Severna Park High School (SPHS) and Broadneck High School (BHS) came into the 2023 Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association swimming and diving state championships riding a wave of momentum.
Both squads notched impressive results in the regional championships on February 18, with the SPHS girls and BHS boys teams taking first place. The BHS girls and SPHS boys notched second-place team finishes.
“The energy on the pool deck was electric when they announced that we had won regionals,” said first-year SPHS head coach Trevor Brinton. “The girls team worked so hard this season to earn that championship, and you could see it in all of their smiles.”
The SPHS girls finished regionals with plenty of hardware. The Falcons raced to eight first-place finishes and four second-place swims. Severna Park also had seven swimmers crack the top six.
“We were all really excited and just ready to swim fast,” SPHS sophomore Sydney Sloan said.
The Broadneck boys had five first-place finishes and a pair of second-place finishes en route to defending their regional title.
“Being the defending champs comes with some pressure to perform but knowing that our hard work had paid off again was relieving,” Bruins senior Jack Barrett said. “My favorite moment was our [400-yard freestyle relay] win,” Barrett said. “I was the anchor for the relay, and I knew I was going up against Severna Park’s Morgan Sloan and that I most likely couldn’t beat him if we were even. So right before our third swimmer, Kohl Hanes, dove in, I screamed, ‘Get me my lead back.’ And he did, and it ended up with us winning our relay.”
Fast forward to the state championships on February 25 at the University of Maryland Eppley Recreation Center Natatorium in College Park, Maryland. The SPHS and BHS teams looked much different, and smaller in numbers, than they did at the regional competition. This was due to many Falcons and Bruins swimmers also competing with club teams, which are part of the national USA Swimming organization.
USA Swimming is composed of 59 local swim committees, or LSCs, based on location. Maryland is divided between a pair of committees — Potomac Valley Swimming and Maryland Swimming. All counties in the state are part of the Maryland Swimming LSC except for Montgomery and Prince George’s. Maryland Swimming runs its own championship meet the same weekend as the high school state championships, forcing most club swimmers who reside in Anne Arundel County to choose between competing in the club or high school championship meet. A query to MPSSAA asking whether efforts would be made in the future to deconflict schedules was not answered.
Despite the scheduling obstacle, the goal at the state championships remained similar to other meets for Severna Park and Broadneck. Improve times and score some points.
“It’s really great to swim against people who are really driven, and it drives me more,” said Broadneck junior Sara Dreibelbis. “It’s always a fun experience to be here.”
Severna Park senior Morgan Sloan provided one of the Falcons’ highlights at states with his 100-yard butterfly effort. Going into the event, Sloan’s seeded time of 54.92 seconds didn’t even have him in the fastest two heats. But, with a strong start, speedy turns and efficient strokes, Sloan touched the wall after his race and quickly glanced at the scoreboard to see his time of 51.53 seconds. Ultimately, not only did Sloan trim his seeded time by more than three seconds, but it was also fast enough to earn eighth place in the state.
“I knew I had it in me,” Sloan said. “I didn’t think I’d go that fast.”
With the swim, Sloan made the last individual event of his high school career matter as he scored 11 points for the Falcons while earning a coveted spot on the podium.
Severna Park’s Grace Morgan achieved a personal best time of the year in the 100-yard backstroke. But beyond best times, Morgan is thankful to the sport for other reasons as well.
“Everyone is like family to each other,” Morgan said. “Not only is swimming a good workout, but I can be with my friends and build relationships with the people around me while doing something that I love.”
Broadneck’s Hanes, a freshman, shaved more than two seconds off his best time in the meet’s longest event, the 500-yard freestyle. At the state championships, Hanes’ time of 4:48.78 earned him 12th place. With an upperclassman-heavy leaderboard in the distance event, Hanes is set up well for his sophomore campaign.
“Swimming is something I’ve been good at for a while, and I love it,” said Hanes, who has a strong grasp of pacing and strategy that longer swim events require.
Severna Park senior Maddy Goger is one of the team captains for the Falcons, and she also had a personal best high school time in the 50-yard freestyle at states. Her 24.99-second effort earned her 11th place.
Goger — who is slated to attend Columbia University, where she also plans to play lacrosse — spoke of the energy that her teammates had coming into the states after a successful regional meet.
“We’re all really grateful to have this good bond,” Goger said. “I’m going to miss everybody so much.”
Colleen Parr Winans has helmed the Broadneck swim program for 16 years, and she also stressed best times and finishing in the top 16 in events to score team points. She quickly added additional priorities for her squad.
“Our third goal is to get on the podium as well as have fun and support teammates,” said Winans, who also pointed out the solidarity among Anne Arundel County coaches and teams on the University of Maryland deck, where traditional rivals were rooting for each other’s success at the meet.
On the girls’ side, Severna Park and Broadneck finished states in 13th and 17th places, respectively. Severna Park’s boys team finished in 16th place and Broadneck’s boys finished in 18th.
The top 10 team finishers at the state championships for both girls and boys were from Montgomery County, where schools don’t face the club and high school swimming schedule conflict.
More photos from the state championships are available here.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here