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Swimming community descends on Hampstead for Straehle

HAMPSTEAD - The Four Seasons Sports Complex was the site of the 2013 Central Maryland Swim League Straehle Invitational on Wednesday, where swimmers ages 6 to 18 competed in a total of 56 events. Hosted by the Carroll Aquatics Swimming Club, it was the eighth consecutive Straehle Invitational held in Hampstead.

More than 1,000 swimmers from 47 different teams came out for the invitational from Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard counties as well as seven teams from Carroll (Carroll Aquatics Blue Sharks, Freedom, South Carroll Swim Club, Westminster Riding Club, Westminster Stingrays, Nottingham, and North Carroll Swim Team).

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"I think it's great for the sport, especially during summer swimming which is very family-oriented and this is just an extension of that," said Mike Kremer, meet manager and Carroll Aquatics coach. "There's a lot of competition, but it's friendly competition."

Carroll Aquatics finished 10th overall, third among county teams, and did so with standout performances by multiple swimmers including 15-year-old Emily Vance and 17-year-old Sarah Ritter.

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Vance won the 50-meter backstroke and came in second in the 100-meter individual medley. She also placed fourth in the 50-meter butterfly, her third and final individual event of the day.

"Honestly I think you just have to be confident and you have to say I'm seeded first and this is my event and they can't beat me even though they might be close," Vance said, referring to the breaststroke. "You just have to be confident and you can't get nervous."

Teammate Sarah Ritter won the 50-meter breaststroke by 1.06 seconds and also placed third in the 100-meter individual medley, right behind Vance.

"The atmosphere and the amount of people here bring up so much excitement," Ritter said. "And it's getting a lot faster, we noticed there are a lot more faster swimmers here."

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South Carroll finished sixth overall as the top Carroll team, led by 10-year old Mia Mesceda.

Mesceda finished in the top four in each of her individual races, highlighted by a win in the 25-meter breaststroke and a second place finish in the 100-meter individual medley.

"I think I did pretty good, I tried my best and this is always a fun meet," Mesceda said. "There are always different people to push you and people get faster over the years so you always have somebody different to race and a different time to beat."

South Carroll's other top finisher was Megan Fields, who also won the 100-meter individual medley in the Girls 13-14 group.

Nottingham finish tied for eighth overall placing second among county teams and was the only Carroll team to have someone from both the boys and girls side win a race. Brooke St. Martin tied for first in the 15-over 50-meter butterfly and 16-year old Jason Ewart took first in the 50-meter backstroke and second in the 50-meter butterfly.

"I'm pretty happy with my performance today, I messed up on my fly turn a little bit, but life goes on," Ewart said. "It's little things like how hard you practice and how much you put into your sets and if you focus on getting good technique in practice then you'll have good technique in the pool and that will get you a win."

The Baltimore-based Meadowbrook Tomatoes won the overall team title, well ahead of second-place Padonia Park Club.

The Straehle Invitational is the culmination of a season's worth of work for the swimmers and that work paid dividends for many of the Carroll swimmers at this year's meet.

"It's really nice to see the kids get excited and it's such a reward for all the hard work they've put in to come here and be able to compete in this meet," Kremer said.

Added Ritter: "It's awesome for the sport. We all build friendships here, I know people from other teams and just kind of hang out and have a good time here. And it also gets the word out there, there's a big meet in Carroll County and a lot of people know about it."

TOP CARROLL FINISHERS

Girls 9-10 100 Meter IM: 2. Mia Mesceda (SCSC) 1:19.61.

Girls 13-14 100 Meter IM: 5. Megan Fields (SCSC) 1:13.99.

Boys 13-14 100 Meter IM: 5. Ryan Ratliff (SCSC): 1:11.13.

Girls 15 and Over 100 Meter IM: 2. Emily Vance (CASC) 1:11.03, 3. Sarah Ritter (CASC) 1:11.75.

Boys 15 and Over 100 Meter IM: 3. Dan Moreno (CASC) 1:01.70.

Girls 9-10 50 Meter Freestyle: 4. Mia Mesceda (SCSC) 32.37.

Boys 9-10 50 Meter Freestyle: 3. Connor Stewart (FR) 32.89.

Girls 11-12 50 Meter Freestyle: 4. Allison Tomsuden (SCSC) 30.55.

Girls13-14 100 Meter Freestyle: 1. Megan Fields (SCSC) 1:02.78.

Girls 15 and Over 100 Meter Freestyle: 3. Brooke St. Martin (NSC) 1:02.51.

Boys 15 and Over 100 Meter Freestyle: 4. Christopher Ratliff (SCSC) 53.82.

Girls 9-10 25 Meter backstroke: 2. Rachel Cunningham (NC) 17.67.

Boys 9-10 25 Meter Backstroke: 4. Christopher Tomsuden (SCSC) 18.67.

Girls 13-14 50 Meter Backstroke: 4. Lauren Ewart (NSC) 34.27.

Girls 15 and Over 50 Meter Backstroke: 1. Emily Vance (CASC) 31.97, 5. Emily Galen (CASC) 33.21.

Boys 15 and Over 50 Meter Backstroke: 1. Jason Ewart (NSC) 27.59.

Girls 15 and Over 50 Meter Butterfly: T-1. Brook St. Martin (NSC) 31.00, 4. Emily Vance (CASC) 31.52.

Boys 15 and Over 50 Meter Butterfly: 2. Jason Ewart (NSC) 26.75.

Girls 9-10 25 Meter Breaststroke: 1. Mia Mesceda (SCSC) 18.30.

Boys 11-12 50 Meter Breaststroke: 5. Sam Rea (SCSC) 39.62.

Girls 13-14 50 meter Breaststroke: 5. Cameron Ducey (FR) 38.69.

Girls 15 and Over 50 Meter Breaststroke: 1. Sarah Ritter (CASC) 35.69, 4. Brook St. Martin (NSC) 37.84.

Boys 15 and Over 50 Meter Breaststroke: 3. Jared Vance (CASC) 32.18.

Girls 9-10 200 Meter Freestyle Relay: 5. South Carroll Swim Club 2:31.28.

Boys 9-10 200 Meter Freestyle Relay: 4. South Carroll Swim Club 2:29.07.

Girls 11-12 200 Meter Freestyle Relay: 5. South Carroll Swim Club 2:09.61.

Boys 11-12 200 Meter Freestyle Relay: 5. South Carroll Swim Club 2:14.36.

Girls 13-14 200 Meter Freestyle Relay: 2. Nottingham Swim Club 2:04.26.

Mixed 15 and Over 200 Meter Freestyle relay: 2. Nottingham Swim Club 1:50.25.

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