WINFIELD — The Carroll County Invitational celebrated its 30th year Wednesday with the annual county meet, a summertime staple for area swimmers.
It's a time to reunite with friends and represent any of the county's eight teams that sent more than 350 swimmers into action at South Carroll Swim Club. It's also a time to have fun and jump into the pool with perhaps a new viewpoint.
"Everyone's here; you get to see everyone swim," said Mia Mesceda, a 13-year-old who swims for South Carroll. "It's exciting."
The meet started in 1987 when Karen Straehle's in-laws, who ran the Howard County championships, gave her the idea of introducing a county-wide event in Carroll. Events were hand-timed, and eight placewinners were recognized with ribbons.
Back then, Straehle said, four teams competed — Freedom, South Carroll, Westminster Riding Club, and some swimmers from West Howard. Individuals who weren't on teams joined in.
More teams were formed and became part of the Central Maryland Swim League, which also meant their addition to the county meet. Soon there were medals for first through third place, and ribbons all the way to 16th place.
Now the county meet boasts eight teams. Carroll Aquatics, North Carroll, Nottingham, Ridge Swim Team, and Westminster Swim Team have joined Freedom, South Carroll, and Westminster Riding Club (West Howard is no longer part of the group).
Straehle, a former longtime Carroll Invitational meet director, said it feels like 30 years have passed in a blink.
"I just think it's fantastic," said Straehle, who helped behind the scenes Wednesday evening by making sure scores were posted and ribbons were divvied up. "The kids love it."
Those kids also got a chance to earn a spot at the upcoming Straehle Invite, a first for the county meet in terms of being a qualifying meet.
Mesceda won two races Wednesday and set new county meet records in the 100-meter individual medley (1 minute, 09.41 seconds) and the 50 breaststoke (35.09).
South Carroll's Matthew McGoey entered five events and won them all, and the 18-year-old set three meet records in the process. McGoey's 100 IM time of 58.92 set a county meet and pool record, and he added new marks in the freestyle (53.53) and backstroke (28.5)
McGoey, like many of his counterparts, is a year-round competitive swimmer. And that makes the annual county meet an opportunity to relax.
"My main goal is basically to have fun," McGoey said. "And when I have fun, I swim fast. I try as hard as I can, but I definitely appreciate how fun it is."
But, with Straehle spots up for grabs, McGoey said understood the new wrinkle added some spirit to the meet.
"Just watching my sister [Shannon], who is trying to get her first Straehle cut, it's more excited to cheer for her," McGoey said. "I get really energized, because everyone is standing around the pool cheering for you. It's really cool."
9-10 100 IM: Brendan Moran (WST) 1:30.96
11-12 100 IM: Chris Tomsuden (SC) 1:15.03
13-14 100 IM: Luke Isayiw (SC) 1:06.19
15-over 100 IM: Matthew McGoey (SC) 58.92
6-under 25 free: Micah Seligman (SC) 21.89
8-under 25 free: Jeremiah Erb (CA) 17.09
9-10 50 free: Brendan Moran (WST) 35.0
11-12 50 free: Chris Tomsuden (SC) 28.75
13-14 100 free: Luke Isayiw (SC) 59.31
15-over 100 free: Matthew McGoey (SC) 53.53
6-under 25 back: Micah Seligman (SC) 26.68
8-under 25 back: Jeremiah Erb (CA) 22.15
9-10 25 back: Brendan Moran (WST) 18.91
11-12 50 back: Chris Tomsuden (SC) 34.02
13-14 50 back: Conor Moran (WST) 31.47
15-over 50 back: Matthew McGoey (SC) 28.5
8-under 25 fly: Jeremiah Erb (CA) 21.0
9-10 25 fly: Hayden Speace (SC) 16.9
11-12 50 fly: Chris Tomsuden (SC) 31.35
13-14 50 fly: Conor Moran (WST) 29.63
15-over 50 fly: Matthew McGoey (SC) 26.97
8-under 25 breast: Jeremiah Erb (CA) 22.65
9-10 25 breast: Gabriel Erb (CA) 22.5
11-12 50 breast: Chris Tomsuden (CS) 40.35
13-14 50 breast: Luke Isayiw (SC) 33.65
15-over 50 breast: Matthew McGoey (SC) 32.51
9-10 100 IM: Lillian Griffin (WST) 1:25.94
11-12 100 IM: Lauren Helminiak (SC) 1:21.18
13-14 100 IM: Mia Mesceda (SC) 1:09.41
15-over 100 IM: Megan Fields (SC) 1:12.66
6-under 25 free: Riley Niles (NOT) 26.81
8-under 25 free: Addison Powers (FRE) 17.71
9-10 50 free: Sophie Long (WRC) 34.95
11-12 50 free: Lauren Helminiak (SC) 31.19
13-14 100 free: Victoria Kaufman (WST) 1:00.78
15-over 100 free: Megan Fields (SC) 1:03.82
6-under 25 back: Maggie Mesceda (SC) 31.0
8-under 25 back: Addison Powers (FRE) 22.06
9-10 25 back: Lillian Griffin (WST) 18.72
11-12 50 back: Lauren Helminiak (SC) 36.90
13-14 50 back: Victoria Kaufman (WST) 51.90
15-over 50 back: Megan Fields (SC) 33.75
8-under 25 fly: Addison Powers (FRE) 18.7
9-10 25 fly: Lillian Griffin (WST) 15.2
11-12 50 fly: Erin Budde (SC) 35.56
13-14 50 fly: Allison Tomsuden (SC) 31.01
15-over 50 fly: Isabella Mawry (WRC) 33.14
8-under breast: Camryn Giza (NOT) 26.44
9-10 25 breast: Jillian Hawkins (WST) 20.34
11-12 50 breast: Leah Gude (SC) 43.0
13-14 50 breast: Mia Mesceda (SC) 35.09
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15-over 50 breast: Sydney Laughlin (CA) 41.19