By Katie Smythe
alexandrianews.org

T.C. Williams swim-dive team captains and coach hoist the Mayor's trophy and team awards (courtesy photo)

T. C. Williams High School won the annual Alexandria City Swim and Dive Championship on Dec. 4, defeating St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes and Bishop Ireton. The Titans claimed the coveted Mayor’s trophy for the first time in school history. The annual competition started in 1999.

Until three years ago, the Bishop Ireton Cardinals dominated the All-City Championship, winning the overall title and trophy for 13 successive years. The Saints edged out Bishop Ireton by one point in the 2015-2016 championship and in 2016-2017, SSSAS won by 48 points. The Saints' streak continued last year, winning by 89 points. This year was the Titans time to shine.

In the 2018-2019 tri-school championship, T. C. Williams edged out SSSAS by nine points with a combined score of 284 points under new head coach John Gullickson. The Saints finished in second place overall with 275 points, and Bishop Ireton was third with 140 points.

The T. C. boys squad took first place and the girls’ squad finished in second place. The SSSAS girls defended their title, winning first place again this year; the boys took second place.

Gullickson, who took the helm at T. C. Williams this fall, coached previously at Bishop Ireton where he had years of success. “Even if it has been a long time coming, the pieces are falling into place because of those who want to work hard and want to accomplish it,” Gullickson said about the T. C. team.

T.C. Williams wins 2018-2019 Aexandria City Swim & Dive Championship (courtesy photo)

The Titans won four of the six relay events and touched the wall first in 13 of the 18 individual events. All of their first places finishes (22 out of 26 possible) set new meet records. The T. C. boys medley relay (Emil LaSida, Ronan Lauinger, Brendan Huber-Wilker and Quinn Hardimon) made history in the first event setting both team and meet records; they also made the state meet qualifying time in only the second meet of the season. Senior captain Lutfi LaSida also broke a team record in the 100 Fly and made the region meet cut.

Four T. C. swimmers had multiple wins. Captain Lydia Greenwood took gold in both the 50 and 100 Free; sophomore Myla Rice was also a double winner (100 Fly / 100 Back). On the boys side, sophomore Ronan Lauinger swam the second fastest 500 Free in team history (also a regional qualifying performance) and won the 100 Breaststroke. Freshman Emil LaSida took gold in the 200 IM and 100 Back.

“I was especially proud of our B Relays and outside lanes that ultimately made the difference in securing the victory,” said Gullickson. “That is a testament to our training, team’s mission and philosophy of succeeding together. From top to bottom our program’s reinvigorated passion and mission are a reflection of the prep, hard work and shared interests to best represent the Titans.”

The results follow for each squad from this year’s All-City Championship.

Combined Scores:
T.C. Williams 284
St. Stephen's & St. Agnes 275
Bishop Ireton 140

Boys
T. C. Williams  156
St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes  134
Bishop Ireton  52

Girls
St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes  141
T. C. Williams  128
Bishop Ireton  88

This year the meet took place over two days. The swim events were held at the new St. James Sports Center in Springfield which has a regulation size pool. The dive competition took place at Chinquapin where the annual meet is usually held.

The three schools will meet again in the pool for the 2019-2020 Alexandria Swim and Dive Championship. Meanwhile, many of the competitors will revert to teammates on club teams or long-standing friendships typical of the converging neighborhoods and sports.