LANDOVER — Spectators could be forgiven if they did a double-take at the end of the girls 100-yard breaststroke at the Class 3A-2A-1A state swimming championships at the Prince George's County Sports and Learning Complex on Friday night. The top-two finishers looked awfully similar.
C. Milton Wright's Lauren O'Mara won the area's lone state title in the event with a time of 1:08.24. She just beat out her twin sister, Julia, who finished second with a time of 1:09.46.
"Julia is the reason I did so well," said Lauren O'Mara. "She pushes me to be better every day. This was my last event ever in high school, and it means so much more that we can share this."
Julia found it hard to be disappointed in the loss because of who she lost to.
"I would not want to lose to anyone else," she said. The twins will attend the University of Pennsylvania next year and play lacrosse.
The victory capped a good day for the Mustangs, who finished third among the men (with 164 points) and fourth among the women (with 1411/2 points) in the team scores. Montgomery County's Poolesville swept both the men's and women's state title.
The O'Mara sisters also placed in freestyle events. Julia finished tied for second in the 50 yard freestyle and Lauren took third in the 100 yard freestyle.
North Harford's Hillary Young was the first local swimmer to place when she finished second in the 200 individual medley.
"It was one heck of a race," said Young, a junior. "I set my personal record, and broke the team record. The girl who won is a freshman, and she swam a great race. She deserved it. Everybody wants to win the state title, but this will motivate me for next season."
On the boys side, Harford Tech senior Justin Carestia finished second in the 100 breaststroke, He was the only male finisher from the Baltimore area to place in the top three in any individual event.
"I really wanted to win this, so I'm a little disappointed," Carestia said. "My brother [Brandon] won four state titles, so I at least wanted to win one. I went as hard as I could, though, so I can be proud of that."
The Mustangs boys finished third overall, the second-best performance in school history. The girls finished fourth.
"It was definitely better than expected," C. Milton Wright coach Debbie King said. "We've had to battle our share of injuries this year, but we had a great showing today. I am so proud of everyone on the team."
King said she will miss the O'Mara twins and their friendly rivalry.
"Their goal truly was to finish one-two in that event," King said. "I don't even really think it would have mattered which one won and which one finished second. They are so supportive of each other. They are amazing girls, and true student-athletes. I am really happy that finishing first and second happened for them."