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Carroll County Times
Carroll County High School Sports

Several individual records shattered at 35th annual Carroll County Invitational Swim Meet

In the blistering heat at South Carroll Swim Club, 339 participants from seven clubs competed at the 35th annual Carroll County Invitational Swim Meet. A few athletes stole the show with record-breaking performances.

14-year-old James Fiori, part of the South Carroll Swim Club and an incoming freshman at Calvert Hall, capped off the invitational in style. In the 13-to-14-year-old division, Fiori dominated the competition, finishing the 50-meter breaststroke in 32.66 seconds.

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That broke a Carroll County Invitational record set 16 years earlier by Bradley Ratliff. Fiori was welcomed to a cacophony of cheers from his excited teammates once the record was officially announced.

“I’ve been hitting really good splits to hit that record, so I was very confident,” Fiori said. “Now, I’m very happy that I did. It’s amazing and I know Bradley Ratliff well.”

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Entering the meet, Fiori kept the record on the forefront of his mind, but it wasn’t his only standout performance. He also took home first place in the 100-meter individual medley (1:06:50), 100 freestyle (58.70) and 50 butterfly (29.70).

“Before my event starts, I don’t think of anything ahead of that,” Fiori said. “I just focus on that race. Once that race is over, I just stretch out, get loose and then think about my next race.”

On the women’s side of the 13-14 division, Jenna Handwerger showcased her versatility by competing in four events. She improved on her qualifying time in the 100 IM, 50 backstroke and 50 butterfly and took second place in the 50 breaststroke.

One division up in the women’s 15-and-over age group, 17-year-old Erin Budde and 16-year-old Jillian Hawkins made their marks. During the first event of the afternoon, Budde entered the record books. She finished the 100 IM in 1:07:90, breaking her teammate Victoria Hawkins’ time of 1:09:00 set in 2019.

“It’s really fun,” Budde said. “The girl who used to hold the record is on my club team and we used to talk all the time. So, it’s pretty cool that it was her record before.”

Budde then parlayed that success to a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle and second place in the 50 butterfly. The record proved to be extra meaningful as Budde worked her way back from a severe ankle sprain in March, gaining confidence in the meets before the invitational.

“We raced three weeks ago at a meet,” Budde said. “I had a couple of my best times and I was like, ‘You know what, we’re back for the end of the season.’”

Relishing the opportunity to compete at summer swim meets, Hawkins also made history. She saved her best performance for the 50 butterfly, her third event of the day. Hawkins looked at the record time before the race, then blazed past the competition, finishing in 29.47 seconds to break Allison Tomsuden’s record of 30.02 set in 2019.

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“I’m proud of myself for working hard because it’s not easy,” Hawkins said. “Records are meant to be broken. So, having that attitude keeps me going.”

Hawkins also took first place in the 50 breaststroke (36.08), finished second in the 100 IM and placed third in the 100 freestyle.

As Budde and Hawkins excelled, 15-year-old Mount Saint Joseph student Brendan Moran did so in the boys’ 15-and-over division. A part of the Westminster Swim Club, Moran swept all four of his events. He won both the 100 IM and 100 freestyle with times of 1:04:34 and 55:45, respectively.

Moran carried over that success to the 50 backstroke and nearly broke a team record in the 50 butterfly. His winning times of 30.06 in the breaststroke and 26.91 in the butterfly improved on his qualifying times.

“The 50-meter butterfly was probably my favorite event I did today,” Moran said. “I broke my team record in the 100-meter freestyle, but I missed the meet record by less than a half a second in the butterfly. I’m really happy with what I did and I dropped time in everything I swam.”

With three years left to compete in his age group, Moran is looking forward to future opportunities to break records. His older brother, Conor, graduated from MSJ last year and is on the swimming and diving team at Mount St. Mary’s.

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“Being the little brother, I always looked up to him,” Brendan said. “It got to the point where I started breaking some of his records and it got competitive. I’m really competitive, it went back and forth. I always look to be better than him, just following him in everything he does.”


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