The Northern Region dominated the Virginia AAA state swim meet at George Mason last weekend, filling up each of the top five slots in the boys and girls team competitions. Oakton ran away with its second straight girls team crown in convincing fashion, while Robinson held off region champion Madison to secure its first title in four years.
Janet Hu continued her habit of shattering records every time she jumps in a pool for the Cougars, this time breaking her own state and pool marks in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. She finished in 52.84 seconds in the butterfly and 53.27 in the backstroke.
Hu also displayed impressive splits in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays, events that Oakton won with ease. In addition to four individual titles, the Cougars touched first in all three relays, setting state records in two and coming up four-tenths of a second short of a record in the other. At the end of Saturday’s events, the undefeated Concorde champions walked away with a 275-128 advantage over second-place Yorktown in total points.
“The girls came out on fire and swam just lights out,” Oakton swim coach Parker Ramsdell said. “While we were led by folks like Janet [Hu] and Megan [Byrnes] who had great individual swims, the fact that we were able to win all three relays speaks volumes about the depth of the team, that it’s not just about the superstars.”
Byrnes, Oakton’s freshman phenom, set a state record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4 minutes 49.75 seconds, nearly 10 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Senior Philip Hu broke the state record in the 100 backstroke to lead the Oakton boys to a third-place finish, half a point short of second-place Madison. In all, the Cougars broke six of the 24 state meet records.
“It’s incredible. You’d think at some point all these times would kind of reach the point where you can’t go much faster, but they keep on going faster and faster and faster,” Ramsdell said. “It’s a tribute not just to the competitive nature of it all, but to the amount of time that these kids put in training ... It shows a lot about that internal drive that they have.”
The Robinson boys, meanwhile, topped Madison by a 218.5-192.5 margin. The Rams gained confidence heading into Saturday’s proceedings after strong performances in Friday’s prelims, after which they realized they were projected to win the meet.
Freshman James Murphy led the Rams with a strong swim in the 100 free, which he won in 45.70 seconds. Murphy claimed second in the 200 freestyle and anchored the 200 free and 400 free relays.
“We knew at regionals that Madison had really strong depth to their team,” Murphy said. “We knew that states was a little bit quicker of a meet than regionals and that they would lose some of that depth. So we were just hoping that we would be able to win it this time instead of getting second like we did at regions.”
According to Murphy, Robinson swimmers spent the whole meet focusing on making sure the team’s seniors ended their careers in style. After a streak of seven consecutive years of winning the state title, the Rams had recently suffered a three-year drought that they were determined to end last weekend.
“Winning this year was really great because we could bring back the title after waiting so long,” said Robinson senior Johann Shim, who placed third in the 100 breast and 10th in the 200 IM. “We had some talented freshmen come in this year, and that was a huge thing for us winning states.”
Oakton diver Bennett Fagan placed eighth in the diving final, while Robinson’s Troy Holder finished 10th.