(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Saturday night at the Conference 6 swim championships at Yorktown High School, two Arlington high school swimmers proved what their coaches and teammates already knew: they can swim with anyone in the state.
Yorktown’s Suzanne Dolan captured titles in the girls’ 50- and 100-yard freestyle races and swam the anchor for two relay teams that qualified for the state championships. Washington-Lee’s Jay Delancey won the boys’ 200-yard freestyle, came in 3rd in the 100-yard butterfly and anchored the Generals’ first-place 400-yard relay team that surprised almost everyone in the pool with its win.
Dolan led the Yorktown girls to a third-place finish in the first-ever Conference 6 championships with 323 team points, behind Langley High School (402.5) and McLean High School (377). Washington-Lee’s girls finished in fifth place with 225 points.
The meet was the first time the Arlington schools faced regional powers like Langley and James Madison High Schools in a conference — previously called the Liberty District — championship meet.
Delancey led the Generals’ boys to third place (293 points), behind Madison (428) and narrowly behind Langley (308). Yorktown’s boys finished in fourth place with 247 points.
“Moving into the new conference was eye-opening for the kids,” said Yorktown head swimming coach Claire DiCesare, “but we did really well.”
Generals head coach Kristina Dorville, an animated presence at poolside, was amiably jawing with the head coach of the Madison swim team before the 400-yard relay. When the Generals had a lead by the time Delancey — who’s deciding whether to swim for West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy — dove in the pool for the final leg, Dorville turned to Madison’s coach with a grin and said, “Oh, we’re not gonna win this?”
“Before the race, I said ‘just watch,'” Dorville said after the meet. “I have unending confidence in [Delancey]. I’d have to drag him out of the pool before he’d let us lose that race.”
Each school will send relay teams to state. The Yorktown girls 200-yard freestyle relay finished second in the closest race of the night. The winners, Langley, finished with a time of 1:41.06; Yorktown and McLean finished in 1:41.07. Dolan anchored that team and the 200-yard medley relay that finished third, both qualifying for states.
Dolan has been recovering all year from a wrist injury, and said she wasn’t swimming as fast as she believes she’s capable of.
However, she said, “I was still expecting to win the 50 free, but the 100 is a little harder.” She said the home atmosphere and the cheers of her teammates after the relays made it a special meet. “It’s really exhilarating. It feels really good helping my team do well.”
Next week, both schools will compete in the 6A North Region championships before they send sizable contingents to Richmond Feb. 21 and 22 for the state championships.