WINFIELD — Folks not competing at Wednesday's annual Carroll County Invitational swim meet would likely have given their paychecks to take a dip in the pool at South Carroll Swim Club, as temperatures flirted with 100 degrees and a heavy dose of humidity made conditions feel sticky in the early evening hours.
The swimmers spent as little time in the water as possible, though, as is their objective when attending such meets. The fastest times prevail over the course of 52 events at the county meet — now in its 31st year — which featured eight Carroll teams and hundreds of swimmers ages 5-18.
And with this being the second year for the meet counting as a qualifier for next week's prestigious Straehle Invitational, Carroll's entrants had one more chance to make a time count.
The action in South Carroll's pool, inviting or not, was all business.
Take the ripples and waves created by Mia Mesceda, one of the area's top girls swimmers.
South Carroll Swim Club's 14-year-old said she has been dealing with some injuries this summer — tendinitis in her right shoulder and a balky right knee, she said — that forced her to scale back on butterfly and breaststroke during competitions. Summer league swimming gives Mesceda a chance to work her way back from the injuries, she said, while still having fun and seeing friends when school is out.
"I saw people I haven't seen since last year at this meet," Mesceda said. "It's really fun to come here and watch everyone, how they got faster over the years and hear about their past years and what they've been dealing with."
She showcased her skill Wednesday with four wins in the 13-14 age group — Mesceda won the 100-meter individual medley, the 100 freestyle, and 50 backstroke.
Her IM time of 1 minute, 9.22 seconds set a county meet record, which Mesceda set at last year's invite (1:09.41).
Mesceda, who also swims with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club — former home team of one Michael Phelps — said physical therapy has helped her regain her strength, and she's closing in on 100 percent health while finding balance in her meets.
"A lot of it is picking events wisely," she said. "If I don't feel good one week, [it's] not doing breaststroke that week or not doing fly that week. Doing plenty of back instead, maybe a relay. A lot of it is also your training for your other teams. You want to make sure that you're doing the things that your [physical therapist] tells you to do.
"You kind of have to really work with your coaches, especially on, 'OK, maybe today I'm not going to do as much yardage, but maybe I'll do some sprint team … today I'll do yardage and not as much sprint.'"
Wednesday's county meet featured nearly 375 swimmers from Carroll Aquatics, Freedom, North Carroll, Nottingham, Ridge, South Carroll, Westminster Stingrays, and Westminster Riding Club.
Westminster Swim Team's Conor Moran dominated the 13-14 age group Wednesday. He racked up wins in the 100 IM, 100 free, 50 back, and 50 fly.
Moran, 14, who calls the butterfly his strongest stroke, said he views the county meet from two stances — having fun and going fast.
"You know everybody here," Moran said. "I swim with the people that aren't on my team in the summer but are on my team in the winter. It's a lot of fun."
Moran swims in the winter for the Carroll County YMCA Piranhas and said logging hours in the pool year-round assists in boosting endurance and lowering times.
"Fast swimming … it's mostly the coaches, working on my technique and getting me faster," Moran said.
Mesceda was one of three county swimmers who set records Wednesday.
Westminster Riding Club's Casey Zentz won the 9-10 50 backstroke in 17.44, eclipsing the previous mark set 18 years ago by Lauren Tabor (17.57).
The third county mark came from SC's Katherine Helminiak in the 13-14 50 fly — Helminiak won in 30.87, breaking the old time shared by Freedom's Amy Hancock (1997) and South Carroll's Allison Tomsuden (2016) at 31.01.
Girls 9-10 100 IM: Addison Powers (F) 1:25.75
Boys 9-10 100 IM: Brendan Moran (WST) 1:26.34
Girls 11-12 100 IM: Lillian Griffin (WST) 1:18.32
Boys 11-12 100 IM: Gavin Rudy (SC) 1:19.87
Girls 13-14 100 IM: Mia Mesceda (SC) 1:09.22
Boys 13-14 100 IM: Conor Moran (WST) 1:07.83
Girls 15-over 100 IM: Victoria Kauffman (WST) 1:10.95
Boys 15-over 100 IM: Ryan Ratliff (SC) 1:03.15
Girls 6-under 25 free: Lily Jillson (WST) 27.31
Boys 6-under 25 free: Aedan Cave (SC) 27.18
Girls 8-under 25 free: Anna Erb (WRC) 18.52
Boys 8-under 25 free: Ryan Mahoney (WST) 17.95
Girls 9-10 50 free: Sophie Long (WRC) 32.65
Boys 9-10 50 free: Brendan Moran (WST) 32.51
Girls 11-12 50 free: Lauren Helminiak (SC) 30.19
Boys 11-12 50 free: William Sevick (SC) 32.24
Girls 13-14 100 free: Mia Mesceda (SC) 1:02.28
Boys 13-14 100 free: Conor Moran (WST) 59.83
Girls 15-over 100 free: Victoria Kauffman (WST) 1:00.89
Boys 15-over 100 free: Ryan Ratliff (SC) 55.0
Girls 6-under 25 back: Corinne Rinker (F) 29.47
Boys 6-under 25 back: Colin Grimm (NC) 32.63
Girls 8-under 25 back: Anna Erb (WRC) 24.77
Boys 8-under 25 back: Ryan Mahoney (WST) 23.83
Girls 9-10 25 back: Casey Zentz (WRC) 17.44
Boys 9-10 25 back: Brendan Moran (WST) 30.63
Girls 11-12 50 back: Lauren Helminiak (SC) 35.44
Boys 11-12 50 back: Gavin Rudy (SC) 35.25
Girls 13-14 50 back: Mia Mesceda (SC) 32.48
Boys 13-14 50 back: Conor Moran (WST) 30.63
Girls 15-over 50 back: Victoria Kauffman (WST) 32.83
Boys 15-over 50 back: Hunter Little (SC) 30.27
Girls 8-under 25 fly: Anna Erb (WRC) 19.51
Boys 8-under 25 fly: Ryan Mahoney (WST) 20.13
Girls 9-10 25 fly: Casey Zentz (WRC) 16.12
Boys 9-10 25 fly: Brendan Moran (WST) 16.39
Girls 11-12 50 fly: Lillian Griffin (WST) 32.12
Boys 11-12 50 fly: Braeden Emore (WRC) 34.64
Girls 13-14 50 fly: Katherine Helminiak (SC) 30.87
Boys 13-14 50 fly: Conor Moran (WST) 28.77
Girls 15-over 50 fly: Victoria Kauffman (WST) 30.75
Boys 15-over 50 fly: Justin Sabo (WRC) 27.83
Girls 8-under 25 breast: Emily Powers (SC) 28.13
Boys 8-under 25 breast: Matthew Muse (WST) 26.52
Girls 9-10 25 breast: McKenna Segura (WST) 21.24
Boys 9-10 25 breast: Justin Friedly (F) 21.43
Girls 11-12 50 breast: Lauren Helminiak (SC) 39.68
Boys 11-12 50 breast: Colin Murphy (SC) 43.9
Girls 13-14 50 breast: Madison McDainels (SC) 36.21
Boys 13-14 50 breast: Aaron Sorkin (WST) 36.97
Girls 15-over 50 breast: Sydney Laughlin (CA) 37.57
Boys 15-over 50 breast: Luke Isayiw (SC) 31.81