A month ago, Bel Air's swim team managed to edge John Carroll by twopoints. In the rematch Thursday night, the Bobcats not only increased that margin to 49 points, but they also threw in a county record.
Kevin Murach, Erik Jankowiak, Chris Holloway and Rob Flynn set the new mark in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Their time of 1 minute, 35.84 seconds broke the old record of 1:36.52 set in last year's county championship finals by Holloway, Murach, Jankowiak and Gerard Warwick.
Bel Air coach Janus Shimp said she knew the team had the potential to eclipse the old mark, but she had given them a goal of 1:37. Theteam members, however, decided to go for the record.
"We pretty much just pushed for it," said Flynn. "We didn't have to swim anythingelse really hard, so we decided to go after it."
Among them, Murach, Jankowiak, Holloway and Flynn won seven individual races Thursdayto lead the Bobcats through an undefeated season. Bel Air tuned up for this week's county championships by beating John Carroll, 287-238.Havre de Grace was third with 106 points at the tri-meet at MagnoliaMiddle School.
John Carroll managed to win five events in the meet. All of them were in girls events, but the Patriots had expected towin more girls races.
"Bel Air swam fantastic today," said John Carroll coach Al Herlinger. "They beat us at our strength. They came in with some very strong swims with the girls. I did not anticipate them beating some of my girls. And they crushed us in the guys big time."
In addition to sweeping every boys race, the Bobcats also took two of the top three spots in five of nine individual boys races and two of three boys relays.
Multiple winners for the Bel Air boys were Flynn (200 free, 500 free), Holloway (200 IM, 100 fly) and Jankowiak (50 free, 100 free). Murach (100 breast), Jeff Meyer (100 back) and Miller (diving) also posted individual wins.
Just as impressive were the Bel Air girls. The Bobcats won five races -- one more than last time. Jenn Murach took the 50 free and the 100 free while Kathy Rising won the 100 fly and 100 breast. Dominique Cosco took the 200 free.
Bel Air also won two of the three girls relays -- one more than last time. Rising, Cosco, Murach and Anna DeMott won the 200 free relay while Cosco, Rising, Murach and Betsy Steinen won the 200 medleyrelay.
Liz Harris led John Carroll, winning the 200 IM and 500 free. Carrie Dannenfelser took the 100 back, and Heather Martin won thediving. The Patriots' only relay victory came in the 400 free by Harris, Dannenfelser, Angela Cuneo and Joanne Sonberg.
For Havre de Grace, Lindsay Shellenberger and Tommy Caine had the top performances,taking seconds in the diving. Georgianna Davis was third in the 50 free and Marr Carrico was third in the 100 breast.
The county championships get under way Tuesday with preliminaries continuing Wednesday at Magnolia Middle School. The finals will take place Thursday.
Although Bel Air has beaten everybody during the regular season, Shimp said the county championship meet is a much different situation.
"There are too many spoilers this year," said Shimp. "A lot of teamsthat used to be down the bottom have improved so much. They are the ones who are going to make or break you."
The meet should be a three-way race among Bel Air, John Carroll and C. Milton Wright, which lost to Bel Air by only 16 points in a tri-meet. But just about every team has someone capable of winning an individual title.