The Thomas Jefferson Colonials have established themselves in the top tier of the swim teams in the Northern District thanks to their efforts this past weekend at the Liberty District championship meet at the in Annandale. Both the boys and girls teams came in fourth place.
The diving competition proved to be a bit of a let-down for the Colonials' boys team, as none of their divers qualified for regionals and the strong performance of the Fairfax boys' team lifted the Rebels into third place in the overall standings. On the girls' side, Emily Saitta and Kristen Skowronski each qualified for the regional meet. Saitta also qualified for states with her performance on Sunday.
Led by junior Stephen Seliskar, all three boys’ relays (200-yard medley, 200-freestyle and 400-freestyle) will be headed to the regional meet later this week, Seliskar was already headed back to the state championship meet in his individual events (200-freestyle and 500-freestyle) and Evan McMurray will have a chance to extend his season at regionals in the 100-freestyle and 100-backstroke.
Seliskar’s priority Saturday night was helping the Jefferson relays qualify for regionals. That done, coach Alexandra Porter said Seliskar will focus on the 200-freestyle and 100-butterfly later this week.
“He’s (qualified for) the state meet three straight years,” she said. “This year, particularly, he’s matured into being a leader. He looks like a good candidate for a captain next year as a senior. The kids look up to him. They know how good he is and they want to be (that) good.”
Seliskar was in the final heat of the 200-yard freestyle, perhaps the most exciting event of the night. The top three finishers all broke the district record, set last year former Madison swimmer Adam Pennington. Charlie Putnam of McLean swam 1:42.46 and took over the record, while Ryan Natal (Langley), Cyrus Hashemi (Marshall) and Seliskar all earned state meet berths.
Other swimmers advancing to regionals out of the district meet were Katie Bennett (200-IM, 100-backstroke) who will be joined in the girls’ 200-freestyle relay by teammates Sarah Liu (also qualifying in the 100-breaststroke), Brianna Kim and Leah Gonzalez.
While the Colonials are not yet on par with annual Liberty District title contenders like this year’s winners Madison (boys) and Langley (girls), Porter believes the team is making great strides, evidenced by success in dual meets this year.
“They’ve had a great season. Their record all year long shows it,” she said. “We graduated so many good seniors last year. I was worried. They came out and worked out over the year and really stepped up. I’m really proud of them, they’re awesome.”
Langley High School, Mclean High School, James Madison High School rounded out the top three in team rankings, respectively, with Fairfax High School taking the fifth spot in girls. On the boys side, James Madison came in first place, follow by Langley, Fairfax, TJ and then Mclean.