The Straehle Invitational, held at the Four Seasons Sports Complex in Hampstead, brings the Central Maryland Swim League’s top swimmers together to show off their talents.
The annual invite hosted more over 1,200 swimmers from 47 teams on Wednesday, and Carroll had representation from seven teams — Carroll Aquatics, Freedom Dolphins, North Carroll Sea Lions, Nottingham Marlins, South Carroll Swim Team, Westminster Riding Club and Westminster Stingrays.
Addison Powers, 10, broke a Freedom Swim Club team record with a first-place victory in the 50-meter freestyle. The event was Powers’ second of the day and she finished in 31.50 seconds, which snapped the previous Freedom record of 31.90.
“It makes me feel really happy that I could make it because they’re really old records,” Addison said. “They’re really cool to break.”
Addison took first in her two other individual events as well, the 100 individual medley (1:21.21) and the 25 butterfly (16.09).
Jenna Handwerger, Powers’ best friend and Freedom Swim Club teammate, won the 9-10 2 backstroke in 20.44. Jenna finished second to Powers in the 100 IM in 1:21.38. The girls said they have known one another since kindergarten, but they swim on different teams in the winter.
“We push each other,” Jenna said. “We swim about the same speed.”
Jenna and Addison have been competing since they were both 8 years old. Addison was first exposed to swimming when she was 6 and early lessons soon turned into actively competing on the Dolphins’ swim team.
Coaches paced the side of the pool with timers and clipboards, carefully observing their swimmers as they competed at the Straehle. Loved ones and other onlookers cheered while recording the events on their cellphones.
Rainy weather from the previous few days left the grassy areas surrounding the pool a muddy and murky mess, but it did not seem to hinder the attitudes of those in attendance.
Westminster Stingrays’ Ryan Mahoney (8-under) added to his success from last week’s Carroll County Invitational when he won the same three events — the 25 freestyle, the 25 backstroke, and the 25 butterfly. Ryan swam faster times in each event than the winning ones he posted last week at South Carroll Swim Club.
Last week, he broke a 22-year-old county record in the 25 butterfly in 18.26 seconds. The record was originally held by South Carroll’s Jason Federline in 1996 (18.56). Ryan won the 25 butterfly in 17.95 seconds on Wednesday.
He took first in the 25 back in 20.44 seconds and the 25 free in 16.28.
Baltimore native Michael Phelps, who has won more Olympic medals than anyone in history, is a former Straehle swimmer whose name remains on the prestigious meet’s record sheet. He still holds the 8-under 25 backstroke record with 17.44, a feat he accomplished on July 31, 1994.
Westminster Riding Club’s Casey Zentz (11-12) added another Straehle victory for Carroll County when she won the 50 backstroke in 34.69 seconds.
Addison Powers said she loves competing for Freedom because the Dolphins enjoy each other’s company and the practices are fun.
“I know this is a really good meet and it just feels really cool to be here,” she said. “In order to do that I have to keep getting better because the times get harder.”