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The Stonewall Jackson swim teams sport a number of members capable of reaching regions and possibly even states.
SJ swimmers banking on strong individual showings for post-season
© Gainesville TimesThe sheer number of swimmers at Stonewall Jackson does not put the Raiders in the best position to compete for the Cedar Run District title this year.
However, the Manassas school sports a number of team members capable of reaching regions and possibly even states.
As the Raiders wrapped up their meet against Patriot on Jan. 11 at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center in Manassas, boys team captain Jeff DelSordo explained that both squads sport more diversity when it comes to the number of different styles of events members can compete in this year compared to last year.
He mentioned how the boys might have maxed out at two teams for each relay event last year but are often sporting three per relay event now.
"The key in swimming is to fill every single lane," said the junior.
Like in track, points in swimming are not just accrued from the best swimmers. While a win may award an individual five or 10 team points for an event, someone finishing even sixth or seventh could win a point or two depending on the competition.
Patriot sported that range in droves on Friday, as both the boys and girls collected more than 200 points each while the Raiders ended up mired up in the 70s.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to have swimmers who can actually compete for a title each time they step in the pool, and Stonewall likewise tallied two wins Friday, one for each squad.
Sophomore Natalie Prunell's time of 2:06.12 in the girls 200 yard freestyle put her in first place for that event and senior Matt Pomajevich took home the top spot in the boys 50 yard freestyle with a time of 23:49.
Prunell explained that since last season, there are fewer year-round swimmers on this time around though the ones that are there "know the team spirit better."
"They're always the ones on the sidelines cheering," she said.
According to DelSordo, he and fellow captain Zach Thornburg along with Anthony Dupree and Aidan Mortensen are among those preparing for potentially competitive showing in the post-season as relay swimmers.
That said, the 200 yard freestyle relay team of Pomajevich, Jack Goodson, LJ Nadal and Andrew Sorensen earned one of the Raiders' two top relay showing on Friday by coming in second place with a time of 1:38.75.
The team of Pomajevich, Goodson, Sorensen and Michael Hayden also claimed the silver in the 400 yard freestyle relay at 3:51.40.
DelSordo explained that one dynamic difference between the girls and boys teams is that they have opposite strengths and weaknesses.
The boys tend to be better at sprints while the girls are better at distance, something he chalked up to the nature of the sport.
For the girls, team captain Sara Pancerella and Mary Blodgett tend to lead exercise workouts by focusing on ab development, DelSordo said, while he prefers strength training and Thornburg leads on arobics.
Blodgett, Pancerlla and Christiana Winter, who came in third in the 200 yard individual medley, are among the team's top swimmers and also vocal leaders.
"They're not afraid to tell the team how to improve," said Prunell.
DelSordo added that one of the team post-season goals for the boys is to earn third place or better in the 200 meter freestyle relay during districts and that, at this point, "just send (as many) of those guys as possible" to regions.
"We need as many people to qualify for regions as we can," said Prunell.