. Orange (Justin Barden, John Marquis, Ryan Hofmann, Alex Montes de Oca) 1:40.70; 200 freestyle: 1. Cyrus Hashemi (Marshall) 1:39.83–x; 13. Mike Johnson (Mountain View) 1:46.15; 14. Mathew Halliburton (Massaponax) 1:47.10; 200 individual medley: 1. Andrew Seliskar (Thomas Jefferson) 1:49.83–x; 8. Alex Montes de Oca (Orange) 1:56.71; 50 free: 1. Wesley Francis (Cox) 21.11; 1-Meter Diving: 1. Cory Bowersox (Robinson) 551.00 points–x; 100 butterfly: 1. Andrew Seliskar (Thomas Jefferson) 49.64; 2. Justin Barden (Orange) 50.23; 7. Alex Montes de Oca (Orange) 52.40; 100 free: 1. Cyrus Hashemi (Marshall) 45.39; 500 free: 1. Christian Vivadelli (Maggie Walker) 4:32.68; 15. Mike Johnson (Mountain View) 4:50.78; 200 free relay: 1. Cox (Ben Hansen, Austin Temple, Dalton Malaby, Wesley Francis) 1:24.85–x; 100 backstroke: 1. Stephen Seliskar (Thomas Jefferson) 50.08–x; 3. Justin Barden (Orange) 51.29; 6. Michael Sell (Mountain View) 53.23; 100 breaststroke: 1. Austin Temple (Cox) 57.04–x; 400 free relay: 1. Chantilly (Brian Rothschild, Will Schulte, Evan Baker, Chris Grimmett–Norris) 3:09.72; 14. Mountain View (Mike Johnson, Michael Sell, Daniel Stockner, Michael Slattery) 3:17.54.

Zac Boyer: 540/374-5440