Boys and girls swimming double-dominate GMC championships

This story was published on thecspn.com on February 4th, 2014. The GMCs took place on the 1/31 – 2/2 weekend.

The boys and girls swim teams created some major waves at the Greater Miami Championship this past weekend. For the girls, winning their seventh title 650-436 was just familiar territory. For the boys, however, this GMC title had been long awaited, according to head coach Mark Sullivan, who also received the GMC Coach of the Year award.

“It’s always a big meet for our girls [because] we want to keep that undefeated [streak, which has been] going since we’ve been in the league,” Sullivan said. “The boys, however, have not won over the last four years, so it’s really, really important. One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to win the league and get that league championship back.”

The boys accomplished this goal after defeating Sycamore with a tight score of 478-396. The Aviators have been the defending champs and the Comets’ main rivals in the past couple of years.

“We knew we were going to be in a really, really big battle against Sycamore because obviously they didn’t want to give it up,” Sullivan said. “But we definitely wanted [the title] back, and the boys had a very, very good meet. It was actually really close. It was a lot closer than the girls’ score. I think it was well within about 80 points, so [Sycamore] gave it a good run, but we were able to overcome that.”

On the boys team, Justin Hove won the 200 and 500 freestyle. The 200 freestyle relay team with Mpoki Mwalupindi, Preston Bailey, Peter He and Justin Hove and the 400 freestyle relay with Justin Hove, Brad Siekmann, Joel Thatcher, and Peter He also contributed to the GMC win.

“We basically really won the meet on depth,” Sullivan said. “We can enter four people in an event which is pretty much the same as the girls, so all four of those swims really stood up and did well.

On the girls end, the Comets snatched up the 200 IM, 50, 100, and 500 yard freestyle, 200 medley relay, 200 and 400 freestyle relay, and one meter diving. Key standouts included senior Zoe Thatcher, freshman Ashley Volpenhein, and senior Sydney Carr, according to Sullivan. Thatcher and Volpenhein won two events each, while Volpenhein won the Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet award. Carr was named Outstanding Diver of the Meet.

“Two of the relays set new league records — the 200 medley and the 200 freestyle relay,” Sullivan said. “So that was kind of neat [because] those records have been on the books for [a long time]; one was [about] 15 years old. So it was nice to see that record finally get broken.”

By breaking and making records, both the boys and girls are now treasuring this title.

“[For] both teams, overall it was a nice team win,” Sullivan said.

According to Sullivan, although GMCs are an important accomplishment, for the Comets they are just a small piece in the bigger picture of competing well in the districts, sectionals, and state championship. Sullivan said that the new GMC title will encourage a positive attitude for the remainder of the season.

“With them swimming as well as they did, I think it’s really going to give them really nice motivation and a lot of self confidence these next three remaining weeks where they’re going to do really well,” Sullivan said. “It’s like any sport, you carry that momentum so it really, really helps that they’ve done so well.”

Next, the Comets will have another home pool advantage as they take on sectionals this upcoming Friday and Saturday.

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