Swim and dive team drowns private school record


Photo courtesy of Riley McGuire.

By Riley Hurr, Circulation Manager

For the past 17 years, the boys Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships (Metros), have been dominated by private schools. However, Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 changed that. The CHS boys swim and dive team made history at Metros as they finished with a score of 324.5 points, winning the first place title, defeating Gonzaga Preparatory School by 26.5 points.


One of the unique aspects of Metros compared to typical high school sport competitions is that it is open to both public and private schools, creating more opportunities to compete against a variety of different schools. The boys swim and dive team rewrote the record books as it was the first public school to win first place since 2000, and the first CHS swim and dive team to win since 1989.


“I’m so proud of our kids and the performance they put on,” CHS swim and dive coach Christopher Tappis said. “It has been a long time since a public school has done this on the boys side, and it was nice to be able to break that streak.”

The boys swim and dive team came into Metros this season undefeated. All the hard training for Regionals and States paid off as well, accomplishing their goal of having a perfect season. Diving Regionals were Feb. 15, and Swimming Regionals were Feb. 17. The CHS swim and dive season will be coming towards an end after States which was Feb. 23 and Feb. 24.


At Regionals, the CHS boys swim and dive team finished in first place with a score of 336.5. The CHS girls swim and dive team scored 302 points securing a second place finish at the meet. The girls swim and dive team finished off their season in fifth place at States scoring 184.5 points. The boys swim and dive team claimed the state title with 255 points finishing their season undefeated.


“It would mean the world to me [to finish with a perfect season],” senior captain Sanjay Wijesekera said. “When I came in as a freshman, CHS boys were not very strong and were never considered a high ranking team. Now in my senior year we have a chance to do something really special, making it an amazing send off.”

Throughout the past four years, the CHS boys swim and dive team have been gaining respect in the swimming community, making them a major threat at the meets.


At Metros, the CHS girls swim and dive team finished in ninth place with a score of 178, while Sherwood HS placed first with a total score of 362 points.


“From the team, the girls have had a rough year after losing a bunch of key members,” senior swim captain Ian Mackey said. “However, the boys are downright scary. The level of depth and consistency is incredible, even our second and third fastest swimmers are throwing down best times and beating other team’s best swimmers.”


Mackey, along with junior Steven Mendley, Sean Nguyen and sophomore Ziad Bandak, completed the Boys 200 Yard Freestyle Relay in fourth place with a time of 1:27.40, contributing 38 points to the team score.


Most of the CHS swim and dive team members practice with their club teams, so CHS practices are only twice a week. However, most of their club team practices require before-school practices as early as 4:30 a.m. All the hard work and determination of before school practices led to the boys swim and dive team expecting nothing less than the 2018 Metros title.


“Metro finals is the best atmosphere of any swim meet I have ever been a part of,” Tappis said. “We had a ton of our team there, even the ones who did not compete, coming to cheer us on. It’s loud, there’s so much excitement in the air, and I think that plays a factor in how well kids swam.”


The final team score is a combination of individual points swimmers and divers earn when they place in finals during events or relays. Being a part of a swim and dive team allows you to experience both the individual aspect of competing but also the team aspect as your performance will affect the team score too at the meets.


“Being captain, I have been trying to increase spirit and get my divers more involved,” senior captain Andrew Winer said. “To win Metros as a senior is a great way to finish my high school diving career. I have made so many friends and have become so close with my fellow captains.”


There was some controversy at the meet involving CHS, Georgetown Prep and Gonzaga all leading up to the event. There was an issue in the Metros 2018 Facebook group that led to a Gonzaga swimmer being disqualified from the competition. Also, there were some questions raised about Georgetown Prep being disqualified from a relay that potentially would have given them enough points to win Metros, and other situations that all escalated the tension.


“I would like to applaud our boys team for constantly having each other’s back throughout the meet as the private school swimmers tried to distract us from swimming fast,” Wijesekera said. “It would mean the world to me to give a special shoutout to Alain Vu, Neema Moayed, Matthew Lawrence, Jack Foster, and Theodore Melcher for supporting me throughout the meet.”


Everyone works their hardest to be the best in their event as the goal is to earn the most possible points for the team. Sophomore Noah Rutberg,Wijesekera, Sean Nguyen and Mendley competed in the Boys 400 Yard Freestyle Relay and finished with a school record time of 3:09.68 which added 48 points to the final team score.


“Metros was unbelievable to say the least,” Wijesekera said. “No one other than our coach and our boys really thought we could win. To break a 17 year old streak of private schools claiming the title is something that still has not sunk in. It was thanks to all the guys combined effort and passion to win that catapulted us to the unthinkable.”