Swim dives into postseason

Junior+Timmy+Ellett+swims+breaststroke+during+a+meet.+Ellett%E2%80%99s+strong+swimming+is+one+of+the+reasons+the+boys+have+performed+so+well+after+last+year%E2%80%99s+disappointing+season.+Photo+courtesy+of+Lifetouch+Studios

Junior Timmy Ellett swims breaststroke during a meet. Ellett’s strong swimming is one of the reasons the boys have performed so well after last year’s disappointing season. Photo courtesy of Lifetouch Studios

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Coming into the season, WJ swim and dive expected to be a force in Montgomery County swimming.  The girls team was coming off an undefeated season, and although the boys struggled last year, they knew they could be competitive with a strong incoming freshman class to support the upperclassmen.  So far, both teams have more than lived up to expectations.

The girls have been a step ahead of the competition with convincing victories over all their opponents.  They kicked off the season with a 110-75 win against Whitman and followed that up with a 103-82 win against Churchill.  They then went on to beat Poolesville 102.5-82.5 and then beat RM by a score of 134.5-50.5.  Facing their stiffest test of the season, the girls prevailed over BCC by a score of 97-88.  The team’s hot start is encouraging for a group that was facing uncertainty after losing a lot of seniors from last year’s state championship winning unit.

The girls dominance has been spearheaded by all around contributions from all four classes in all four strokes.  Senior captain Kiki Bonetta-Misteli, junior Maya Drill, junior captain Grace Burgett, and sophomore Molly Benson give the team a very deep freestyle group that is capable of performing in all distances.  Bonetta-Misteli and Drill are among the better freestyle sprinters in the county, while Benson and Burgett lead the way in the longer distances.  

Senior Athena Aravantinou and Bonetta-Misteli give the girls two of the best backstrokers in the county.  Freshman Jane Umhofer has contributed right away as well, establishing herself as one of the top breastrokers in the county.  The girls remain strong in the butterfly and the individual medley as well, with Arvantinuo turning in some of the better butterfly times in the county, and Umhofer doing so for the individual medley.

“I think we’ve been doing really well this season, even better than I expected,” Bonetta-Misteli said.  “Everyone has just been getting really excited for their races and we always have good energy.”

The girls are looking strong heading into the postseason where Bonetta-Misteli thinks they can have the same success they did last year.

“I have high expectations for metros, states and regionals.  Metros is going to be tough to win, but hopefully we can take states and regionals,” Bonetta-Misteli said.

Although the boys season hasn’t been as prolific as the girls, it has been just as admirable considering where they were last year.  Coming off an 0-5 season, the boys’ were motivated to produce better results this year, and have succeeded in doing so.  They’re currently 3-2 with victories over Whitman, Poolesville, and BCC by scores of 102-83, 118-67 and 114-71.  Their two losses have come against Churchill and Richard Montgomery, two of the strongest teams in the county, by scores of 113-72 and 106-77.

Like the girls, the boys have a surplus of swimmers in the freestyle with senior Connor Demitz, juniors Sean Keller and Timmy Ellett and sophomore James Collishaw all giving the Wildcats good results in the stroke.  Sophomore Matthew Laclef has taken a step up in his second year, as he has one of the best 100 backstroke times in the county.  Freshmen Henry Bagshaw and Jorge Otaiza have strengthened the group, Bagshaw in the breastroke and Otaiza in the butterfly.  And sophomore transfer student Patrick Connelly has given the team a lift in the butterfly as well.  But the star of the team is undoubtedly Ellet who has the number one 200 individual medley time in the county.

“This year the boys are really coming back strong and getting some good wins,” Ellet said.  “We lost a couple of strong seniors last year but brought in a lot of incoming freshman who are helping us a lot.”

Ellet is particularly happy with how the team has moved on from last year, and is fully focused on improving.

“I like how the guys kept their head up after a tough season last year, pushing us to a much better season this year,” Ellett said.

Ellett is confident that the boys’ can continue the success of this bounce-back season into the playoffs.

“We really think we are going to have great swims at states and metros,” Ellet said.  “The attitude of the team is great right now and I am sure we will see great results.”

Although their paths to success have been different, boys and girls swim and dive look like they could end at the same destination: postseason triumph.

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