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Swimmers get an opportunity to showcase their ability Championships scheduled for middle, high schoolers


Westminster High sophomore Jamie Mowbray practices at least six times a week, every night after school from 6 to 8 and often on Saturday mornings when she's not competing.

There are plenty of dedicated swimmers in Carroll County just like her, but rarely do you hear about them.

"There's a ton of them -- very, very talented swimmers and a number who are reaching the national level," said Kim Easterday, coach at Western Maryland College who also helps coach the Green Terror Aquatic Club.

"But there's no recognition in the schools. To be a swimmer, you lose out in high school."

Jane Kacmarski, Suzie Mowbray and Karen Straehle sought to change that last year by having a championship that would enable swimmers to compete for their high schools and middle schools.

"We felt this would be something the kids could be recognized for," said Suzie Mowbray, Jamie's mother. "It was a fun thing for them. Last year was successful. We had 80 kids and everyone there had fun."

The second annual High School-Middle School Swimming Championships will take place at 6 tonight at Western Maryland College. Suzie Mowbray said 71 swimmers have signed up. She added there is a possibility the championships would take place even if schools were closed today due to snow.

The event is patterned around similar championships from Baltimore and Howard counties. Like Carroll, those counties do not offer swimming as a regular sport in their schools, but they have had high school championships for years.

Carroll's version adds a different twist with the middle school competition. The Westminster Recreation Council sponsors the event with Western Maryland College providing the pool time.

Westminster won the high school team title last year while East Middle edged West Middle on the last relay to win the younger division. Boys and girls compete separately and then their scores are combined for a team score.

"It brings together swimmers from all over the county and gives us a chance to see some people we swim with over the summer," said Jamie Mowbray, who had two first-place finishes in relays for Westminster last year.

Mowbray also plays field hockey for Westminster, but a lot of swimmers don't participate in other sports because of time constraints. The Green Terror Aquatic Club, headed by Kirk Sanocki, has 60 swimmers participating from ages 6 to 18 and the majority swim throughout the year. A lot of others swim at the YMCA.

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