Alexandria’s Chinquapin Wahoos Earn 20 First Place Finishes in Final Regular Season Meet

Wahoo Grace Wittmer (left) and Squid Ellie Browne dive in to lead off the girls 5-18 200-yard freestyle relay as Wahoos Isabel Martorana (black suit) and Elisabeth Carroll (aqua suit) prepare to swim. (Photo: Marisha Goldhamer)

By Marisha Goldhamer

ALEXANDRIA, VA -On Saturday, July 15, the Chinquapin Wahoos captured 20 individual first place finishes, and one team record fell,  But the Fort Myer Squids won more relays to secure a 252-199 victory in the final dual meet of 2023 Colonial Swim Leauge (CSL) season.

It was the girls day to shine at the Old Town Pool as Grace Wittmer and Isabel Martorana won all three of their races and Elisabeth Carroll broke the team record for the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 30.74 seconds. The previous record of 31.06 seconds was set by Emily Andrews in June 2019.

Wittmer had a banner day for the 11-12 girls, dropping three seconds to win the 50-yard freestyle in 29.96 seconds. She dropped a further three seconds to win the 50-yard backstroke in 37.30 ahead of Fort Myer’s Evely Logsdon (37.42) and teammate Alexis Hyland (44.12).

She led a Wahoos 1-2-3-4 in the 50-yard butterfly with a 37.78 win, accompanied on the podium by Emma Boyd (49.12), Genesis Divett (50.10) and Freya Montes de Oca (50.84), while breaststroke saw a 2-3 finish for Montes de Oca (44.16) and Boyd (50.52).

L-R: Wahoos Genesis Divett, Freya Montes de Oca, Grace Wittmer and Emma Boyd celebrate sweeping the 11-12 girls 50-yard butterfly race. (Photo: Marisha Goldhamer)

Wittmer also factored in two winning relay squads. She swam the butterfly leg of the 11-12 girls in the 200-yard medley relay with Hyland (backstroke), Montes de Oca (breaststroke) and Clara Hagemann (freestyle) finishing in 2:41.39, more than 18 seconds ahead of the Squids.

She also got the 200-yard freestyle relay off to a lead with Martorana, Ansley Godfrey and Caroll bringing it home in 2:05.78.

“It was a tremendous individual effort,” Coach Denis Burstein said, calling Wittmer’s time drops “amazing.”

Martorana continued her stellar season, leading the 9-10 girls with wins in the 50-yard freestyle (35.01), 50-yard breaststroke (50.67) and 25-yard butterfly (18.77).

In addition to Carroll’s record breaking second place finish in backstroke, she won the 15-18 girls 50-yard freestyle (27.10) and placed third in the 50-yard breaststroke (36.37).

The youngest Wahoo girls also racked up points. Madison Forde won the 25-yard breaststroke in 30.21 seconds followed by Campbell Robb (31.90) and the 25-yard butterfly (25.64) ahead of teammate Ryan Shaw (30.77).

Shaw out touched Forde by 0.88 to win the 25-yard freestyle, while Wahoos Ottlie Lakshas and Samantha Salinas were even closer – 0.15 seconds – in their 2-3 finish in the 25-yard backstroke.

Salinas, Robb, Forde and Shaw combined for a 100-yard medley relay win that squashed the Squids by more than 20 seconds.

In the girls 13-14 division, Julia Davis scored her first win of the season with a 41.16 second 50-yard breaststroke, 0.17 seconds ahead of Fort Myer’s Claire Hystad.

Godfrey also snagged two second place finishes with a 30.87 second 50-yard freestyle and 36.89 second 50-yard butterfly.

In the boys races, Bennett Sherry was again a huge factor for the youngest squads. He won the 8 and under 25-yard breaststroke in 22.90 seconds and the 25-yard butterfly in 18.60 seconds.

Burstein asked him to swim up a division for the 50-yard backstroke and he delivered the 9-10 squad a win with a time of 41.26 seconds. He also led off a thrilling 9-10 100-yard medley relay which featured Sawyer Blais (breaststroke), Max Kessler-Gowell (butterfly) and Lucas Babineaux hitting the wall in 1:16.57 seconds, 0.78 seconds ahead of the Squids.

Wahoos Sawyer Blais (left) and Max Kessler-Gowell (right) start the boys 9-10 25-yard freestyle race. (Photo:: Marisha Goldhamer

Blais topped two of the 9-10 races, winning the 50-yard freestyle in 35.06 seconds and breaststroke in 49.12 seconds. Kessler-Gowell beat him to the wall in the 25-yard butterfly by 0.33 seconds for a 2-3 finish.

Eight-year-old Chase Conjura put up a series of personal best times to win the 25-yard freestyle in 16.53 seconds, the 25-yard back in 21.12 seconds and come third in the 25-yard butterfly (21.51). He was also a key piece of the winning 8 and under 100-yard medley relay. Joined by Derrick Grajowski, Daniel Freinberg and Max Postow, the youngest Wahoo boys outswam the Squids by 6.22 seconds for a time of 1:33.74.

Postow earned a third place point in the 25-yard freestyle (18.55) while Grajkowski (24.14) touched third in backstroke and George Proud (28.62) came third in breaststroke.

Dominic Grajkowski shined for the 11-12 squad, swimming three personal bests to win the 50-yard backstroke in 37.03 seconds, touch second in freestyle (31.43) and second in butterfly (37.46). Ethan Sparrow (45.24) snagged an additional point for the Wahoos with his third place finish in the backstroke.

Fort Myer’s older boys proved tough to top, but 15-year-old Jonathan Ramsdell overpowered the Squids with his 29.45 second win in the 15-18 50-yard breaststroke. His third place in the 50-yard backstroke was decided by 0.02 seconds.

In the 13-14 division, Alex Guevara turned in a second place finish in the 50-yard backstroke (30.90) and two thirds in freestyle (27.27) and breaststroke (36.57) – the latter decided by 0.01 seconds.

Alex Wittmer (29.90) and Chris Paz (33.08) also factored in the 13-14 50-yard butterfly race finishing 2-3 behind Fort Myer’s Cole Evans (28.33).

Mikal Helms is hugged by his mother Samrawit Helms as he and fellow graduating senior Bodie Lauinger (right) are recognized by the Wahoos at their final dual meet. Helms joined the Wahoos at age six and Lauinger has been on the team since he was five-years-old. (Photo: Marisha Goldhamer)

Swimming in his final dual meet, senior Mikal Helms took second in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.78 seconds, 0.61 seconds behind Fort Myer’s Zack Berner. Helms, who has been a Wahoo since he was six years old, also took second in the 50-yard butterfly (26.37) and third in the breaststroke (31.19).

The Wahoos will travel to Burke on July 22 to participate in the CSL’s White Division championship meet.

SEE MORE:Chinquapin Wahoos Earn First Win, Upsetting Burke Center

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