On Saturday January 25th, the Cambridge Bears took on eight other teams at Greater Atlanta Christian School in their annual Karen Blackman Invitational. This was the last traditional meet for the 2013 – 2014 season before heading to the state meet at Georgia Tech February 7th and 8th.
While the Bears' boys team was hoping to take advantage of the wonderful facility to make their last relay state cut, they came up just a little short. The boys' A-team (Jake Todd, Ethan Nalwasky, Erek Humm, Austin Daniel) placed seventh overall with a time of 1:52.50. Daniel brought home the relay with an impressive 23.98 freestyle split. The boys' B-team (Sean McGinty, Jason Yang, Connor Fleming, Alex Mahler) placed eleventh overall with a time of 2:04.79, with a particularly strong split for Alex Mahler on the freestyle length with a time of 24.87.
The Cambridge girls' team has always had a very strong showing with their medley relay. While the girls' A-team (Nicole Detjen, Maggie McGinty, Olivia Mahler, Lauren Holliday) had a strong race, the last leg of the race had a false start, which resulted in a disqualification. The B-team (Darby Goodyear, Alex Newcomer, Emily Powers, Anna Salvadori) had an excellent race with an overall placement of seventh and a time of 2:14.52.
In the 200-freestyle event, the boys' team proved to be very strong. Austin Daniel took fourth place with a time of 1:55.78, followed immediately by teammate Jake Todd in fifth with a time of 1:55.83. Both boys were less than a second from the state cut time for the event. The girls' team also proved to have strong performances with Darby Goodyear who scored valuable points for the team with her sixth place overall finish and a time of 2:19.75. Immediately following was her teammate Alex Newcomer with a time of 2:20.27, which is five seconds faster than her best time this season. Sydney Anderson placed twelfth overall with a time of 2:25.48 followed in fifteenth by teammate Amanda Seibert with a time of 2:39.50.
As the only competitor for the boys' team in the 200-individual medley was Tony Guerra. Even though this was his first time swimming this event for the season, his performance earned the team valuable points. He came in with a time of 2:36.72. For the girls' team, Simona Cofrancesco bettered her time by three seconds to finish ninth in a time of 2:41.96. Cofrancesco was followed immediately by teammate Olivia Mahler with a time of 2:45.94, and then teammate Angela Ho with a time of 2:48.59.
Alex Mahler led the Cambridge squad in the 50-freestyle with a time of 25.15, which was the fastest time Mahler has swam in an individual for the season. Following closely behind was Matt Hogan with a time of 25.81. Next up for the Bears was Nick Mirchandani with a time of 28.58, followed by Austin Thistleton with a time of 28.74, Kyle Daniel with a time of 28.93, David Le with a time of 29.78, Connor Fleming with a time of 31.32, and Nicky Northen with a time of 33.27. The girls team had a series of very strong performances in the 50-freestyle starting with Katie Durden with a time of 27.46 which earned her ninth place overall. Following close behind was teammate Sydney Swenton with a time of 27.63, a personal best in an individual event. Next up was Emma Gustafsson with a time of 27.79, Nicole Detjen with a time of 28.28, Lauren Holliday with a time of 28.34, Ashley Dale Henslee with a time of 28.59, Anna Salvadori with a time of 28.60, Taylor Holliday with a time of 29.73, a new personal best, and then Sophia LaMarca with a time of 30.08, Raeghan Bulman with a time of 30.45, a new personal best, Melissa Mandato with a time of 30.94, a new personal best, Julia Dinardo with a time of 31.44, Emily Powers with a time of 31.96, and Colleen McCreanor with a time of 33.27.
In the boys' 100-butterfly is another area of the meet agenda that Cambridge is looking to grow in strength with each passing year. Finishing first for the Bears' team was Ethan Nalwasky in sixth with a time of 58.65, less than a second off the state cut. Following Nalwasky was teammate Erek Humm with a time of 1:05.07, then Jason Yang with a time of 1:08.26, and then Connor Fleming with a time of 1:29.15. For the girls' team there was an equally impressive showing with Olivia Mahler in sixth with a time of 1:08.66, followed by Emily Powers with a time of 1:20.33, a new personal best.
The boys' 100-freestyle was equally competitive and the team was once again led by Austin Daniel, coming in fifth overall with a time of 52.38, less than half-a-second from the state cut. Following Daniel was teammate Matt Hogan with a time of 57.20, Noah Sannes with a time of 59.35, Sebastian Lara with a time of 1:02.41, Nick Mirchandani with a time of 1:05.79, a new personal best, and David Le with a time of 1:09.77. For the girls' team, the Bears were led by Ashley Dale Henslee with a time of 1:02.32, followed immediately by teammate Sydney Swenton with a time of 1:02.34, a new personal best for the season, and then Alex Newcomer with a time of 1:02.66, Angela Ho with a time of 1:03.22, Maggie McGinty with a time of 1:04.09, Emma Gustafsson with a time of 1:04.15, Anna Salvadori with a time of 1:04.74, a new personal best by over two seconds, Sophia LaMarca with a time of 1:06.76, a new personal best by over two seconds, Julia Dinardo with a time of 1:08.37, a new personal best, Ella McIlvain with a time of 1:08.41, Taylor Holliday with a time of 1:08.49, Sarah Moore with a time of 1:08.87, Amanda Seibert with a time of 1:11.27, Raeghan Bulman with a time of 1:11.88, a new personal best by four seconds, Cat Kania with a time of 1:15.21, a new personal best by four seconds, and Kat Jackson with a time of 1:15.64.
In the 500-freestyle event, Ethan Nalwasky took on the event with ten seconds to shave off to make the state cut time. Cutting his time in actuality by over 15 seconds, Nalwasky made the state cut with room to spare with a time of 5:15.15. Sean McGinty, competing in the event for the first time, had a solid race with a time of 6:05.98. For the girls' team, Sydney Anderson led the girls' team with a new personal best time of 6:29.44. Simona Cofrancesco followed Anderson with a time of 6:36.47, which is a new best time.
In the 200-freestyle relay, the boys' A-team (Austin Daniel, Matt Hogan, Alex Mahler, Erek Humm) team took sixth overall with a time of 1:40.69. Following not far behind was the Cambridge B-team (Noah Sannes, Tony Guerra, Sebastian Lara, Kyle Daniel) with a time of 1:52.27. The girls' A-relay (Emma Gustafsson, Ashley Dale Henslee, Angela Ho, Sydney Swenton) took fourth overall with a time of 1:52.21, a state cut time. Following not far behind was the B-team (Alex Newcomer, Julia Dinardo, Amanda Seibert, Anna Salvadori) with a time of 1:59.18.
In the 100-backstroke, Jake Todd led the boys' squad with a seventh place finish and a time of 1:00.50, followed immediately by Erek Humm with a time of 1:01.66. Sean McGinty also had an impressive performance with a time of 1:09.41, which matches his best time for the season even though he had just finished swimming the 500-freestyle a few heats before. Tony Guerra rounded out the boys' team in the event with a time of 1:12.64. For the girls' team, a couple of the girls had their eyes on state cut times for this meet. Finishing first into the wall was Katie Durden with a time of 1:06.87, followed immediately by teammate Nicole Detjen with a time of 1:06.98, both of them less than a second away from the state cut time. Teammate Darby Goodyear came in a couple of people late with a time of 1:14.47 and then Colleen McCreanor, with a new personal best time by seven seconds of 1:23.58.
The last individual event of the day was the 100-breaststroke. For the boys' team, Jason Yang came into the wall first with a time of 1:14.41, followed by Kyle Daniel with a time of 1:17.25. Unfortunately with single-handed turns, teammates Austin Thistleton and Nicky Northen both swam excellent races but were disqualified. For the girls' team, Maggie McGinty finished third overall with a time of 1:13.67. Next to finish for the Bears' squad was Sarah Moore with a time of 1:28.86, and then Melissa Mandato with a time of 1:31.40, a new personal best time.
In the 400-freestyle relay, the boys' A-team (Jake Todd, Noah Sannes, Matt Hogan, Ethan Nalwasky) finished seventh overall with a time of 3:47.49, with Nalwasky and Todd both swimming sub-56:00 100-freestyles. A couple places behind was the B-team (Sean McGinty, Alex Mahler, Tony Guerra, Sebastian Lara) with a time of 4:03.87. For the girls' team, the A-team (Katie Durden, Sydney Swenton, Angela Ho, Ashley Dale Henslee) finished in sixth overall, with Ashley Dale Henslee having a stand-out performance with a split of 1:01.86. The B-team (Ella McIlvain, Maggie McGinty, Emma Gustafsson, Darby Goodyear) was immediately behind the A-team with a time of 4:21.91.
Combined Team Scores:
1. Johns Creek 418
2. St. Pius X 337
3. Chattahoochee 285.5
4. GAC 162
5. Cambridge 157
6. Hebron Christian 26.5
7. Centennial 21
8. Duluth 10
Boys' Team Standing: 5th Place Overall
The Bears have had an amazing season with many team firsts that gives the team a glimpse into the years to come and what they will be able to accomplish. The team has many goals for the program in the years to come, but the most important would be to make sure the team maintains its closeness and camaraderie regardless of the size the team becomes. The team will have to say goodbye to their two seniors, Maggie McGinty and Bryce Jewell, in a few weeks, but the Karen Blackman Invitational was their last traditional high school meet. The team will feel their absence next year in terms of their talent as well as their leadership. Both will be capping off their season at the state meet at Georgia Tech in two weeks.
Ashley Dale Henslee