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Bel Air girls swim to District title; C. Milton Wright wins overall team championship

Members of the Bel Air High School girls swim team celebrate their win during Wednesday evening's girl's District VII swim championship at Magnolia Middle School.
Members of the Bel Air High School girls swim team celebrate their win during Wednesday evening's girl's District VII swim championship at Magnolia Middle School. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

The Bel Air Bobcats girls swim team won the District VII championship Wednesday night at the 11-team meet held at Magnolia Middle School.

The Bobcats, led by three individual champion finishes, scored 306 points to defeat runner-up C. Milton Wright, 290. North Harford was third with 241.

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The overall team championship went to CMW buy a half point. The Mustangs totaled 601, to Patterson Mill’s 600.50.

For Bel Air, sophomore Olivia Van Dyke led the way with wins in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.

Van Dyke swam 1:00.69 to win the fly race, beating Edgewood senior Pri Velez, who touched in 1:03.73.

Four events later, Van Dyke swam 1:04.75 to win the back race. Fallston freshman Anna Gnagey was second in 1:06.37 and Edgewood’s Velez was third in 1:07.56.

Teammate Broxa Benesh, a junior, added a win in the 50 freestyle race.

Benesh won in 26.40, nipping Bo Manor’s Anna Miller (26.67) and Lauren Seco of North Harford (26.69).

“It’s really exhilarating to touch and then see that time up on the board, it’s so exciting to see when you get great times,” Benesh said.

Benesh also won the 50 free title a year ago.

Patterson Mill senior Katerina Lomis was the other double winner.

The first Lomis win was no surprise. She swam 2:15.83 to easily win the 200 IM race over a pair of Fallston freshmen. Abby Schneider was second (2:20.84) and Anna Gnagey (2:23.18) third.

Lomis then came back a few events later to win the meet’s longest race, the 500 free.

Lomis swam 5:29.74 to win by nearly three seconds over North Harford junior Emily Iampieri (5:32.46). Havre de Grace senior Sydney James was third in 5:41.55.

“Before my race, I was talking to my teammates Issara Ounnarath and Alan Nguyen and they were both telling me to make sure that I keep my pace from the beginning,” Lomis said. “I was thinking, this is my last race in my senior season, the last time doing the 500 at least, and so I really wanted to focus on my goal to go under my best time.”

She did with the sub 5:30.00 time. “I did everything I wanted to do this meet, I’m really happy with the way things turned out and that I’m able to go the times that I wanted to go,” Lomis said.

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Lomis and three teammates closed the meet with the closest finish of the night.

The Huskies foursome of McKenzie Milstead, Sarah Lingelbach, Julia Everitt and Lomis swam 3:52.68 to win the 400 free relay.

CMW’s team of Jamie Hanson, Hannah Silcox, Deirdre McAliskey and Kaylee Blair. Blair, the anchor, gave a valiant effort, but her touch in 3:52.70, was just, too late.

That same foursome, though, opened the meet with a tight win in the 200 medley relay.

Blair, Silcox, McAliskey and Hanson swam 1:57.78 to edge Bel Air’s swimmers by a tenth of a second.

Bel Air swimmers Kyleigh Weaver, Lydia Loftus, Van Dyke and Benesh finished in 1:57.88.

The other relay went to North Harford in a slight upset. Grace Feldbush, Erin O’Leary, Lauren Seco and Iampieri won in 1:47.62.

Bel Air swimmers Van Dyke, Weaver, Mackenzie Skelton and Benesh were second in 1:47.74.

CMW sophomore Blair won the 100 free event. Blair’s time of 55.41 was two seconds faster than Bel Air’s Benesh (57.56). Seco of North Harford was third in 58.24.

The 100 breaststroke was a battle of two freshmen and a good battle. Fallston’s Abby Schneider swam 1:11.42 to edge CMW’s Silcox, who was a close second in 1:11.56.

The night’s other event, the 200 free, was won by Elkton sophomore Elizabeth Pennington. Pennington swam a Cecil County record time of 1:59.83 to win.

North Harford’s Iampieri, who had the best seed time, was second in 2:00.29.

CMW’s Blair was third in 2:02.74.

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