John “Papa John” Kominski was born in Springfield, Massachusetts; and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was a two-sport athlete (football and track), and served as editor of the college newspaper. He attended law school at Georgetown University, and then went to work at the Library of Congress, rising to the position of General Counsel.
In 1962, John married Frances Saladigo. They moved to the then-new Strathmore Bel Pre neighborhood in 1972. John and Frances had nine children, seven of whom (Terry, Kathy, Marla, Russell, Ruth, Phil, and Amy) swam for the Dolphins. The oldest Kominski children, Mark and Eric, were land-only athletes; but Mark’s two children (Alana and Rachel) were also Dolphins swimmers.
Of the 21 Kominski grandchildren, 18 are or were swimmers. In addition to Mark’s daughters, Phil’s son Tyler and daughter Harper are also Dolphins swimmers. Eric’s children (Corinne, Mary, and John); Kathy’s daughters (Ruth, Sarah, Rebecca, and Abby); Marla’s children (Peyton and Lilly); and Ruth’s children (Hope, Aaron, Mark, Luke, and Sam) are (or were) summer, club, and/or high school swimmers for other teams in Maryland and Virginia (many of them also swim at the annual Memorial Meet). The three remaining Kominski grandchildren (Russell’s children—Andrew, Nadia, and Vivian) are “in training,” as Coach Terry writes.
As a team parent, John Kominski was among the most dedicated volunteers in Dolphins history. A team President, meet manager, referee, starter, and deck official, he continued to serve the team long after his children graduated. When he’s not on deck, he enjoys writing, sports, birdwatching, British comedies, crossword puzzles, swimming (naturally), and working out at the Aspen Hill Club, where he is a long-time member.
In its 50-year history, the SBP Dolphins has been the home team for over 1,000 summer swimmers, many of whom also swam for their high schools, colleges, U.S. Swimming club teams, and even at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The team has inspired long-lasting friendships among swimmers and their families; and many former Dolphins swimmers have returned to the Dolphins as team parents. None of this would have been possible without the steadfast dedication of Papa John Kominski. For his selfless love of our team and our swimmers, we are deeply grateful to John Kominski.
Perhaps you have passed that trophy case many times. Maybe you have looked in or even stopped to check out some of those plaques and trophies. Some of the names are familiar, but many may not be known to you. There is a story behind each of those trophies and all of them evidence a legacy that next year will mark fifty years of swimming magnificence. This week, and in the weeks to follow, we will revisit those past years touching on the trials, triumphs and side events that shaped the character of the SBP Dolphins. Along the way, we will meet many fine swimmers, past and present, and perhaps even learn of some behind the scenes “angels.” So let's get started.
Chapter One – Seeds of Excellence
William (Bill) Johnson and his family were former residents of the community. He, along with former resident John (Jack) Gallogly, could probably be called the “Fathers of the Dolphins.” In 1968, Bill had this idea of a community swim team and shared it with Jack. Together they garnered the interest of other families, enough to form the nucleus of a team that by the summer of 1969 could compete in most, if not all, events in whatever program they swam. Legend has it that the name for the team was decided among the children (...and there were many...) of Bill and Jack.
The team had no league affiliation but Bill and Jack were able to schedule pick-up meets with local clubs and even some MCSL or PMSL teams in the area that were interested in what they called “B Meets” during the week. Most of those meets were nothing like meets now, and the Dolphins struggled to fill lanes. But the team showed a lot of spirit, and some of those original Dolphins even won races. Interest grew and swimmers recruited friends in the community. In the three years that followed, families like the Henkels, Manders, and Martinsons were instrumental in developing the core of a fine team, a team with a lot of talent. The time was right for the team to compete with the best.
In 1973, the Dolphins applied for membership in PMSL and were accepted. The team was assigned to the lowest division (F) according to league rules, since the team had no previous record of qualified times to be assigned any higher. The parents created a Parents Club to oversee team operations, and Jack Gallogly was elected its first president.
The team opened the season on June 30, 1973 at Accokeek, losing 251-215. Two weeks later, on July 14th, the team got its first PMSL victory, beating Georgian Country Club 276-216. It lost a heartbreaker a week later to University Hills, 248-247. Surprisingly, the Dolphins hosted the Divisional meet that year and finished second. Thirteen Dolphins made All-Stars. Boosted by their success in Divisionals, the team went on to win four out of five meets in 1974 and again finished second in Divisionals at Green Acres.
Success now brought the Dolphins all the way to C Division in 1975 and the team was ready for the tougher competition. Were they ever! They won every meet, setting 52 team and pool records in so doing. The team hosted Divisionals, finished first and set 21 more team and pool records. The SBP Dolphins had in just three years come a long way in PMSL, and now it was time to move up to the stronger B Division. Would the team be ready?
Chapter Two – Rollercoaster Years
It was 1976. The nation was celebrating its 200th birthday, and the Dolphins, because of their success in C Division were opening their B Division season as the number one seed and ready to do some celebrating of their own. But first a few words about the SBP pool.
Today's A meet facility looks nothing like the pool set up in the early 70's. The lane ropes then were those you now see marking off the diving area when there is no meet...floats on ropes. This made for a lot of turbulence from one lane to another. So why then did the Dolphins get to host the very first Dvisional meet in F Division in their first year in PMSL? Because even then, SBP had the better pool, with adequate room for teams and parking facilities. When the team went to B Division, the Parents Club procured new lane ropes...those which are now used for practice and B meets. And then there was the scoreboard. Not the one currently gracing the grounds. The scoreboard in the early 70's was a painted 4 x 8 sheet of plywood with very well drawn markings for team names and scores. It was placed on the deck in the wing closest to the baby pool and braced from behind. After each home meet it would be stored in the equipment and utilities closet where today's lane ropes, flags and tents are stored. And the numbers? Well now, that is the interesting thing. We still use the same numbers. They have been repainted with a darker blue background, and they were used to measure the markings for the scoreboard used today. The facility and equipment available in 1976 may not compare with that of today, but the Dolphins could not have cared less. They were there to swim, they had a lot of talent and they were ready to take on the B Division teams.
In 1976, the other B Division teams were Marlton, Forest Pool, Belair Swim & Raquet, Landover, and P.G. Council. The Dolphins justified their number one seed by beating them all. In the course of that great swimming, the team set 47 team and pool records. Who were those outstanding swimmers that in those early years were swimming so well? With their records for the early years, some of them were: Jay Vose (16), Teri Rosensweig (20), Karen Johnson (22), Bill Varnerin (11), Steve Garvey (13), Jackie Gallogly (13), Ann Manders (23), Jim Hogan (14), Mary Lou Henkel (14), David Gallogly (28) and Syl Miniter (20). Special mention must be made of one swimmer, who throughout the 70's was great in all strokes, but in particular breaststroke, in which he set records just about every time he entered the water. That swimmer was Scott Martinson, who before he was 15 years old had 34 team and pool records to his credit. Why was it that Scott and a few of the others were so accomplished? They swam year round for RMSC. Much of the credit for recruiting for that United States Swimming organization goes to then Parents Club president Herb Martinson, who in addition to recruiting Dolphins helped to organize car pools during the gas crisis.
But alas, success is fleeting. At the close of the 1976 season, the Dolphins graduated a ton of talent. Three of the swimming families moved from the community. It was a somewhat depleted team that started the 1977 season. Its only victory that year was a 258-255 squeaker against P.G. Council. The team was now headed back to C Division as a third seed and the outlook did not appear to be any better. In fact, it was worse. The Dolphins lost every meet. It was C Division again in 1979 but five different opponents. The team won four meets, losing only to Pointer Ridge. That meet ended in a tie (270-270) but PR won on first places 24-23.
Success in 1979 was largely due to the sustained great swimming of Scott Martinson and his sisters Jill and Lori, as well as the Smith family swimmers Alistair, Jeremy, and Meredith. But there was also one other young girl who scored a lot of points for the team in the past four years, who was recruited for RMSC, where she excelled, and who was now ready to swim her way to becoming a Dolphin legend.
Chapter Three – A Dynasty is Born
What makes a swim team successful? Great coaching? Natural talent? Team spirit and camaraderie? Maybe all of those things. That was certainly true in 1980 and 1981.
From the beginning of Dolphins swimming, the team had a series of head coaches…a different one each year. This didn't change, even when the team entered the PMSL. Tony Sentetos, Ron Greenbaum, Martha Reed, and Lisa Papa were head coaches for the first five league years. In 1978, Tim Clements took the helm, and remained for three years. This longer tenure offered consistency, which made a big difference in practices and team prep. Of course, it didn't hurt that there was also great talent; and together, those two things brought the team to the edge of super swimming. The 1980 season began with the Dolphins having advanced to the 6th seed in B Division.
Scott Martinson had already shown the league how good he was, and now as a senior, he was ready to take on the toughest competition. He continued to dominate B Division seniors, especially in breaststroke; and because that stroke is most important in IM, he dominated that event as well. Fortunately, for the success of the team, Scott had some outstanding buddies in all age groups, who, if they did not win an event, almost always came in second. A lot of first- and second-place finishes adds up to a lot of points. This group included Alistair and Jeremy Smith; John Michael, David, and Jeff Griesbauer; Conroy Zien, Scott Rogers, Matt Williams, and Paul Long.
On the girls’ side, there were a bunch of Gallogly girls swimming: Eileen, Meg, Jackie, Regina, Terry, and Monica, most of whom had held team records. There was also Meredith Smith, who held team records in backstroke; and Jill Martinson, with team records in fly and breaststoke. But if there was any female swimmer who would equal the success of Scott Martinson, it was a young girl, who was highly recruited by RMSC for year-round swimming; and who as a Dolphin had already distinguished herself as a 9-10 record-holder in fly and freestyle. In the 1980 and 1981 seasons, Terry Kominski would come into her own and establish herself as a top PMSL swimmer.
The Dolphins opened the 1980 season with a win at Takoma Park, the number one seed. In that meet, Terry set the league 11-12 breaststroke record in yards. The team split the next two meets, losing to Marlton, and beating Temple Hills. Then on July 19, they faced the Kettering Kingfish, a team that during the next few years would prove to be its most difficult competitor. The score wasn't close, but Terry also set the league record in meters for the 11-12 breaststroke. The next week, the team lost its final dual meet at Pointer Ridge. With two wins and three losses, remaining in B Divsion wasn’t guaranteed. But the Dolphins were outstanding in Divisionals, finishing third. By beating expectations in Divisionals, beating the number one seed, and scoring so well in other meets, the team actually moved up to A Division as the sixth seed, and the stage was set for greatness.
Tim Clements was gone as head coach in 1981. He was succeeded by the duo of Mark McDowell and Kirk Wood, two who would prove to be super coaches and master planners. Along with the Dolphins, Marlton, Kettering, and Pointer Ridge had also moved up to A Division. So the team, for the most part, was going to be swimming against some of the same competition it has seen the previous year. The results were pretty much the same, except for that first meet.
The Dolphins opened the season at Rockville, a team that had been in A Division for a while because a good many of its swimmers were year-round RMSC swimmers. But the Dolphins also had a bunch of year-round RMSC swimmers; so for the swimmers and meet officials, it was like “old home week.” And that’s how it finished. Tied going into the final relay, there was a high level of tension before and during the race. When it ended, the Dolphins had lost by one stroke. Or so they thought. It seems that the Rockville team had used an ineligible swimmer, and as a result were awarded a big fat DQ, which was enough to give the meet to the Dolphins. What a way to start to season.
The following week, or rather eleven days later, the team beat Adelphi. The meet was at home, but the pool had been vandalized the night before the meet, which had to be postponed for four days. It was that meet, however, that evidenced the creative abilities of the coaches. The 13-14 girls were very strong. Not so the 15-18 girls. Terry Kominski would “swim up.” She would have to do so in all three individual events and the relay. She set the team record in 15-18 breaststroke, tripled, and anchored the winning graduated freestyle relay. Then came the dreaded Kettering team. The Dolphins lost again, but in doing so, set seven team records. The next week, it was Marlton at home, and another win. In this meet, Terry swam in her regular 13-14 age group and topped her own league record in breaststroke. Another end-of-season dual meet loss at Pointer Ridge, and then it was on to Divisionals at Kettering. Once again, in order to gain an advantage in a multi-team meet, the coaches swam Terry up in 15-18 events. She rewarded their planning by setting the league record in 15-18 breaststroke. As a 13-year-old, she set two league records in two different age groups, in a single year. The Montgomery County newspapers hailed her as the “Strathmore Sensation.” What was it that motivated Terry that summer? You will have to ask her.
The Strathmore Bel Pre Dolphins were now poised to do something that has never been done since by any team, in any sport, in the Washington DC area. Stay tuned for Chapter 4.
Chapter Four – Summer of 1982: A Preview of Greatness
The year 1982 was so significant in Dolphins history that it merits its own chapter. For it was then that this team began its streak of eleven consecutive years of sustained domination in the Prince-Mont Swim League. The talent was in place, parents could sense it, new recruits were fitting right in, and new lane lines graced the pool’s surface. “Put me in, coach. I'm ready to swim today. Center lane.”
First, a short back story. Scott and Terry dominated the 1981 A Divisionals meet, and other Dolphins swam well. But earlier in the season, when the team had beaten Adelphi and Marlton in dual meets, those teams had been shorthanded. Not so at Divisionals. A strong performance by Pointer Ridge, and a powerful Burn Brae team that was promoted from B Division knocked both Kettering and the Dolphins down one division, where the teams were first and second seeds, respectively, for the 1982 season. The competition in B Division would not be as tough, but that didn't matter. Head Coach Kirk Wood would have his team ready, and as we shall see, the record books would be rewritten week after week, as some new and exciting swimmers joined the splash and dash parade.
The best way to introduce those new swimmers and to highlight record performances is to visit each meet separately. And so we shall.
June 26, Whitehall Pool and Tennis (at home). The Dolphins took an early lead, which they never relinquished. Scott and Terry picked up from where they left off the previous year, earning triples. Scott lowered team records in 15-18 free and fly and set a pool record in IM; meanwhile, Terry set new team and pool records for 13-14 fly. Paul Long and his sister Terry put on a show for the youngsters. He set a team record in 10 and under fly and team and pool records in 9-10 backstroke; she lowered the team 8-and-under record in free. Scott Rogers set a new team record in 9-10 free, and his sisters Jenny and JoJo added to the point total. Terry Kominski had siblings on the team: Kathy (11-12), Marla (9-10), Russell (8/under); and then, there was a little 8-and-under girl who on this date would begin a Dolphin career that would rival and in some ways surpass that of her older sister. On this day, Ruth Kominski set 8-and-under team and pool records in breaststroke and backstroke.
July 3, Bethesda Chevy Chase (away). BCC was one of the very few Montgomery County teams remaining in the PMSL. Other local teams had left the league years earlier during the gas crisis, so that away meets would be closer. BCC was a fairly strong team as it, too, had several year-round swimmers on the squad. Because of the Dolphins’ great number of such swimmers, the team had little trouble taking an early lead in butterfly. Young Paul Long led the way, lowering his own team record for the 10-and-under fly event. He later lowered his backstroke team record, too. Scott and Terry tripled once again, and little Ruthie beat her own team 8-and-under breaststroke record.
July 10, Beltsville (away). Once again, the Dolphins took the show on the road, where their reputation had preceded them and word was now getting around B Division, and especially to arch foe Kettering, that this was no second-seed team. Once again Paul Long duplicated his previous week's performance by lowering his team records in fly and backstroke. Scott Martinson continued his senior dominance and lowered his team IM record. Terry...well, she was Terry: New 13-14 team records in freestyle and IM.
July 17, New Carrollton (at home). During the daily practices preceding this meet, Coach Kirk Wood was concerned that the team might be looking ahead to Kettering and not fully focusing on doing well against sixth seed NCR. He made his concern known to the team, and the juggernaut just picked up steam. Ten team and pool records were set that day in a 300 point plus runaway. Scott lowered his team and pool records in breaststroke (temporarily, that is...see below). Paul Long set a new pool record in 9-10 freestyle. Terry lowered her 13-14 team and pool records in fly and IM, as well as her team record in freestyle. Her younger sister, Ruth, lowered the pool record for 8-and-under breaststroke, and Ruth's twin brother, Russell, set a new pool record for 8-and-under backstroke. Watch out, Kettering!
July 24, Kettering (at home). This day was a long time coming. It was payback time. As good as the Kingfish have been, they never had a chance. A young 9-10 Ann Moergeli had been swimming fly very well all season, scoring in each meet. Time to step up, Annie! She won the fly event in a team record time. Then Coach Kirk Wood does it again, taking Paul Long out of 9-10 and swimming him up in the 11-12 events, where Paul set a new team record in backstroke. Scott lowered his team record in fly and his pool record in IM. Terry lowered her team record in free, and her sister Ruth once again lowered the 8-and-under pool record in breaststroke, while her twin Russell lowered his pool record in backstroke. But the story of the day was in the 15-18 boys’ breaststroke event. All season long, Alistair Smith had been swimming in Scott's wake but getting closer each week. He finally got his day, setting new team and pool record for the event. Did it stand? Once again, see below.
The Dolphins had just completed an outstanding, undefeated dual season, with more than fifty team and home pool records and a few pool records on the road. Now for the so-called “icing on the cake.”
July 31, Divisionals (at Kettering). Through the opening fly events, the Dolphins bounced around as a team in the first three places. Things started to happen in the freestyle events, however. A young 9-10 Meredith Smith won her event and set a new team record. Scott and Terry followed with freestyle victories and new team records. But breaststroke was the team strong stroke all season long and would prove to be so once again. Scott took back his team record from Alistair. Matt Williams set the current 9-10 boys’ breaststroke record, and Ruth did the same for the 8-and-under girls breaststroke. Terry and Scott finished off the day with team records in their IM events. FIRST PLACE: The Dolphins are B Division Champions.
One sidebar to close out the year: Matt Williams still holds the team breaststroke records for both the 8-and-under and 9-10 events. But when Matt aged up after the 1982 season, he was done. He would not swim fifty meters. No matter how much urging he received from teammates, he did not return to the team. He was gifted and much loved by the team, but he was determined. Today Matt is a successful doctor, who on a couple of occasions has returned to say hello at the Memorial Meet. But when he did he made it clear that he did not come to swim...even though the events are only 25s. If you are reading this, Matt, how about it?
Chapter Five – Sustained Magnificence, The Cheverly Relays
The Cheverly Relay Carnival was held on the Sunday after divisionals and before All-Stars. All member pools in PMSL were invited to compete. The Dolphins loved this meet...most likely because they always did so well as relay teams—check out the trophy case! Trophies were awarded to the team in each division that scored the highest number of points. A special trophy was awarded for the final (and most exciting) event, the graduated mixed-age relay: 4 girls, 4 boys, 4 age groups, with each swimmer in each group swimming 50 yards freestyle. It was a consolation event, so if the Dolphins won the division (which was almost always the case), the team could not compete. In the few times that they did compete, they won what was affectionately called the “crescendo trophy.”
Until 1987, starting blocks were used at the Cheverly Relays. In that year the blocks were removed for safety reasons. The entry ends of the pool were considered too shallow for safe diving off a block. As a result, it was necessary to maintain two sets of records: An old one for team records up to 1987, and a new one for those set that year and thereafter. Interested in any of those records? Of course you are!
In 1982, the 8-and-under team of Ruth Kominski, Elizabeth Morrow, Meredith Schwab, and Terry Long set a 100-yard freestyle record of 1:07.78. A year later, Ruth and Terry were joined by JoJo Rogers and Meredith Smith and that foursome set a new 10-and under 200 yard freestyle record of 2:04.41. Two years later, the girls aged up, and JoJo was joined by her sister Jenny. They, along with Ruth and Meredith, set the 12-and-under 20-yard freestyle record of 1:54.70; and two years after that, the same girls, swimming now as 14-and-under (and without the diving blocks) set a new 200 freestyle record of 1:50.29.
During that eleven-year period of outstanding swimming, the team was proficient in all strokes. Nowhere was this more evident than in the medley events at the Cheverly Relays. In 1985, that strong team of JoJo, Jenny, Meredith, and Ruth set a 12-and-under 200-yard medley relay record of 2:09.20. Two years later, swimming without the diving blocks, the same team set a new 14-and-under 200-yard medley record of 2:02.91. The boys were equally strong. In 1984, the 12-and-under medley team of Paul Long, Greg Cohen, Scott Rogers, and John Michael Griesbauer set the 200-yard record of 2:09.52. A year later, the 14-and-under team of Scott Rogers, David O'Neill, Jeff Griesbauer, and David Griesbauer set a new 200-yard medley record of 1:56.71. Without the diving blocks in 1987, two boys’ relay teams prevailed. The 10-and-under crew of Steven Geller, J. Cardoza, Ryan Coyle, and Phil Kominski set a new 100-yard medley record of 1:12.09; while the 18-and-under team of Scott Rogers, Conroy Zien, John Michael Griesbauer, and Jeff Griesbauer came in with a record 200-yard time of 1:49.89.
It gets a little monotonous, dear reader, but bear with us, because there is one more group to mesmerize you: the boys’ freestyle relays. Its 1987, the diving blocks were gone, but the Dolphin boys were used to diving off or from the coping stones of decks. The little guys, Peder Skoog, Ariel Trybuch, J. Edwards, and Phil Kominski set a 10-and-under 100-yard freestyle record of 1:14.47. About an hour later, the big guys (the three Griesbauer brothers and Scott Rogers) set the 18-and-under 200-yard freestyle record of 1:37.10.
Where were Scott and Terry in the early years of these relays? Well, Scott graduated in 1984 and Terry in 1986, but before doing so, they were significant factors, along with many others, in the team that was winning division trophies at Cheverly. As we said earlier...check out the trophy case!
It seemed that whatever rivals the Dolphins had encountered during a dual meet season they would encounter again at the Relays. So the competition continued, but in a bigger pool (eight lanes) and before hundreds of swimmers and spectators. The team just loved this meet, and that was primarily because it could put a strong team of swimmers in every event. If they didn't win, they always scored enough points to help win the division trophy. The cheering never stopped. The Dolphins had squatters’ rights to a certain section of the pool area right behind the high diving structures in the deep end. That is where you would find the team...every year.
In the late ‘90s, many of the league's teams lost interest in attending the Cheverly Relays. For some, it was because the small size of their teams made it difficult to prepare enough teams to compete in events. Others might have grown tired of seeing the same team in their division win all the time. (The Dolphins were not the only team that dominated a division.) But perhaps the most significant reason was that for those teams, as in later years it also was for the Dolphins, many families were done with swimming after divisionals and had scheduled vacations. This was especially true if no family swimmers were in All Stars. The Dolphins continued to attend, even though the team did not have the fire power that it did decades before. But even then, interest waned and the Dolphins finally withdrew in 2009. The Cheverly Relays ended for a while because that pool had to be refurbished and partially reconstructed to new safety standards. That has been done, and the Cheverly community, now restocked with some very good swimmers from DC, has been trying to rekindle interest in the Relays. Maybe some year, the Dolphins will return.
Chapter Six – Some New Faces, Some New Foes, Same Results
Paul and Terry Long, who swam for the Dolphins from 1977 to 1984, were probably the most successful brother and sister combo to then wear the blue and white. During the streak years of 1983 and 1984, which are covered in this chapter, they tripled in every meet, including divisionals; and set team records eight times in fly, free and back. These accomplishments followed records that the pair had already set in the 8-and-under and 9-10 age groups. Many of those records, and those set in '83-'84, are still on the books. Unfortunately for the team, the Long family moved from the area after the 1984 season, but they continued swimming in their new home state of Tennessee.
Not enough can ever be said or written about Scott Martinson. He was by far the greatest and most successful male swimmer in Dolphin history to date. In his time with the team (1971-1983), he set 52 team records and 24 SBP pool records, as well a dozen more pool records on the road, and a league record in IM. He was a member and often the anchor of six graduated relay teams that set six team records and one pool record. In his final year as a swimmer, he assisted head coach Bob Lockerby. Scott returned in 1984 to coach the team with the assistance of Kevin Corcoran, who was in his final year as a Dolphin.
It was the 1983 and 1984 seasons, therefore, that proved to be the most critical in sustaining the Dolphins' winning streak. The team had advanced to Division A; and parents, coaches, and swimmers were determined to stay there.
Because of the team’s success, the Dolphins were the number one seed, beginning the 1983 season with three consecutive home meets. Scott began his final year by leading the Dolphins to a fairly easy victory over Greencastle on June 25th, setting a new IM pool record, tripling, and anchoring the successful graduated relay. A week later against Marlton, he was joined by record-setters Meredith Smith (9-10 fly), David Griesbauer (11-12 breaststroke), and, of course, Terry (15-18 free). But the day belonged to Paul Long, who lowered 11-12 records in fly, free, and backstroke. Belair Swim and Racquet was next, and Scott continued his torrid pace, setting team and pool records in fly and free. Paul Long also lowered his team record in free, and Meredith Smith set a new 9-10 freestyle record. But then after three fairly easy victories, the team faced the most difficult part of the season, road trips to the most powerful teams in Division A, Kettering and Pointer Ridge.
When the Dolphins went to Kettering on July 16th, they knew they would be facing some of the best swimmers in Division A. While the Dolphin boys looked very strong on paper, the girls knew that they would be up against it, as the Kettering girls had a bevy of year-round swimmers: Cindy Shepherd (11-12), Tricia McGuire (11-12), Pam Franklin (13-14), Eileen McGuire (13-14), Marianne Markey (15-18), and Jennifer Peyton (15-18). As expected, the boys did well, with team records set by Alistair Smith (15-18 breaststroke), David Griesbauer (11-12 breaststroke), and, of course, Paul Long (12/under IM). But team record performances by Meredith Smith (9-10 free and breaststroke), and Terry Long (9-10 backstroke) and several surprising first-place finishes by other girls kept the meet close down to the final relays. Final score: SBP 273, KSC 268. Whew!
The next week, a hyped-up Dolphin team would travel to Pointer Ridge to meet the number-two seed. The meet wasn't exactly a “laugher,” but because PR had graduated some top swimmers, it was not the competition that the Dolphins had faced the previous week. Scott would lower his team freestyle record and the Dolphins won, 284-256. The streak continued, and the team was now ready to return to Kettering for what was shaping up as a rematch for the Division A championship.
July 30, 1983 proved to be a significant date in a lot of record books, not just those kept by the Dolphins. As expected, the meet was close through the fly events, but the outcome was never in doubt as the team scored a first, second, or third in every event to that point. Paul Long (11-12) and John Michael Griesbauer (13-14) set team records in that event. The remainder of the meet followed the same course. Paul set two more team records in winning the backstroke and IM events, and his sister Terry lowered her team record as she won the 9-10 backstroke event. To no one's surprise, the senior boys were outstanding. Alastair Smith swam a breaststroke time of 31.70, which was not only the team record but the PMSL record, as well. And Scott? What a way to end an outstanding career: He swam a 1:02.55 in the IM event for a new team and PMSL record. The team came home to a cheering parking lot and the swimmers paraded around the pool a few times.
A lot of Dolphins, especially the younger ones, could not wait to get into the pool for the 1984 season. Scott Martinson would no longer be there as a swimmer, but he was there as a coach. There was a question in the minds of parents and coaches, however. Because of the team's overall success the previous year, how could it be a second seed to Kettering? Results like that happened because seeding was based on the point differences in dual meet wins, and as good as the Dolphins were in those meets, Kettering beat other teams by greater margins, notwithstanding the loss to SBP, and Kettering finished second in divisionals. In later years, the Dolphins would be the beneficiary of such seeding, as well.
Adelphi replaced Greencastle in Division A, and it was the first team that the Dolphins faced in 1984. Joan Costello and Brenda Thomas were two outstanding Adelphi swimmers who held several league records in freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. Together they won five events, but the rest of that team's competitors were no match for what the Dolphins put in the water. Alistair Smith set a pool record in breaststroke. Paul and Terry Long set five team and pool records. They were triple winners, along with Russell Kominski (9-10 fly, free, and back). That trio would go on to triple in the meets that followed. SBP topped Adelphi 287.5 to 245.5.
The following week, the team easily put away BSR 302-235, with Terry lowering her 15-18 team record in freestyle, and the Longs lowering their records in backstroke. A home meet with Pointer Ridge followed with almost the same results. Terry and the Longs repeated their previous efforts, and they were joined by Alastair, who lowered his team breaststroke record. SBP won 311-230. An away meet at Marlton looked like a carbon copy, except that it produced one league record and just missed another. Terry Long lowered her 9-10 fly record and set new team and league records in backstroke. Ruth Kominski set a new 9-10 breaststroke record and came very close to the league record in doing so. Final score: SBP 320, Marlton 215. Kettering was an easier win in 1984 (296.5 – 241.5), highlighted by Paul Long's 11-12 freestyle team, pool, and league records. It was on to Divisionals.
A victory at Divisionals was to be the diadem in the crown. The Dolphins won the meet over second-place Kettering (278 – 233), and in so doing won 14 events and both graduated relays. But the big stories were the three league records set by Terry Long (9-10 fly), Paul Long (11-12 freestyle), and Ruth Kominski (9-10 breaststroke).
Another year of powerful swimming, with a multitude of record book changes. The winning streak continued, and the outlook for following years was great.
Chapter Seven – An Era Ends, but the Streak Continues
During the next four years (1985-1988), the Dolphins never lost in dual meets, primarily because an amazing group of youngsters were developing into outstanding swimmers. The success of the team drew dozens of new swimmers from the community, many of them already strong freestylers eager to learn the other strokes. How quickly most of them caught on was not only a tribute to good coaching but was also the result of what appeared to be natural talent. It was interesting to note that local real estate agents who had clients with children who swam were quick to point out this Strathmore Bel Pre community asset.
Who were these youngsters? There were many, because the roster was well over 130 swimmers and growing. But the standouts who were constant event winners were legion: Kristina Rodeffer, Seth Goodman, Jason Zagnut, Monica and John Gallogly, Tammy and Tanika Henry, Marla and Kathy Kominski, Beth Coyle, Steven Geller; Hannah, Sarah, and Tamar Yecheskel; Shiloh Edwards, Barbara Piasecki, Sara O'Neill, Jared Cardoza, Marcus Wilson, and Nadine Klang.
Perhaps most significant during this period were those Dolphins who were almost always triple winners; team, pool, and league record holders; or consistent winners in crucial events that enabled the team to win. They were: Russell, Ruth, and Philip Kominski, Scott, Jenny and JoJo Rogers, Ryan Coyle, David and Jeff Griesbauer, Jill Martinson, Meredith Smith, Page Rowe, John Sully, David O'Neill, Mike Lindstrom, Meredith Schwab, Conroy Zien, Keri Kiefer, Kevin Lynch, Alex Eaton-Salners, and Peder Skoog.
For 1985-1986, Terry continued to be the team inspiration, winning events, scoring a lot of points, and providing instruction and help for younger swimmers. When she aged out at the close of the 1986 season, she had set fifty-three team records, twenty pool records, and four PMSL records. She was a Metros freestyle champion in her senior year at Kennedy. During the first fifteen years of the young Dolphins team, she was the outstanding female swimmer. She was also the original inspiration for the Most Valuable Dolphin Award. An era had ended, but perhaps Terry's best years with the team were ahead of her.
With coaches Kevin Corcoran and Lisa Collins at the helm, the 1985 season began with a home meet against BSR. During an easy 326-212 win, Meredith Smith, Russ Kominski, and Jill Martinson each tripled. David Griesbauer set a new 13-14 team butterfly record, and little John Gallogly got his first victory in the 8-under breaststroke. Another easy victory, 304-236, over BBT the following week featured David again lowering the 13-14 fly team record and Terry and Jill each tripling.
At Adelphi on July 13, the first of three straight away meets, the team got its first look at Adelphi's 50-meter pool with no movable bulkhead. No problem—the team cruised to a 319.5-219.5 victory, with Meredith, Terry, and Russ scoring triple wins. On to Pointer Ridge, 314-224, where Meredith set a new team record for 11-12 freestyle, and Terry and Jill tripled. The Dolphins wrapped up the dual meet season at Kettering on July 27, against a foe that no longer loomed as a threat. A 304.5-236.5 victory included Meredith again lowering her freestyle record and Terry teaming up with her brother Russ to triple. The team capped the year at Divisionals, with Meredith completing an outstanding year, setting new 11-12 records in fly and IM. David Griesbauer lowered his 13-14 fly record, and David O'Neill set a new team record in 13-14 breaststroke.
At the close of the 1985 campaign, it became apparent to club officers that the guidelines for participation in B meets were working inequitably to preclude swimmers from participating. The then-current provisions of the handbook precluded a Dolphin from B meet participation if, on the morning of the meet, he or she was ranked in the top six for freestyle or the top three for all other individual events in his or her age group. (At the time, league rules allowed for two heats of freestyle in dual A meets and only one heat in all other events. Meet managers could agree beforehand for any extra heats. No one wanted to give SBP extra heats! See COMMENT, below.) The effect of this provision was the elimination of A meet swimmers to a greater extent than was intended. It enabled a B swimmer to lower his or her time and move into a seeded position while precluding a seeded A swimmer from maintaining or lowering his or her time. Club officers noted the concerns of parents and also recognized the importance of coaches needing greater opportunities to follow the progress of swimmers and to evaluate them in B competition. Accordingly, the necessary changes were made. As the team decreased in size in the following years, this provision became unnecessary.
Thanks to the design efforts of Kris Kiefer, father of swimmers Keri and Scott, the team had a new scoreboard to replace the one that was not always visible (see Chapter One). At the time, it was state-of-the-art for A Division. Donna Gregory, a University of Maryland special education major who was active with Maryland Special Olympics, was head coach. Terry, in her last year, assisted. This team was so powerful that the coaching staff did not have to be concerned with outcomes. Consider: Adelphi 338-200; Ruth Kominski set new team and pool records in 12-under IM. Pointer Ridge 311.5 – 227.5; Ruth lowered the previous week's records. BBT 296 – 242; Jeff Griesbauer lowered the team 13-14 freestyle mark. Whitehall 319 – 222; Ruth lowered the 11-12 team fly record, Jeff set new team records in both fly and free, and Meredith Schwab set a new team record in 11-12 backstroke. Kettering 293 – 248. KSC took solace in the fact that they were the last team, two years earlier, to keep the Dolphins under 300 points. Nevertheless, Jeff lowered his fly record and set new team and pool records in freestyle. The Dolphins won Divisionals, and Terry ended her career with a team record in fly. But the day belonged to her sister Ruth. She set new team and pool records in free, set the current breaststroke record for 11-12, and the current 12-under IM record. The '86 season ended and the streak continued.
It is now 1987. Georgetown Aquatics began managing the pool; and Doug Wasson, a senior electrical engineering student at UMD, was hired as new head coach. Terry continued as his assistant. Perhaps the only thing different about the '87 season was that the Dolphins did not score 300 points in every meet...only two of them. Opening the season at Marlton (294-242), Ruth and Jenny Rogers lowered their team records in fly and backstroke, respectively. At home against Whitehall (277-257) in a close meet on the Fourth of July, Ruth celebrated by setting a pool record in breaststroke. The Dolphins returned to powerhouse status over the next two weeks by beating Pointer Ridge (321-218) and BBT (315-326). In the final dual meet at Kettering, a very close 277-264 victory, it was the Ruth and Jenny show again, with new team records in fly and back. The Dolphins won Divisionals by 28 points over the second place Kettering team, as Jeff Griesbauer and Scott Rogers set new team 15-18 records in fly and backstroke, respectively. Jenny closed out a great season by lowering her backstroke record to a 34.29, a record that would stand for twenty-five years.
In 1988, Georgetown Aquatics hired the legendary Mike Clener as head coach. He became one of the most loved coaches of all time, by swimmers and parents alike. He also served as the pool operator, which was his more important function, so his coaching career, though outstanding, lasted only one year. Terry served as assistant again. Mike was the spirit leader for a team that never lacked in spirit, as it swept through yet another undefeated season: BSR (290-249), BBT (331-208), Marlton (317-219), Whitehall (339-199, highest score ever), and Kettering (277-263, almost duplicating the previous year’s score). Throughout the dual meets, Ruth Kominski, and Scott and Jenny Rogers continued to lower team records. In Divisionals, it was Jenny (back) and Jeff Griesbauer (fly) with new team records. They were joined by little Peder Skoog who set the currect 8-under freestyle record at 16.36. But once again, the day belonged to Ruth, who set a 13-14 fly record that would last for 24 years, and the current team and league records for 13-14 breaststroke at 34.48. This is a league record that has survived the efforts of some of the PMSL’s finest female breaststrokers.
[COMMENT – Much of the Dolphins continuing success was not only due to the swimmers, but to the cadre of deck officials, United States Swimming-certified, who made the meets runs smoothly and helped to teach others how to judge strokes and otherwise run a meet. One individual stands out in this group of dedicated parents, Herb Martinson. Much has already been said of his children in this history, but not enough can be said of him. He led the effort to get strong swimmers from not only his own family, but from more than a dozen other families as well, to register with RMSC for year-round training. Well over thirty Dolphins participated. Herb held the team together for several years, and he was often asked by officials from other teams about the Dolphins’ success. He was quick to point out that one factor was that the SBP team manager was always asking for extra heats in A meets. The teams that accommodated the Dolphins in this respect reaped rewards for their own teams, as well. It wasn't long before the competition caught on. That and other teams' successes in sending swimmers to year-round programs began to make SBP wins harder to attain. When new teams joined the league, Dolphin officials were asked to help get them started, and Dolphin officials were always a part of clinics and training sessions.]
(Editor’s Note: Beth Coyle Kominski, Phil Kominski, Sara O’Neil Foraker, Dr. Hannah Yecheskel, and Lisa Collins Dobbins are all now Dolphins parents!)
Chapter Eight – The Streak Ends, but Success Continues
Another strong swimmer, Jeremy Smith, graduated with Terry in 1986. Jeremy is acknowledged here because he was a typical example of the average Dolphin. Neither an all-star nor a record-setter, Jeremy, like so many others, was one who constantly gave a good effort, but when the situation demanded something extra...something greater...he delivered. He had no league records like the brother (Alistair) whom he had encouraged to join the team, no team records like the sister (Meredith) who continued to set them...he was just a good, hard-nosed swimmer. There were two other guys just like him who graduated a year later, Conroy Zien and John Michael Griesbauer, both of whom have been previously mentioned for their contributions to the success of the team. Now, as alums, they would be called on to once again lead the Dolphins. This time they would do so as the coaches for the 1989 season.
The '89 Dolphins were still a powerful team, beating Green Acres (331-208) and Whitehall (322-219) at home, and Hawthorne (309-211), BSR (276-265) and Kettering (317-322) on the road. Even then, it was obvious that BSR was developing some great swimmers. In the Kettering meet, Jeff Griesbauer set the current 15-18 team record in fly and lowered the team record in freestyle. Scott Rogers lowered the 15-18 team backstroke record, and Ruth Kominski set new 15-18 team records in breaststroke and IM. She lowered both of those records a week later at the Divisionals meet at Whitehall, where Jeff lowered his team freestyle record...one that would stand for 20 years.
1990: Another year, another coach. With the winning tradition established, it almost seemed not to matter who would coach the Dolphins. But coaching experience was a necessary ingredient if the team was to continue its winning streak. With that in mind, SBP Parents Club officers hired Ben Radloff, who brought to the team several years of experience, both as a competitor and coach. Ben swam for the Long Branch Water Wizards in MCSL, Blair High School, and later Montgomery College, Takoma Park. Ben had also been an RMSC coach at MLK Swim Center for five years. The team welcomed him with five dual meet victories and the Divisionals championship. Once again, it was the Jeff and Ruth show, but in 1990, they added a record-breaking teammate, Kevin Lynch. Kevin set the current 13-14 freestyle record and a breaststroke record that stood for 27 years.
Ben was back to coach the 1991 Dolphins, a team that had since graduated some of its most dependable swimmers: Jeff Griesbauer, Greg Cohen, April Dorr, Irving Katz, Meg Usher, Tamar Yecheskel, and the inspirational Scott Keifer. But the nucleus of the '90 champs was still intact. Four straight dual meet wins led up to what at the time appeared would be the end of the streak. On July 20, 1991, the Dolphins traveled to BSR to take on the most powerful Barracuda team in years. Ruth had been lowering pool breaststroke records wherever she swam that year, and she knew she would be pushed in that event. She quickly ended whatever concerns there may have been. Her pullout was almost half the pool length and her strokes were powerful. She didn't just win and set a new team record, she set a new 15-18 league record of 34.96, which endured for 24 years. Her brother Russell lowered his team backstroke mark, and many other Dolphins also rose to the occasion. The meet was close, but it ended in another SBP victory and a very disappointed BSR team. They were good sports about the loss, but they were also looking forward to Divisionals and another shot at SBP. It was back to BSR for Divisionals, and the result? Yet another Dolphin championship. But the threat was there for the next summer.
1992 would be the final year for Russ and Ruth, although siblings Phil and Amy would still be around. More important for the continued success of the Dolphins was a plethora of strong swimmers who would prove to be consistent winners in all dual meets, including the season finale with BSR.
The team opened the season at home against Kettering. In that 280–253 victory, strong swimmers were legion: Event winners included Donnie Williams, J. Edwards, Matt and Dave Thomas, Peder Skoog, Nadine Klang, Alex Eaton-Salners, Teri Yetter, and Courtney Bogle. Over in PG County, BSR was cruising past Whitehall. Still smarting from that loss, Whitehall hosted the Dolphins the following week and were once again soundly defeated 307–233. In that meet, Ryan and Beth Coyle were the standouts, along with Sarah Yecheskel, Keri Keifer, and Chris Hawk. Meanwhile, in DC, BSR was an easy victor over Takoma Park.
On the nation's birthday, the team followed BSR to that yard pool at Takoma Park for a 289 – 247 win. The stars of that meet were Tammy Henry, Jenny Decker, Hillary Knorr, and Martin Wisor. Meanwhile, swimming at home, BSR had little trouble against Hawthorne. By now, the entire league awaited the looming showdown.
While BSR was easily defeating Kettering on July 11, the Dolphins were hosting Hawthorne in the warm-up for that showdown. Ruth set a new team record in fly and her brother Phil set a new pool record in backstroke. They were joined by event winners Alina Andrews, Dawn Naylor, and Shaul Yecheskel. The team won 277–258, but that score was much closer than what BSR had beaten Hawthorne by a week earlier. The proverbial “handwriting was on the wall.”
The practice days leading up to the BSR meet were probably more nerve-wracking for parents of swimmers than the swimmers themselves. There were no psych sheets back then, but the coaches did have the results and times of BSR meets. The Dolphins knew what they needed to do to keep their success alive, and the team spirit was at an all-time high. Many alumni swimmers were present that week, and they would stick around for the meet. When the morning of the meet arrived, a very lengthy caravan of cars and vans arrived with what must have been half the town of Bowie. They started blowing their horns as they entered the community and the parking lot filled as if it were a Divisionals meet. The BSR faithful easily outnumbered those from the SBP community, even though there were many locals on hand who had no direct team connection. They turned out to back the Dolphins and to acknowledge eleven years of outstanding swimming.
BSR great Terri Messenger was long gone, but in her place was league backstroke record holder Nora Granell, who was joined by the Van Coverden sisters, Alison, Emily, and Carolyn. All were consistent triple winners and all were strong in butterfly, which meant the Dolphins would be put to the test very early in the meet. Ruth set a new team record in fly, but she was out-touched by Nora Granell. Russ had won his fly event, so the team held a 45 – 43 edge after that stroke. But never again! Despite wins by Russ and Phil in freestyle, BSR girls swept the 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 free events. Breaststroke was the key event for SBP all year, and despite wins by Ruth, Alex Eaton-Salners, Sarah and Shaul Yecheskel, Matt Thomas and Ryan Coyle, the Dolphins still trailed 163 – 145. Russ, Phil (team and pool records), and Amy, along with Donnie Williams, were backstroke winners, but the point deficit grew to 26. Russ, Ruth and Phil, and J. Edwards all won their IM events, but BSR took two of the three relays. Final score: BSR 285.5 – 255.5. The streak had ended.
The team hosted Divisionals and came in second to BSR (240-219), but there were some great performances. Swimming in their last meet, the Kominski twins went out strong. Russ was out-touched out by U.S. Olympian Brad Schumacher, but he still set a new team record in backstroke. Ruth tripled, beating Nora Granell and setting a new team record in fly that would stand for 22 years; she also easily won the breaststroke event, and set the current team and pool records in her winning IM event. Phil won the 13-14 backstroke, and Chris Hawk won the 8-under breaststroke.
When Terry graduated after the 1986 season, it was said that she would be the standard by which all future female Dolphin swimmers would be judged. During her career, she set close to 100 team, pool (at home and on the road) and league records, some of which have survived to today (check out the record board at Pointer Ridge). Now the ‘92 season ended, and Ruth had swum her last meet. Compared with her sister, Ruth set only eighty or so of such records, but several team and pool records, and one league record, endure. Over a dozen times, parents and team members watched her come from behind in a freestyle relay and power her way to victory. During the streak, she was the only Dolphin to swim in every dual meet and Divisionals, and she scored in every one of those meets. Three times in her career she swam an entire season undefeated. She, her sister Marla, and the Rogers sisters were Metros medley relay champions at Kennedy High School. Ruth went on to swim for Florida State, becoming an ACC champion. She always returns for the Memorial Meet.
Ben Radloff was perhaps most devastated by the end of the streak. Parents and swimmers alike tried to comfort him, knowing that when it came down to competing, it was not Ben who was in the water. Though his team had lost, the most telling aspect of his leadership with the Dolphins was the amazing time drops of just about every swimmer on the team. But Ben wanted to move on, and so the Parents Club officers asked Terry to take over the head coaching job in 1993.
Terry was confident that even without Russell and Ruth, there was a very strong nucleus and some very talented newcomers. The Dolphins opened the season with a reassuring 288–243 victory at BBT. Phil Kominski tripled and lowered his 13-14 team backstroke record. Other triple winners that day were J. Edwards, Ryan Coyle, and Keri Keifer. Phil again lowered his backstroke record at home the next week in a 271-262 win over Takoma Park. On July 10, the team traveled to Hawthorne and won 276-263. Beth Coyle and Phil were triple winners. The following week, it was alumni day at home against Whitehall. Another victory, 321–219, with triples from Beth Coyle, Amy and Phil Kominski, and J. Edwards. Meanwhile, BSR was easily beating every team it swam against. The rematch was coming.
This time, it was BSR's pool. Strong swims by Beth, Chris Hawk, and Martin Wisor gave the Dolphins a 47-41 edge at the end of fly. BSR came back and the teams were knotted at 99 at the end of free. Despite the efforts of Joe Delaney, Alina Andrews, Shaul Yecheskel, and Jason Zagnit, BSR had taken the lead 154.5 – 153.5 at the end of breaststroke. Backstroke proved to be the key. Phil, Justin Praske, Donnie Williams, Teri Yetter, Ryan Coyle, Cori Williams, and Scott MacIntire were all winners; and SBP led by 11 points. J. Edwards, Ryan, Beth, and Phil were IM winners, widening the lead to 16 points. In the relay events, only the boys graduated relay was successful, but the final score was all that mattered: SBP 276.5 BSR 263.5. Somewhere, Ben Radloff was smiling. The team finished second in the Divisionals meet, but high enough to end the season as Division A champions once again.
[COMMENT: The four teams from the Bowie Bel Air area, BBT, BSR, Whitehall, and Pointer Ridge, had open memberships, and parents and coaches were continually lobbying disgruntled parents on other teams to switch. There was a ton of really great swimmers among those teams and “free agents” were very much in demand. Compare that to SBP, where membership on the Dolphins required membership at the pool, which was limited to the SBP community. Consider then how amazing that eleven-year streak was when the team had only a small community from which to draw and develop swimmers. As stated earlier in this history, a lot of credit for that development was rightfully given to Herb Martinson and the coaches of year-round programs at RMSC.]
[Editor’s Note: In response to aggressive recruiting practices by some PMSL teams, the Prince-Mont Swim League eventually instituted a rule under which swimmers who switch teams for any reason other than a documented household move must sit out for an entire season.]
Chapter Nine – Some New Dolphins to Celebrate
As the 1994 season kicked off, the Dolphins once again found themselves the reigning champs of A Division and the focus of every other team's best efforts. Did the team have the chemistry again to withstand the challenges and continue its decades-long mastery of PMSL swimming? Terry returned as head coach, assisted by Kerry Shahan and Susan LaFond. Because some of the past years’ strong swimmers had moved up in age groups, there were weaknesses in the lineup for which Terry would have to compensate, most likely with swimmers who had improved over the winter. But in some cases, she knew that she would have to do so through tactical meet maneuvers as she had done successfully the past season.
On paper, Takoma Park appeared to be the team to beat, but BSR continued to be strong and would be seeking revenge for last season's beating. Two new teams had moved into the division: Lancaster (from the Waldorf area) and Greenbelt. Their abilities were unknown, but at least the Dolphins and their parents finally had the chance to see some new swimmers. The team traveled to Lancaster and had no trouble winning 285-255, with Ryan and Beth Coyle, Keri Keifer, and Donnie Williams triple winners. Ryan and Donnie tripled again as the Dolphins edged out BBT at home 272-269. Ryan, Beth, and Donnie were joined by J. Edwards as triple winners over Greenbelt 288-249. It was time for yet another grudge match against the dreaded Barracudas, and Tiffany and Darren Crandell led a powerful BSR team to a 286-255 victory. J. Edwards and Ryan were triple winners again, but BSR led after fly and increased its lead after each stroke. The Dolphins finished the dual meet season at the Takoma Park yard pool where the DC team was led by Ethan Powe and the talented Delante Stephens (and his supportive, stentorian dad). Triple winners Amy Kominski, Chris Hawk, and Ryan led the Dolphins to a 295-228 victory. The team missed third place in Divisionals by 1.5 points but otherwise completed what Terry considered a very successful year.
One of the true characteristics of the SBP Dolphins over the years had been the dedication and commitment of a core of fine swimmers. They kept in shape over the winter months and in many instances competed in meets, either USS or high school. Never before had the number of year-round swimmers been as high as in the winter of 1994-1995, and coach Terry was looking forward to many improved performances in the 1995 season. “In past years,” said Terry, “there were many more Dolphins committed to competitive USS swimming, but below that level there was almost nothing other than summer-to-summer swimmers. What a difference this year.”
In addition to those who competed in USS or high school meets, forty Dolphins took advantage of Terry's stroke clinics at the Aspen Hill Club. The list read like the team roster: Jon Andrews, JoAnna Bresee, Debbie and Stephi Colby, Colleen Delaney, Megan Earl, Nick Farrell, Kelly and Joe Gallahan, Chris and Brian and David Hawk, Emily and Meredith Hoar, Hilary Holbrooke, Dan and Mike Immerman, Nadine Klang, Hillary Knorr, Amy Kominski, Erica and Kristen Lynott, Scott MacInatire, Kortney McGregor, Jeanie McKenna, Shannon and Kimberly Miller, Kathleen and Pat O'Brien, Matt and Jesse and Mike Pherigo, Justin and Joseph and Katie Praske, Katelin Schmiech, Miguel Tellado, Stephen Thomas, and Ted and Alexandria Wild.
The fine high school swimming of Ryan Billie, Shiloh Edwards, David Oler, Cori Williams, and Sarah Yecheskel was complimented by those swimming in USS programs, who continued to lower times. They included Alina Andrews, Courtney Bogle, Beth and Ryan Coyle, J. Edwards, Phil Kominski, Brian Lynch, Patrick Schwab, and Martin and Kyle Wisor. With all that effort, was the team ready for the 1995 season?
First up was Lancaster at home on June 24. Thanks to triple wins by Alina Andrews, Justin Praske, Amy and Phil Kominski, and J. Edwards, the Dolphins won easily, 312-228. At BBT the following week, the team swam to a 290-251 victory, led by triples from J. Edwards and Justin. It was J. Edwards again, this time assisted by Beth Coyle, who won three events in a very tough 284-257 victory over a strong Greenbelt team.
West Laurel was a new addition to A Division that year, and although it had lost a couple of its better swimmers, it could still count on the Reidlinger family of year-round swimmers to provide competition for the Dolphins. Once again, it was J. Edwards, this time assisted by Beth and Alina, who tripled in leading the Dolphins to a 311-228 win. Meanwhile, BSR had been easily winning its meets. It was going to be yet another match-up for the division championship.
On July 22, the team traveled to BSR seeking to reverse the 1994 result. At the end of the butterfly events, the Dolphins led 43-34, but the Barracudas came back strong in the freestyle events and evened the score at 99. The breaststroke had always been the trademark of Dolphin teams; and once again, this proved to be the case as the team took a 160-148 lead at the conclusion of those events. Again the Barracudas exhibited their strength in backstroke by closing the gap to 214-203. The meet was going to be up to those swimming IM, and because the key stroke in IM is almost always breaststroke, the Dolphins had the edge. Wins in IM gave the team a 21-point lead and an eventual 276-264 victory. J. Edwards tripled again, completing an undefeated dual meet season. The success at BSR propelled the team to a 21.5-point advantage over nearest competitor Greenbelt in Divisionals, and another A Division championship.
1995 was a year to remember because of the efforts of so many swimmers. Yet, as the time-worn investment caveat states, “past performance does not guarantee future success.” It would be many years...almost a decade later...before a Dolphins team would put together another winning season.
Chapter Ten – Great Spirit Through Tough Times
The next four years would prove to be some of the most difficult in Dolphins history. By the end of the 1999 season the coaches, parents and swimmers were ready to get out of Division A and develop teams that would be competitive in a lower division. That time was yet to come. First, there was strong team spirit that would carry those much-depleted Dolphins through some tough times.
In 1995, talent was spread out among the age groups. But Ryan Coyle, an outstanding swimmer and team stalwart, had graduated, as had point-getters Patrick Schwab, Alex Eaton-Salners, Becky Delaney, Shiloh Edwards, Cori Williams, and Brian Lynch. In 1996, talent was bunched in certain age groups. “When that happens,” said coach Terry, “and it usually does happen every other year, it means the coaching staff really has to work to get the best out of all swimmers. We will succeed if great swimmers stay great, good swimmers get better, and average swimmers surprise the heck out of us. To a certain degree, that happened in 1995. In 1996, it would have to happen every week.”
The release of the 1996 schedule was considerably delayed. The Dolphins knew that they would still be in A Division, but had no idea who the competition would be. The reason: The Lancaster team had folded during the winter. Lancaster had represented three pools in the Westlake Village (Waldorf) area, and parents from that community had asked PMSL to accept a new club, Westlake, in lieu of Lancaster, to give the new club Lancaster's computer point standing, and to place it higher than the lowest division where new teams usually began. League rules did provide for exceptions, but there was opposition to the request, and so the issue was joined. A new board of league officers sought a consensus among all teams in the league. The vote favored the request, the Westlake team ended up in B Division, and the league schedule was set because standings did not have to be re-computed. Two teams from the B Division, Hawthorne and University Hills, had moved up. They were the first two teams on the Dolphin's schedule.
On June 22, the team took the long trip to Hawthorne (La Plata) and lost the meet in the final relay, 267-266. It was the first time since 1978 that a Dolphin team had lost its opening meet. The long trip home was painful. It didn't get much better the next week at University Hills. With some of its better swimmers missing, the team once again lost the meet in the final event, 266-262. It was good to come home for the next meet. The welcoming water of the SBP pool proved to be energizing...for at least one week. The team beat BBT 280.5-260.5 for its only win that season. Successive home losses to powerful Greenbelt and BSR teams followed. The one highlight in the BSR meet occurred when Donnie Williams set the current 13-14 team and pool backstroke record. The Dolphins finished fourth in Divisionals.
In 1997, league officials were aware of the growing numbers of swimmers on teams in all divisions. The time-worn desire of meet managers to keep meets short had given way to coaches' desires to put more swimmers in the water in A meets. The Dolphins had always been a leader in this respect, continually asking for additional heats in events other than freestyle. Accordingly, in the 1997 handbook, Heat Rule b. 2) was amended to read:
There shall be no more than six swimmers per team in any non-freestyle event unless mutually agreed upon between the two team Meet Managers prior to the day of the meet. The fastest swimmers shall be placed in the last heat.
Coach Terry was one of many coaches who were happy about that change. She and many parents were happy as well about the new pool, which BPRA officers said was ahead of schedule and would open on Memorial Day weekend.
The '97 Dolphins didn't lose any top swimmers from the previous year. Alina Andrews, Erica Lynott, Phil and Amy Kominski, Donnie Williams, and young phenom Kyle Wisor would be counted on to score often. “We may start slow,” said Terry, “but we should have better chances in the last three meets to improve on the '96 record.” She was right about the start. Two powerful teams, Greenbelt and BSR, were easy winners. On July 5, the team traveled to Whitehall. The Wahoos had moved up from B Division and proved worthy of that climb; they beat the Dolphins 302-237. But Terry was also correct about the final two meets, which were at home. The team beat Hawthorne 291-230 on alumni day, and finished with a victory over University Hills 280-253. The only Dolphin highlight of the Divisional meet was Phil. He won every event in which he swam.
Nine core swimmers graduated in 1997; and two of them merit special notice for totally different reasons. Phil Kominski joined the team in 1984, following in the footsteps of sisters and a brother who had already made their marks on Dolphin history. He was the top point-getter in his age group for nine of his fourteen years, earning Swimmer of the Year three times. He set four team records, one for 13-14 IM, which still stands. In 1992, Phil did something that his older brother could not do, and that many other backstrokers before him could not do, breaking Syl Miniter's 13-14 record, which had stood since 1976. If there was ever a meet that he owned, it was Divisionals. He left the team with many memories...the least of which, no doubt, was his rock guitar version of the National Anthem at a home meet in 1995. Team records show that the second honoree, a very young Sarah Yecheskel, had joined the team in 1982. At the time, swim team members, because of their swimming skills, could visit the pool independently when on their own free time. At age 4, Sarah caused a rule change: As a Dolphin, she could visit the pool, but not independently. For sixteen summers she had been a significant presence, once as the teeniest member of the team, later as a point-scoring veteran who helped the team to continue its winning streak, and finally as a senior who shared her experience with younger Dolphins. She was the example of everything good for which the Dolphins stood. At that time, no other Dolphin in the team's history had stayed and swum for as many years as Sarah had.
Although the 1998 team included a lot of new young swimmers, it had lost much of its scoring core, and the team was considerably smaller. The coaches feared that it would be difficult to fill three lanes in all events. They were correct. There was some satisfaction in the fact that the once-powerful Greenbelt team had also been diminished; and as a result, Greenbelt was the only victory (278-262) that year. It was clear at the conclusion of the season that the Dolphins could no longer successfully compete in Division A when the other teams were constantly adding year-round swimmers. And yet, they remained.
Somewhere in those PMSL computer times, there was enough evidence to keep the SBP team in Division A for the 1999 season. Even as the 6th seed, the team's collective past performance times were slightly better than those of any lower division team. Some league officials shared with Dolphin parents that it was perhaps more of a last tribute to a team that had brought so much respect to the league. The team opened the season with a loss to BSR 323-205, the worst defeat in Dolphins history. The final four meets were losses and the team finished last in Divisionals. SBP parents knew that it was coming and were pleased to learn that the team would open the 2000 season in B Division. The move provided the opportunity the team needed to regain its pride, knowing all the while that it had never lost its spirit.
(Editor’s Note: Phil Kominski and Donnie Williams are both now Dolphins parents; and Sarah Yecheskel’s nieces are also current Dolphins swimmers.)
Chapter Eleven – Competition Gets Tougher, Yet New and Old Dolphins Shine
The last time that SBP had competed in Division B was 1982. Since that time, the Dolphins had been so successful that even in the late '90's when winning wasn't a given, the team still kept its Division A status. Those days were gone. The league had gotten very competitive and very few Dolphins remained in year-round swimming. For the 2000 season, almost every opponent would be a team that the Dolphins hadn't seen in many years, if at all. The only exception was Greenbelt two years earlier. Other teams, and the last time that SBP had faced them were Adelphi (1986), Kettering (1992), Smallwood Village (never), and Temple Hills (1980).
Coach Terry knew that the first meet at Greenbelt would be a tough opener, but she had some very seasoned swimmers in Donnie Williams (back, IM), Amy Kominski (fly, free, IM), Alina Andrews (free, back, IM), Amy Entwisle (fly, free, IM), Laura Entwisle (free, back, breast), Kimberley Miller (back, breast, IM), and water-burner Kyle Wisor (good in all strokes). Amy E., Donnie, Alina, Kim, and Kyle all tripled, but GM edged the Dolphins 256-248. It was a better ending at home against Adelphi. Amy E., Kim, and Kyle tripled, but the meet was won in the final relay when Coach Terry spread out the talent and the girls finished one-two for a 264-259 victory. Success continued at home against Kettering the next week. In a meet that was close all the way, an exciting moment occurred in the 11-12 girls freestyle. Shara Jones was the Kingfish top seed, but with outstanding swims, both Kelly McCall and Meaghan Jennison beat her in the final five meters. However, it was the little guys, the 8-under backstrokers, who put the meet away for the Dolphins. The final two meets were no contests; losses to Smallwood Village (307-227) and Temple Hills (299-232). But Kyle continued to triple, as he had in the three meets before, completing an undefeated season.
The Dolphins would begin the 2001 campaign as the fourth seed. Temple Hills had moved up to Division A, taking with them their famous bar-b-que pit and Divisionals. SBP made a successful bid and for the first time since 1992, the Dolphins would host that final meet. This was important for the team because not only was it an honor to host that event, but it provided a much needed source of revenue. That year the team would be spending to improve its equipment and facilities. On order was the Colorado Infinity start system, software for data entries, and retractable tent canopies for deck workers and swimmers. The team won the opener at home against Kettering in a meet that was re-located because of KSC pool problems. Erica Bechtol, Kyle Wisor, and Kim Miller tripled, continuing the previous year's dominance. But the promising swims of little guys Mark Kessler and Laura McGehee were the highlights. Each won two of their events. The team had not seen West Laurel since 1995 and wished it still hadn't. WLS had added a considerable number of outstanding swimmers and easily won 312-216. Only dependable Kyle Wisor tripled. A loss at Smallwood Village was followed by a victory at home against Adelphi. The team was hyped for a possible winning season at Cheverly, a team SBP had not seen since 1975. It was the Cheverly Dolphins, however, who won that day, 283-253; but what was encouraging for SBP coaches were the considerable drops in time, especially among those younger swimmers. SBP was a gracious host for Divisionals...finishing third.
There were no long road trips in 2002, and SBP would again be hosting Divisionals. But the first two meets, at home, were against loaded teams. The Dolphins opened with Westlake Village, a team they had never seen. WOW had won D Division and moved all the way up to the second seed in B Division. The meet was close all the way, but WOW prevailed 270-268, by taking the final relay. Kyle, Erica, and Kim all tripled again, but this time that amazing little 8-under Laura McGehee joined them. Other winners included Reed Brown, Danny Martinson, Matt Thomas, Christina Bogasky, Julie and Bobby Pinero, Mark Kessler, Amy Entwisle, and Meaghan Jennison.
Pumped by how well they had swum against WOW, the Dolphins were ready to greet Smallwood Village. But except for Kyle and Erica, who again tripled; and the outstanding swimming of Tommy and Danny Martinson, SVA swimmers out-swam all other SBP point-getters and won easily 282-249. The next two weeks, however, the Dolphins regained their winning form. The team traveled to Greenbelt, winning 298-237. This time, Erica and Kyle were joined by Amy Entwisle and Matt Thomas as triple winners. Hosting Fort Washington on alumni day, the Dolphins managed to hang on to win 277-264. FW won 26 of the 47 events that day, but SBP kept it close with seconds and thirds and won all but one of the IMs. It was the Erica, Kyle, and Kim show again, with strong performances by the Martinson boys and Andrew McGehee. As it had the year before, the team was looking at Cheverly to finish with a winning season. But again, just as before, it was not to be. Cheverly won 273.5 - 255.5 by taking the relays. The team finished fifth in Divisionals.
The Dolphins were lucky in '02 when all three teams from what seemed like “the other side of the world” swam at SBP. That was not the case in 2003, as the team had to get out the road maps and gas up for Westlake Village, Smallwood Village, and Fort Washington. There was one consolation: Adelphi, with its 50-meter pool, had dropped to Division C, and New Carrollton moved up. NCR wanted the Divisionals, as had been its tradition in C. SBP graciously let them do host. The last time that the Dolphins had faced NCR was in 1982. Something else was new in 2003. There were new practice lane ropes, thanks in part to the BPRA.
Initially, those ropes didn't help much. The team lost its opener at Westlake 310-225. WOW took 28 of the 47 events. Kyle and Erica starred again, and were joined this time by 9-10 phenom Joanna Ladas, who also tripled. Kim and Julie added double wins, as did another outstanding young 9-10 swimmer, Matt Wesley, the oldest of what was destined to be a family of strong swimmers. It did not get any better against New Carrollton at home the next week; NCR won 34 of the 47 events, swept the relays, and left SBP on the short end of a 298-230 score. Only Kyle was undefeated. Even Erica got beat in fly. But little 8-under Lilan Miller won two events. She was the first of what would be another outstanding family of swimmers. The long trip home from Fort Washington was a happy one, as the Dolphins secured a tight 273-257 win with triples by Erica, Kim, and Joanna, overcoming Kyle's first dual meet loss (fly) in four years. It turned out to be the only win that year, as the Dolphins went on to lose successive meets to Cheverly and Smallwood Village. Kevin McGehee joined Erica, Kyle, and Kim in the triple parade against CSR. Julie Pinero and Mark Kessler were triple winners against SVAC, as were Erica and Kyle. In the Divisional meet Kyle was once again beaten by FW's Bryson Stewart in fly but he won the free and IM events. Other successful Dolphins in Divisionals included Mark Kessler (fly), Joanna Ladas (free), Danny Martinson (breaststroke), Erica Bechtol (breaststroke), and Kimberly Miller (breaststroke).
The 2003 season ended with four dual meet losses. But what was very clear to Coach Terry was that this team was loaded with talent. It had enough year-round swimmers and so many outstanding little folks that the next few years should produce totally different results.
Chapter Twelve – Those Absolutely Amazing Dolphins; 2004-2005
Coach Terry was right about her assessment of the 2003 Dolphins. They only won one meet, but they were loaded with talent, and she could see great opportunities not only for the handful of year-round swimmers, but also for the 8-under and 9-10 groups. Terry was certain that there would be many new names among the winners. Her assessment was so accurate that the 2004 and 2005 seasons deserve a chapter of their own.
That one-win/four-loss record in 2003 left the Dolphins pretty much at the mercy of the league computers, and the team dropped to Division C as the sixth seed, its lowest placement in a quarter century. The first meet was at home, but SBP had to square off with the top seed, Smallwood Village. The Dolphins stayed with SVA through fly. If the team didn't win an event, SBP swimmers came in second and third. The same was true through free, breast, and back. It wasn't just the top swimmers, it was just as Terry had predicted...new faces also. Sure, Kyle Wisor, Kimberly Miller, and Joanna Ladas were the expected triple winners, but they were joined by Matt Wesley, also a triple winner. Matt's brothers Andrew and Nick also won events, as did Reed Brown, Michelle Ladas, Phil Sanneman, Mark Kessler, and Laura and Amy Entwisle. Final score: SBP 280-SVA 249. A big, big upset.
Terry knew that the team would be pumped for the meet at Pointer Ridge the next week, but she also knew that PR was loaded and from the previous week's results, PR times were better than many of the SVA winners’ times. It appeared to be a tough meet to win. She was right again. It came down to the final relay. That relay squad of Laura McGehee, Joanna Ladas, Amy Entwisle, and Kim Miller won the event in the final five meters, and the Dolphins won the meet 268-264. Joanna, Kim and that 8-under wonder Lilan Miller were triple winners, and although Kyle lost the fly event to PR's Jason Webb, he won both of his other events. Joining Kyle and Laura as double winners were Julie Pinero, Erica Bechtol, Matt Wesley, and Andrew McGehee, Two new winners that day were Kara Neesen and Emina Causevic.
The next two meets were at home in the welcoming waters of the SBP pool. The Dolphins blew away Fort Washington 314-226, taking 32 of 47 events. Laura, Kyle, Matt, Kim, and Lilan were triple winners. Greenbelt followed and went home with a 316-219 beating. This time the Dolphins took 34 of 47 events. Amy Entwisle and Julie Pinero got their first triples, joining Kyle and Matt in that parade. New face winners? Of course: Bobby Schmiech and John Simpson.
The team traveled to Seat Pleasant to take on the Theresa Banks Tiger Sharks on July 17. TB had been in the league for a few years, but they were new to the Dolphins. Terry had past weeks' results and it looked like the Dolphins could finish an undefeated season. Right again. The team held off some very good TB swimmers for a 278.5 – 254.5 victory. Laura, Kim, and Kyle tripled, but Terry had her eye on Julie Pinero, who was dropping times consistently. Terry kept this in mind as she prepared the team for what she knew was going to be a very tough Divisional meet at Pointer Ridge where Smallwood Village would be favored.
The Dolphins had owned the fly events all season long, but in Divisionals, the team's 40 points were six behind SVA at the conclusion of that stroke. Only Kyle won. He also won his freestyle event, as did Lilan, but at the conclusion of that stroke, the Dolphins still were in second place, eight points behind SVA. Laura and Kim were breaststroke winners and with the points secured by their teammates in that event, SBP led both SVA and Theresa Banks by five points. Only Matt Wesley won a backstroke event as that stroke was dominated by SVA and Greenbelt. SBP trailed SVA by three and a half points going into the critical IM events. As expected, Kyle won his event. But the key to the team's eventual success in the IM's was the performance of Julie Pinero, who touched out (.07 seconds) TB's great freestyler Mercedes Maynard. Going into the relays, the Dolphins led SVA by 9.5 points and TB by 10. SBP didn't win any of the relays, but did score a total of 26 points in the relay events to the 20 points each scored by SVA and TB. Division Champions once again.
Parents and coaches knew it would happen. An undefeated championship season would result in a move right back to Division B for the 2005 season as the third seed. SVA also moved up and Westlake Village was still there. But there were three other teams in the division that SBP had never competed against. Montpelier Community Swim Team (MC) in Laurel was a PMSL original team. Silver Spring Swim Team (SSST), was a descendant of the Silver Spring YMCA team, which the Dolphins did swim against, back in 1973. The third team was the MVP Dolphins, a team with an historical connection to SBP. When MVP entered the league in 1994, league officials asked for help in getting them started. One of our team's certified USS officials trained their parents, organized their pool, and helped officiate their home meets. The MVP team had come a long way from their days in Division F; and in 2005, they were loaded with top swimming talent.
The Dolphins opened on June 25 at home against the SSST Tsunami, a team loaded with USS swimmers. It was a close meet in which the Dolphins trailed most of the way. But triples by familiar names, Kyle, Matt, and Erica helped to carry the day. Yet, it was that group of little 8-unders who really led the way to victory and gave a preview of what would be ahead for the season. Emma Bearman, Jared Machlin, and Winston Miller swam to wins in the team's overall 266-249 success. That long ride to SVA the next weekend was rewarded with a 309-222 win in which the team led all the way and swept the relays. Old pros Matt, Kyle and Erica were triple winners; as were little guys Emma and Jared.
On July 9, the Dolphins traveled to MC to take on the number-one seed, a team loaded with talent led by the Harris family of Matt, Annie, and Maggie. Two of them would triple as part of the 25 of 47 events that MC won. But, once again, triples by Lilan and Erica, along with all the consistent second and third places, and those outstanding little folks provided just enough for a 273.5 – 266.5 upset victory. The team was pumped and ready to take on WOW at home the next week.
Before the meet with WOW, Coach Terry was faced with a problem she had to deal with during the season: missing swimmers. For one reason or another, she and the coaches had to fill empty lanes with backup swimmers. And, for one reason or another, they rose to the challenge. Those Dolphins who had been coming in behind teammates were now the winners. Mark Kessler, Kara Fannon, Laura Entwisle and that bunch of little guys were significant in the team's 285-256 win. The Dolphins finished the dual meet season at home against MVP, a team with three of the best male swimmers in the division: Rory Lewis, Richard Alloway, and James Michael. Those three were winners but overall the MVP team could not match the plethora of Dolphins who lowered times that day in a 285-256 victory.
SBP hosted Divisionals. Lilan Miller won the 10-under fly and SBP had a two-point lead over SSST at the conclusion of that stroke. Erica was the only winner in freestyle, but so many Dolphins were scoring in second to sixth places in that stroke, that the team maintained a 16-point lead over a bunched trio of MVP, SSST, and MC. With no winners in breaststroke, the team trailed MC by five and a half points. Joanna Ladas and Andrew McGehee were backstroke winners and the team kept pace with MC. But Matt Wesley, along with Andrew and Erica were IM winners. Mark Kessler, Joanna Ladas, Laura McGehee, Julie Pinero, and Kyle Wiser also contributed to the forty points scored in that stroke, which resulted in a 5.5-point lead over MC. MVP carried the relays, but SBP's little guys got second place, and the boys and girls both finished third. SBP won the meet by 10 points over MVP.
Another outstanding championship season. It certainly looked like the team would be moving up again into that very competitive Division A. Coach Terry was very proud of the 2005 team and especially thankful for the highly successful work done by Kyle Wisor and Christina Bogasky, who coached the little folks. Winston Miller and Emma Bearman were top point-getters, but all season long Terry had her experienced eye on one other little girl, who in one year had made tremendous improvement. She never won an event that summer but she scored in every meet and finished as second high-point among the 8-under girls. Her name: Morgan Hill.
Chapter Thirteen – Success at the Top Division
The 2006 season began with the Dolphins back in Division A for the first time since 1999. That was a difficult year for the small SBP team that finished 0-5 and last in Divisionals. But in 2006, the team had increased in size and spirit was running very high after two consecutive undefeated championship seasons. The team was the sixth seed, and Coach Terry knew that dual meets would be tough, but she figured that the Dolphins needed to win only one meet to prove that the team could compete in the league's best and toughest division.
SBP opened the 2006 season on June 17at BBT, the number-one seed. BBT confirmed that status with strong swimmers and a fairly easy 294-246 win over SBP. Laura McGehee tripled, but the highlights for the Dolphins were the performances of the 8-under kids. Winston Miller and Morgan Hill were triple winners and the bookends of a successful 8-under relay. The next week, the team traveled to take on traditional foe BSR, the third seed. The Dolphins were down one point at the end of fly, but then the little guys took the lead. Winston Miller and Connor Ruppert were one-two in free, and Morgan also won her freestyle event. The teams were tied at the end of freestyle. Those three did it again in breaststroke and were joined by Laura McGehee and Christina Bogasky, giving the Dolphins a two point advantage at the conclusion of that stroke. But the BSR backstrokers were strong, and despite the continued success of Winston, Connor, and Morgan, the team trailed by one point. Rebecca Wesley joined the three wonder kids in the 8-under relay, and their victory gave the team just the lead it needed to squeak out a 268-266 win. Winston, Morgan, Laura, and Nick Wesley were all triple winners that day; and Nick's older brothers, Matt and Andrew, each won two events.
Terry got the one win she wanted in what was clearly an upset victory over BSR, but the fight and determination she saw in her troops that day gave her a good feeling about the rest of the season. The next three meets would be at home, and Whitehall was first up. WPT had a strong team and some great little guys of their own. Andrew and Matt Wesley were triple winners, as were Kyle Wisor, Laura, and Joanna Ladas. Michael Stagnitto, Erica Bechtol, Nick Wesley, and Morgan Hill were double winners. Winston Miller and Jared Machlin were one-two in free and breaststroke, and Jared won backstroke to counter those fast WPT 8-unders, who edged out the little guys’ relay by .01 of a second. But SBP took the boys’ and girls’ relays and won the meet 282-259. Takoma Park proved to be an easier foe. The team won 273-250, with triples by Reed Brown and Andrew Wesley. It was now a successful season, with only West Laurel left. The Wahoos were no competition. SBP took 35 of the 47 events, winning 300-210. Nineteen different Dolphins were winners, with triples by Kyle, Joanna, Laura, Erica, Lilan Miller, and Andrew Wesley. Terry's optimism was justified. BBT won the Divisional meet in 2006, as expected, but SBP finished third with event wins by Laura McGehee, Andrew Wesley, and Winston Miller.
At the conclusion of the 2006 season, four Dolphins graduated. A lot of points left with Kelly McCall, Bobby Pinero, and Meaghan Jennison. But the biggest dent in scoring would be the departure of Kyle Wisor. “Triple” was his middle name; he did it 35 times. For four consecutive years he was undefeated. His was a career that rivaled that of Scott Martinson.
The Dolphins had legitimized their Division A status, and in so doing had amazed the competition and perhaps even themselves. But Terry knew that a lot of luck factored into those victories, as well as the ebbing status of BSR and Whitehall. In 2007, those two teams dropped out of Division A and were replaced by returning New Carrollton and MVP, a team the Dolphins faced in Division B two years earlier. BBT was still strong. TP had added depth. MVP was loaded. NCR and West Laurel could be beaten. The key to a winning season would be the final meet with BBT.
As expected, the home meet with New Carrollton was an easy 303-236 victory. Six Dolphins tripled that day: Jared, Emma Bearman, Lilan, Matt Wesley, Reed Brown, Andrew McGehee, and that little phenom Morgan Hill, whose freestyle win placed her in the top ten all time The meet at West Laurel the next week would prove to be a much tougher. Jared, Emma, Joanna, Andrew McGehee, and Nick Wesley tripled but the team had to come from behind to win 279-262. Coach Terry knew that the following meet at Takoma Park, although in a yard pool, would pit the Dolphins against some of the best swimmers in the division. TP led all the way and won 286-243. The enclosed lab pool at MVP was a coach's nightmare, with such limited space that only officials could be inside with the swimmers for each event. Rory Lewis, James Michael, and Bridie Burke carried MVP to a fairly comfortable victory, 283-259. That final meet with BBT was at home. A Dolphins win meant a winning season. There was concern among SBP swimmers that day, as one of the team's best and most successful, Andrew McGehee, would be swimming in a USS meet at the University of Maryland. If he finished early enough there he might make it back in time for his backstroke event. As the first heat of that event was called to the starting end of the pool, there was great commotion in the parking lot and cheering from team members peering through the fence. It was the arrival of Andrew, who came racing into the pool area, past the clerk of course to sign in and on to the starting area just as the first heat was exiting the pool. Of course his adrenalin-aided powerful strokes won him the event, and he went on to win IM as well, perhaps with less adrenalin. There was one other highlight that day. Matt Wesley set a team record in 13-14 fly, which he lowered two weeks later at All Stars to the current record time for that event. All that drama was not enough. The Dolphins lost the final relay and with it the meet, 272-269. The team hosted Divisionals but came in fourth. Morgan was Morgan: she tripled.
On the whole, Coach Terry was not disappointed with the 2007 season. She knew that the team had talent; and in 2008, that talent would be distributed very nicely among the age groups, and she had her eyes on some of the developmental swimmers as well. Again she was correct. The Dolphins opened the 2008 campaign at BBT where they took 30 of the 47 events, winning 277-264. Fifteen different Dolphins won events that day and little 8-under Sarah Staggs was one of them. Winston Miller, Emma Bearman, Laura and Andrew McGehee, and Morgan Hill all tripled. Morgan, in a preview of what was to come for several years, was successful in her first attempt at butterfly.
One of the most popular high school swimming events was the 200 medley relay, and for several years PMSL officials debated whether to add it to the dual meet program. It was the usual debate centering on the time it took to complete a meet. In 2008, the league decided to experiment with the event on a non-scoring basis at the option of meet managers. SBP, along with most teams, opted not to swim it but did not object to its competition doing so. In the second 2008 meet, held at home, Takoma Park swam three male and three female exhibition relay teams while the Dolphins watched. When the meet continued for real, SBP won 298-233, leading all the way with triples by Andrew McGehee, Nick and Andrew Wesley, Emerson Miller; and, of course, Morgan Hill. And the Dolphins swept the relays. A week later, SBP took on the Tiger Sharks of Theresa Banks. Once again, the team led all the way, but this time the usual gang of triple winners (see above) were helped by event winners Reed and Simone Brown, Connor Ruppert, and Kara Neesen. SBP 280-TB 258.
West Laurel was next and WLS opted to swim the exhibition 200 medley relay, but waited to do so in the SBP pool because their pool was not regulation (a length at WLS was 80 feet, 2 inches). Once they satisfied themselves, they went on to satisfy the Dolphins by losing to SBP 279-261. The lead went back and forth, but triples by Laura and Andrew McGehee, Morgan Hill, Emerson Miller, Matt and Nick Wesley, and Joanna Ladas carried the day. The team was now poised for what it hoped would be another undefeated dual meet season.
The Dolphins had beaten the number-one (TP) and -two (BBT) seeds, and now they hosted the third seed, MVP. Weekly meet results clearly showed that this would be the toughest competition for the Dolphins in the 2008 season. The Dolphins held a three-point lead at the conclusion of the freestyle events, but MVP took over breaststroke and backstroke and never looked back. Final score MVP 274.5 -SBP 264.5. The one highlight, however, was Andrew McGehee's team record time of 29.34 in 15-18 backstroke. That record still stands. The team finished fourth in Divisionals that year, but they had event winners: Winston Miller (fly), Morgan Hill (fly and back), Andrew McGehee (free and IM), Laura McGehee (breaststroke), and Emma Bearman (IM).
Terry knew that the next few years would be difficult, and staying in Division A meant keeping spirits high and improving strokes and times of some very fine B meet swimmers. Would there be enough in each age group, however, to fill the lanes for two heats of every event?
Chapter Fourteen – Struggling to Stay in Division A
Six Dolphins graduated after the 2008 season, taking a ton of points with them, and coach Terry knew that 2009 would be a season of rebuilding the team and restructuring each event to cover those lost points. PMSL officials had now made the 200 medley relays official scoring events, and that would be yet another challenge for Terry. But she had some strong swimmers, both boys and girls, in each stroke, and they would get to prove themselves against a very strong Theresa Banks team in the first meet at home on June 20. Both A relay teams were winners that day, and of course, that meant that both teams had established the initial team and pool records. Swimming for the boys were Matt Wesley (back), Andrew McGehee (breast), Reed Brown (fly), and Mark Kessler (free). The successful girls were Joanna Ladas (back), Simone Brown (breast), Julie Pinero (fly), and Kara Neesen (free).
The Dolphins got triple victories from Emma Bearman, Lilan Miller, Nick Wesley, and Andrew McGehee. A couple of highlights included 8-under wins by Olivia Miller (breaststroke) and Josh Bearman (backstroke). All that success, however, was not enough to top a loaded TB squad. The Dolphins lost 290-280.
At home against BBT the next week, both relay teams won once more, lowering the boys’ and girls’ records. From then on the meet was close, with the lead changing hands five times. Andrew McGehee was a triple winner and set a team and pool record for the 15-18 IM. Other triple winners included Emma Bearman, Joanna Ladas, and that little phenom Olivia Miller. A couple of new names—Trent Frizzell and Caelin Hoye—also appeared in the breaststroke win column for the Dolphins. BBT took two of the final relays and won the meet 295-283. On July 4, it was only Takoma Park that provided the fireworks. The DC team took 33 of the 49 events, winning 319-256. Morgan, Lilan, and Andrew were triple winners; and little Olivia continued to shine for the 8-unders.
The Dolphins needed something to boost their spirits. West Laurel hosted the next meet and provided just the therapy they needed. SBP won 37 of the 49 events, taking four of the five relays. Fourteen different Dolphins won events, with triples by Emma and Josh Bearman, Lilan Miller, Joanna Ladas, Morgan Hill, Nick Wesley, and Andrew McGehee. The team finished the dual meet season at the MVP indoor pool with its powerful trio of Rory Lewis, Bridie Burke, and James Michael. The 9-10 kids, led by Morgan, Rebecca Wesley, Emerson Miller, Evan Bearman, and Caelin Hoye scored a lot of points that day, but the Dolphins lost 305.5 – 273.5. SBP hosted and finished fourth in Divisionals, but the team hero was Andrew McGehee. That day, Andrew set 15-18 team and pool records in free,
and the current team records in breaststroke and IM. One week later, at All-Stars, the 200-meter medley relay team of Kara Neesen, Simone Brown, Julie Pinero, and Laura McGehee set a team record. That followed the team record performance of Andrew McGehee, Reed Brown, Matt Wesley, and Michael Stagnitto in the boys’ 200 medley relay event. Theirs is the current team record for the boys’ event.
The Dolphins would begin the 2010 season without superstar Andrew McGehee, who had joined that long list of outstanding alumni. Terry knew that it would be difficult to better the previous year's record, but she was pleased with what she saw as strong 8-under, 9-10 and 11-12 squads, especially with a new little guy, Chinhnam Nguyen, who swam that difficult breaststroke like he had been doing it all his young life. He and the other Dolphins would get their first test at home against a powerful Takoma Park team. The youngsters rose to the occasion. Chinhnam won three events, Olivia Miller won two; and Morgan Hill, now swimming 11-12, tripled. But TP took 32 of the 49 events and won 312-252. Although Morgan and Olivia were joined by Emerson Miller in tripling against BBT the next week, the team was clearly out-swum. BBT won 31 events including all five relays, en route to a 322-247 victory.
Westlake Village was next. WOW had not been successful in its first two meets but it was seeded ahead of SBP. Terry, however, had a good feeling about her team because they had had great practices all week. The Dolphins didn't disappoint their coach. Morgan Hill and Reed Brown tripled and were among the sixteen Dolphins who won that day. A highlight was the upset victory of little Ben Shuster in the 8-under backstroke. The team led all the way and went on to win 314-259. MVP brought another strong team to the SBP pool on July 10, led by that great trio of Rory Lewis, Bridie Burke, and James Michael. It rained that day, and at times it poured so hard that officials could not see the bottom of the pool, and that meant stopping the meet for a while. Emerson Miller, Joanna Ladas, and Morgan all tripled, but that MVP trio never lost in any event they swam. Final score: MVP 303-SBP 276. The next week at Theresa Banks, Emerson and Joanna again tripled, but TB took 33 of the 49 events and won easily, 319-255. The Dolphins finished fifth in Divisionals at the home pool. They did win five events, however, with Morgan setting a team and pool record for 11-12 fly.
Staying in Division A would depend on the success of the 2011 season. But the Dolphins would lose dozens of points with the graduations of Julie Pinero, Michael Stagnitto, Laura Entwisle, and Reed Brown. But in the practices preceding the first meet, Terry saw considerable stroke improvement in several swimmers and she was excited by the newest addition, little 8-under Nicole Szabo, who, for her age, exhibited perfect form for the three strokes swum by the little guys.
The team opened the 2011 season at home against Theresa Banks, a team that had lost nothing from the year before, and if anything, had increased its strength. Matt and Nick Wesley, Eamon and Caelin Hoye, Emma Bearman, Laura McGehee, Sky Geary, Mark Kessler, and Kara Neesen were winners that day. Veterans Morgan Hill and Joanna Ladas tripled. And, oh yes, there was another triple winner...little Nicole Szabo, who lived up to her preseason promise. But TB went on to win everything else, coasting to an easy 301-271 victory. It would only get worse at Takoma Park the next week. TP was loaded at every male and female age group. Morgan tripled, but the team won only nine other events and suffered its worst-ever loss, 332-246.
On July 2, the team traveled to compete with the Silver Spring Swim Team, which had moved up after many years in Division B. The Dolphins had last swum the Tsunami in 2005. The meet looked good from the start, as the girls’ 200 meter medley relay team of Joanna Ladas (back), Laura McGehee (breast), Simone Brown (fly) and Morgan Hill (free) set a new team record. Morgan followed that by tripling once again, setting 11-12 team records in free (current) and fly. Mark Kessler and Sky Geary also tripled. Other Dolphin winners, some for the first time, were Olivia Miller, Emma Bearman, Ian Virga, Nick Wesley, Eamon Hoye, Laura McGehee, Riley Geary, Sky Geary, Bayani Spencer, Carrie Hill, Joanna Ladas, and Emerson Miller. Final result: SBP 305-SSST 252. A much-needed win and morale booster.
The final two meets, however, would find SBP totally overmatched. Triples by Joanna, Emma, and Morgan; as well as Joanna's 15-18 team record in backstroke, did not stop BBT from fending off a late rally by SBP and holding on for a 298-281 victory in which they took all five relays. The final meet at MVP was never close, despite triples by Morgan, Emma, Joanna, and Mark. MVP 311-SBP 268. The Dolphins hosted Divisionals and finished last. There were a couple of highlights for the team. That same medley relay of Ladas, McGehee, Brown, and Hill lowered the team record to the current 2:01.48 and Morgan set the current 11-12 team and pool records in fly at 31.27. It was also the league record at the time. It was clear that with a 1-5 dual meet record and a sixth-place finish in Divisionals, the team would be heading back to Division B for the 2012 season.
Chapter Fifteen – Finding the Right Division
The Dolphins were back in Division B, and Coach Terry and a lot of parents were happy to be there. The team could no longer compete successfully at the top level when just about every team in Division A had a plethora of year-round swimmers. Through graduations, the team had lost a core of top swimmers including Joanna Ladas, Matt Wesley, Mark Kessler, and Simone Brown. Add to that the make-up of the competition for the 2012 season, which on paper at least, looked formidable. One reason for that was a restructured PMSL. The league had added a Division H, and had reconfigured the divisions with five (instead of six) teams in each. This meant that each team would swim one meet against a team from another division. For the Dolphins, the inter-division meet would be against Takoma Park, the number-three seed from Division A.
The Dolphins opened up at Whitehall, where the Wahoos were loaded, especially with that Hayburn bunch (Annie, Joseph, Patrick, and Jimmy). Olivia Miller, Nicole Szabo, Nick Wesley, and Laura McGehee tripled. But the Hayburns pretty much cancelled that success by taking a combined eleven events for WPT. It was a bittersweet day for Morgan Hill. She set a team and league record in 13-14 fly. She also set a team record in backstroke, but was beaten in that event by Annie Hayburn, ending Morgan's chance for a triple. Winning 32 events, WPT took the meet 328-250. Next up was Adelphi at home. Twelve different Dolphins were winners that day, with Morgan (a pool record in fly) and little Nicole tripling. The team took a lead into the backstroke events and that is where their fortunes turned. AR finished strong and won 298-281. A highlight for the Dolphins, however, was the 8-under freestyle relay team of Nicole, Asa and Ian Virga, and Lauren Hill, which lowered a 22-year-old pool record to 1:15.80.
And then came that out-of-division meet with Takoma Park, one of the strongest teams in the league. The Dolphins hoped to keep it close, but that was not to be, as TP won eleven opening events, sweeping all fly events. Nicole's victory in free ended that streak, but then TP went on to win twelve more in a row. Perhaps a significant reason for such a lopsided loss (360-219, the worst in Dolphin history) was the absence of Morgan Hill. The team's champion was competing elsewhere in a USS meet. Terry worked the team hard the following week to get the Dolphins past any memories of that TP meet and to prepare them for that long trip to Westlake Village. Morgan was back, and she won all her events as expected. But it was the little guys again who shone. Morgan's younger sisters, Lauren and Carrie, along with Nicole, kept the meet close. The Dolphins led 278-274 with only the girls’ graduated relay to swim. The girls had only to finish second. But WOW finished 1-2 to win the meet by one point. A heartbreaking finish that only made the ride home seem longer.
The WOW meet was a killer, but Terry was buoyed by the time drops she saw and the competitive grit that brought back memories of the teams on which she had swum. The team would be ready to finish the season at home against Greenbelt.
Thirteen Dolphins were winners against GM. Morgan was Morgan; and Ian Virga, Nicole Szabo, Riley Geary, and Olivia Miller joined her in earning triples. Even newcomer Merrick Golladay was a winner in 10-under fly. The team led all the way and went on to win 305-274. The following week, the Dolphins finished second in Divisionals at Whitehall. On July 28, the team was well represented in the league All-Star meet. Morgan lowered her team 13-14 freestyle record, and that 8-under freestyle relay team of Nicole Szabo, Asa Virga, Lauren Hill, and Ian Virga set the current team record of 1:13.02. On paper, the season would not appear to be a success, but that was not how Terry saw it. She saw so much improvement from beginning to end that she just knew that the next year would be good despite the fact that the team would be losing at lot of points with the graduation of Andrew Wesley and Laura McGehee.
The Dolphins opened the 2013 season at home against Westlake, hoping to avenge that heartbreaking final event loss of a year earlier. The scoreboard, as usual, identified WOW and SBP as the teams, but the scoreboard keeper could have put a “wow” after SBP, as well. Morgan Hill had already established herself throughout the league as one of the best, and she did not disappoint. Her triple included a team and pool record in free. She was joined by other triple winners: both Ian and Asa Virga, Emma Bearman, and that second-year phenom Marrick Golladay. Eleven other Dolphins were winners that day. In addition to double wins by Dale Gotcher, Lauren Hill, and newcomer Piper Yockelson, there were event wins by Lilan Miller, Evan Bearman, Nadira Roberts, Nick Wesley, Carrie Hill, and Eamon and Caelin Hoye. And finally, add to that impressive list the 9-10 breaststroke winner that Terry had identified as a future star, Daryn Lam. Final score: SBP 301 WOW 264.
That was a great start, but now the team had to host MVP. They had not beaten MVP when both teams were in Division A, but Terry knew that the Dolphins were facing a weaker team and one that they could finally swim with. Thirteen Dolphin winners proved her right. There was the usual triple by Morgan, which included the current team record in 13-14 backstroke. The Virga brothers also tripled, as did Nick Wesley. Dale and Marrick were double winners, and some little 9-10 swimmer named Carson Taylor won the breaststroke event. It was never close. Final score: SBP 309 MVP 269. The team would next travel to Greenbelt. It was going to be a tough meet because Terry would be missing many swimmers and consequently many points. Other swimmers had to step up. But Morgan was there, tripling as usual and setting the current 13-14 team record in free. Along with the few regular winners who swam that day were the Dolphins who did step up: Emerson Miller, Riley Geary, Caelin Hoye, Collin Dobbins, Olivia Miller, Rebecca Wesley, Carrie Hill, and little Piper Yockelson, who tripled. With these efforts, the team managed to hold off a GM late challenge and win 296-283.
Adelphi proved to be a much tougher foe. Triples by Morgan and the Virga brothers helped keep it close. But AR outscored SBP in backstroke events 63-47 and took five of the six IM events. Final score AR 296 SBP 283. The Dolphins finished the dual meet season at Russett. This would be the first time the two teams met, as the Sharks had moved up all the way from Division D. Any parent who was at this meet would say it was perhaps the most exciting and nerve-wracking in quite a while. Evan and Emma Bearman, Nick Wesley, Marrick Golladay, and of course Morgan all tripled that day, but the Sharks continued to frenzy-feed on points. The Dolphins took five of the six IMs and had an eight-point lead going into the final relays. The little Dolphins lost, but the boys won and came in third. That third place gave the team enough of a lead to withstand the 1-2 finish by the RST girls. Final score, SBP 291 RST 288.
The Dolphins hosted Divisionals and came in second. Morgan tripled, setting the current team and pool records in 13-14 fly. That little 8-under wonder Asa Virga also tripled. Emma Bearman won the 15-18 free and back events. Evan Bearman won the 13-14 fly, and Lilan Miller won the 15-18 fly. The next week at All-Stars, Morgan set the current 13-14 team IM record of 1:10.20, beating Coach Terry's record, which had stood since 1982. Morgan would leave that age group with a ton of record performances, and she and the rest of the team could look back on a very successful year.
So when the 2014 season began, Morgan was looking forward to competing as a 15-18 and setting her sights on a half-dozen records. Terry was also looking forward and with great anticipation, for she had lost only Collin Dobbins to graduation, and the team was loaded with much improved swimmers. That fact manifested itself in the first meet at home against MVP. It was a fun meet for the team, as Dolphins kept leaving a lot of MVP swimmers in their wakes. The Virga brothers, now both in the 9-10 age group, were 1-2 in fly and free, and then Asa won breaststroke while Ian won back. In the 11-12 boys fly it was Ben and Ben (Spencer and Shuster) who were 1-2. [All of the five Spencer boys had “B” names: Bayani, Ben, Bill, Boss, and Buddy...but very few knew that those were not their real first names.] Morgan tripled, as expected, and she was joined in that accomplishment by her sister Lauren, Carson Taylor, Ian Virga, Olivia Miller, and that 8-under phenom Erik Staggs. Other winners were Nick Wesley, Aidan Pak, Lilan Miller, Emerson Miller, Daryn Lam, and Riley Geary. The Dolphins swept the final three relays and finished with a 309-234 victory. There was little time to celebrate for Terry, however, when she saw the prior week results and times of Smallwood Village, the next opponent. The long ride to Waldorf was once again even more difficult on the way home. SBP had run into an SVA buzz saw. Only Morgan and Ian Virga tripled. She set a team record for 15-18 fly, and he, by his win in IM, kept SVA from sweeping the IM events. The Dolphins lost 310-265. The team didn't know at that point that it would be significantly different from then on.
The Dolphins hosted the Russet Sharks on June 28, remembering how tight their meeting was a year earlier. Morgan was joined by a host of triple winners that day, including her sister Lauren, Evan Bearman, Erik Staggs, and Olivia Miller. Whatever event the Dolphins didn't win, they came in second and third. The team led all the way, for a 317-259 victory. Next up, Greenbelt at home in what turned out to be a meet very similar to the contest against RST. This time, Morgan's three-pack also included Ian Virga, Emerson Miller, and Erik Staggs. Final result: SBP 313 GM 263. In a very rare fourth home meet, the Dolphins entertained, for the first time, the Roger Carter Seals from Howard County. The psych sheet looked good, and Terry was confident following a good practice week. The Hill sisters won seven events, with Morgan setting team and pool records in 15-18 fly. Thirteen other Dolphins won events, including triples by Olivia, Emerson, and Ian, and doubles by Nadira Roberts, Carson Taylor, Emma Bearman, and Riley Geary. A highlight was Melati Maupin's win in 11-12 fly. Final score: SBP 329 RCS 247.
This was the first time that the Dolphins had scored over 300 points in four meets since 1989. Terry said that it must have been the water in their home pool. She may have been correct, but what she didn't know was that because of the unusual home schedule, it was also the first time everthat the team scored over 300 points in four homemeets in a single season.
Chapter Sixteen – Many New Faces and A Farewell to a Dolphin Great
After the 2014 season, the team lost a couple of great swimmers in Nick Wesley and Lilan Miller, although Lilan never really left the pool decks. Not just a great swimmer, Lilan had been Terry's dependable right hand, and she would continue as an assistant coach for years to come.
The Dolphins would open the 2015 season at home against Hawthorne Country Club, a team that had greatly improved since SBP last swam against them in 1997. HCC had soared from Division D and were headed for the top of the league. How strong was HCC? Consider that Morgan's triple kept HCC from sweeping the fly, free, and IM events. Actually, she was partly assisted in her endeavors by little phenom 8-under Tessa Miller, who also tripled. Except for yet another great swim by Lucas Moeller in 8-under backstroke, only seven other events were won by Dolphins. HCC took that long ride home to LaPlata victorious 303.5 – 273.5. It was time for SBP to re-group.
On June 27, the team traveled to Ft. Washington to begin what would be the first of four great weeks of swimming. It rained throughout the entire meet, but the Dolphins won easily, 309-265. Morgan's usual triples were matched by Asa Virga and Evan Bearman. Wyatt Kent won the 9-10 backstroke, a first for him; and newcomer Alana Siegfried (cousin of current Dolphin Morgan Dobbins and graduate Collin Dobbins) won the 8-under breaststroke event. Ten other Dolphins were victors in thirteen events. A week later, however, Greenbelt would prove to be a much harder team to beat. But beat them SBP did, 293-286, and only because the team scored enough points in the final relays to hang on. This time Piper Yockelson joined Morgan, Asa, and Evan as a triple winner.
King's Landing joined PMSL in 2010 in Division G and in five years had swum itself up to Division B. Were they that good? It took a trip all the way to Huntingtown to find out that they were not—at least not as good as SBP. It was the third straight meet on the road, and yet another meet in a total downpour, and Morgan set pool records in every one of those pools. She, Evan, both Virga boys, Carson Taylor and Daryn Lam tripled. Final score: SBP 326-KLS 253. The Dolphins ended the dual meet season at home with a 301-278 victory over Adelphi. Morgan tripled and set team and pool records in the 15-18 fly and free events. Carson tripled and set team and pool records in 11-12 breaststroke. Asa and Piper were triple winners as well.
SBP hosted Divisionals and finished third. Morgan tripled and lowered her team and pool records in fly. Carson lowered his 11-12 team and pool breaststroke records. Asa was a double winner. Olivia Miller won an event, and the girls 200 medley relay team was also victorious. A week later at All-Stars, Carson lowered his 11-12 breaststroke record to the current 35.93 time. It was a tough season, but one with lots of promise, although the Dolphins would be saying goodbye to Emma Bearman and Sky Geary.
In 2016, the team was seeded third behind Pointer Ridge and Smallwood Village. From the previous year's results, Coach Terry figured that the Dolphins could hold their own with PR, but SVA was loaded and stronger than ever. There were some new faces on the team, and those little kids looked pretty good going into the first meet at home with King's Landing. Erik Staggs teamed up with Erin Sanchez for a 9-10 duo that won three events each. Evan Bearman, Ian Virga, and Daryn Lam also tripled. And, of course, Morgan did too, and set the current team record for girls’ 15-18 backstroke at 33.21. The Dolphins had it pretty easy, winning 309-264. But it was a different story the next week at home against MVP. Despite triple wins by Morgan, Carson, Daryn, Ian, and Erik, MVP forged ahead in backstroke, winning nine of ten events. The Dolphins could never catch up, losing 297-275.
Then Smallwood Village came to visit. It wasn't enough that the Dolphins had to have top performances to have any change, the team would be without the swimming prowess of Morgan Hill. Where was she? Only in Eugene, Oregon competing in the U.S. Olympic trials, the first and only Dolphin to so qualify. Erin Sanchez and Daryn Lam tripled, and little Maia Antonio won two 8-under events. But SVA won nine of ten backstroke events, and only Daryn kept SVA from sweeping the IM events. But SVA did sweep the relays, for a 326-251 victory over the Dolphins.
The final two meets, against Pointer Ridge and Hawthorne, were on the road, and Terry was right about the team's ability to beat PR. Triples by Morgan (she's back!), Erik, Daryn, Carson, Evan, Olivia, and little Maia led the way. Even Elaine Canales got into the scoring bunch with her first team win. The Dolphins took four of the five relays for a 318-257 victory. The long trip to La Plata the next week produced a different result. The Hawthorne Gators were stronger than the team that opened the SBP season a year before. Morgan and Erik were the only triple winners, but two little 8-unders were a highlight pair for the team: Caroline Kent (breaststroke) and Claire Purdy (backstroke) were winners. Final score HCC 306-SBP 272.
Once again, SBP hosted Divisionals, finishing third behind MVP and HCC. It was a venue for the Morgan show and she didn't disappoint. Her triple included team and pool records in fly and free. Other Dolphins who won that day were Evan Bearman (fly), Erik Staggs (free and breast), Ian Virga (back), Daryn Lam (breast), and Riley Geary (breast). A near end-of-meet highlight for the team was the successful boys’ graduated 200-meter freestyle relay (Erik, Ian, Carson, and Evan).
MVP and Smallwood Village were the top seeds on the 2017 schedule. For the fifth-seeded Dolphins, it appeared that the results would be similar to those of the previous year. King's Landing looked beatable, as did BBT, which had dropped from Division A and replaced Pointer Ridge. But third seed Hawthorne was stronger, could possibly challenge the two top seeds, and was the Dolphin's first meet.
Swimming at home was not much help, as HCC won five of the six fly events, eight of the ten freestyle events, and eight of ten breaststroke events. The Dolphins recovered considerably in the backstroke events, where Morgan was joined by winners Asa Virga, Camille Bearman, Emerson Miller, and Tessa Miller. The most notable backstroke wins, however, were by little 8-under Gracie Foraker and newcomer 15-18 Brenda Tamara-Quinteros, their first A meet wins. Again, it was only Morgan's third win that kept HCC from sweeping the IMs. HCC 322-SBP 256.
The next week, the team traveled to DC where the number-one seed confirmed its ranking. MVP took 33 of the 49 events, sweeping the final relays in so doing. Morgan, Carson, and Daryn were triple winners. Carson set the current 13-14 team breaststroke record. Tyler Kominski won his first A meet event in 8-under free, and his backstroke victory kept MVP from sweeping that stroke. MVP 324-SBP 255.
The next two weeks would be critical if the team was to salvage the season. First up was BBT at home on July 1. The Bowie team proved to be just the tonic that the team needed. The Dolphins took 39 of 49 events and won easily, 327-250. Nineteen Dolphins were winners that day. There were six triple winners. Morgan and Carson were joined by Erin Sanchez, Asa Virga, Evan Bearman, and that little 8-under sparkplug Tyler Kominski. Other winners were Sarah and Aaron Siegle, Tessa Miller, Emerson Miller, Erik Staggs, Caroline Kent, Maia Antonio, Daryn Lam, Caelin Hoye, Riley Geary, Lucas Moeller, and Brenda Tamara-Quinteros.
Terry saw some rekindled fire in her troops, and with a very good week of practice she felt they were ready for the long trip to Huntingtown to take on King's Landing. Perhaps a good sign...it wasn't raining. Once again nineteen Dolphins were winners. Morgan, Carson, and Daryn tripled. Third-year veteran Sydney Ford got her first A meet win in 11-12 breaststroke. Other winners were Lauren and Carrie Hill, Erik Staggs, Tessa and Emerson Miller, Evan and Josh Bearman, Evan Pak, Tyler Kominski, Aaron and Sarah Siegle, Lucas Moeller, Riley Geary, Asa and Ian Virga. The Dolphins swept the final relays and won 334-238.
The dual meet season would end in Waldorf at Smallwood Village. But the number-two seed had not been swimming that well in past meets because it was missing swimmers. Still, SVA had three swimmers who were as consistent triple winners as Morgan: Lawrence Sapp, Clayton Jameson, and Mallory Thompson. The Dolphins swam well, winning three more events than SVA. The team led after fly, a highlight being Shane Kent's first A meet win in the first fly event. But SVA went ahead after free and increased that lead slightly after breaststroke and slightly more again after backstroke. Although SBP took four of the six IMs, the team never got close enough to make the relays matter. SVA won, 301-278. Morgan, Carson, Daryn, Tessa, and Tyler were triple winners. Morgan's win in freestyle was the current 15-18 team record of 58.25.
SBP hosted Divisionals again and swam well, finishing third. Morgan and Carson were triple winners, and young David Dorsey won the 8-under backstroke event.
In 2017, Morgan Hill completed her Dolphin career. She came from that little five-year-old who stood on the pool's edge in her first A meet and refused to enter the water at the start of freestyle to become the all-time best Dolphins female swimmer. Before the 2018 season would begin, she would hold PMSL records in 13-14 fly, 13-14 free, 15-18 fly, and 15-18 free. In her final four years, she tripled in just about every meet she swam, not only at home but on the road, setting pool records at GM, PR, HCC, FW, and KLS. During that time she had three perfect seasons, missing only one in 2016 because of Olympic trials. In her Dolphin career, Morgan set 58 team and pool records. Her name graces many plaques in the team's trophy case and on the record board as well.
[Errata: Before we begin the penultimate chapter, we will correct a glaring error in Chapter Sixteen. Morgan Hill did compete in the Olympic swimming trials in 2016, but she did so in Omaha, Nebraska not in Eugene, Oregon, where track and field event competitions were held. She was terrific, but not in shot and discus.]
As the 2018 season began, it marked the fiftieth year of SBP kids in the water, although the team did not begin swimming competitively until 1969. More than ever, Coach Terry wanted this year to be successful, and despite the loss of Morgan, she knew it could be because a strong nucleus of talent was evenly spread out through most of the age groups. Janie Spelman, Gracie Foraker, and Tyler Kominski (8/under), David Dorsey and Maia Antonio (9-10), Erik Staggs and Lucas Moeller (11-12), Daryn Lam, Lauren Hill, the Virga brothers, Evan Pak, and Wyatt Kent (13-14), Brenda Tamara-Quinteros, Riley Geary, and Carson Taylor (15-18) had already established themselves from the previous year as Dolphin scorers. But Terry knew there would be surprises, and perhaps they would come with new swimmers at other than the 8-under age group. She had no idea how much those 13-14 boys would please her. So, as she prepared her troops for the 2018 season, Terry had only that one perennial concern: Who of the better swimmers on the other teams would show up to swim? She would find out in the first three meets, as the Dolphins would be swimming against the three strongest teams in Division B.
SBP opened the season at home against Smallwood Village, a team as strong as ever and led by Lawrence Sapp, a nemesis of the Dolphins. Although the team lost 295-278, it was not a blowout and several Dolphins swam up to or surpassed early expectations. Erik, Daryn, and Tyler were triple winners. Carson, Maia, Brenda, Ian, and Christian Jenkins were double winners. Sarah Siegle, Olivia Miller, Lucas Moeller, and Evan Pak also won events.
The second of three home meets in a row matched SBP with MVP. Usually the DC team was strong, but it had lost a few of its top swimmers, and then again, who would show up? The Dolphins won both medley relays to begin the meet and never looked back on their way to a 309-269 victory, with a quintet of triples: Erik, Daryn, Brenda, Carson, and Tyler. Christian and Ian were double winners, and Lizett Inga, Josh Bearman, David Dorsey, Sarah Siegle, Lucas Moeller, and Erin Sanchez also won events.
Whitehall visited SBP on the last day of June. It was a reunion of two of the league's oldest friends: Terry and WPT coach Teri Hayburn (nee Messenger) who swam for BSR. Top swimmer Annie Hayburn had graduated, but the Hayburn boys (Patrick, Joseph, Jimmy, and Luke) were present and very much a factor in WPT's 309-269 win. Three Hayburns set five pool records in fly, free, and back that day. Erik and Daryn tripled for the Dolphins.
Terry knew that the team had a good chance to rebound against the Russet Sharks the next week, and the Dolphins did not disappoint her. SBP again took both medley relays, setting the pace for a 312-257 win. The team won only one more event than RST, but the keys to victory were the one-two finishes in 12 of 16 events for a 40-point overall advantage. Erik, Brenda and Tyler were triple winners. The team got double victories from Carson, Daryn, Josh, Maia, and Christian. Claire Purdy, Lucas Moeller, and Erin Sanchez also were winners.
It came down to the final meet at Montpelier to determine whether the dual meet season would be a success. At that point, it looked good, in that MC had lost to teams that SBP had beaten. Terry's psych sheet had the Dolphins by 30, but she knew it had to be decided in the water, not on paper. What she didn't know was what the 13-14 boys had in store for her. The meet went much as expected. Daryn, Erik, and Tyler tripled. Maia and Carson doubled, as did David Dorsey and Erin Sanchez. Riley, Ian, Brenda, and Lucas won events, as did Zachary Stone and Graham Wick. We may never know what motivated the 13-14 boys that day, but a check through records, even those during the famous streak, evidenced nothing that compared to their performance. In butterfly, they were 2, 3, 4 and 5. In freestyle, they were 1, 2, 3, 4. In breaststroke, they were 2, 3, and 4. In backstroke, they were 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Then came the coup de grace for MC, when SBP’s 13-14 boys swept both heats of IM, 1,2,3,4,5, and 6. Who were those super heroes? The meet results identified both Virga brothers, Michael Fernandes, Christian Jenkins, Wyatt Kent, Joey Moeller, Evan Pak, and Aaron Siegle. Final score, SBP 314-MC 264. Terry didn't have trouble seeding Divisional events. But that's for another chapter.
Chapter Eighteen – ...and in conclusion
On July 21, the Dolphins traveled back to Montpelier to finish the 2018 season at Divisionals. It was the first year since 2012 that SBP did not host the meet. But Montpelier was like visiting a relative...same builder, similar homes, similar pool. The team had done very well at MC the week before and was hoping for a third place finish at worst. They would be meeting that Hayburn crew from Whitehall again, so during the week leading up to Divisionals, Terry worked the swimmers who would be competing very hard.
The Dolphins appeared to be off to a good start. The girls 200 medley relay came in second; and Erik, Daryn, and Brenda had all won their events in fly. Eric and Tyler were successful in free. Tyler’s time closed in on a team record, but Erik's performance topped a very successful season. He broke Paul Long's 34-year-old 11-12 freestyle record with a time of 27.64. It was also an MC pool record. But Whitehall took a number of freestyle events. Jimmy Hayburn, who had lowered his league record in fly, set a pool record in winning free. His brother, Joseph, did even better; he lowered his league record freestyle time. Carson and Tyler were winners in breaststroke, but the Russet team took most of those events. Whitehall won most of the backstroke events. Even little Luke Hayburn beat out Tyler in a judges' decision, although Ty had the lower time. Daryn won her IM event, and Erik won his as well, completing a triple in so doing. A third place for the girls’ graduated relay was the best the team could do in the final relays. Whitehall was the runaway winner of Divisionals. MVP was second. The Dolphins finished fourth, seven points behind Smallwood Village, and considerably ahead of Russet and host Montpelier.
As usual, many Dolphins qualified for All-Stars, which features the top swimmers in the league. All of the Hayburns from WPT would of course be there with the chance to lower their league records. In recent years, Morgan Hill was always the featured SBP entry, but for 2018, the team had at least two swimmers who were seeded to win events, Tyler Kominski and Erik Staggs. Tyler didn't disappoint; he lowered his first place seed time and won the 8-under freestyle. He also had two second-place finishes. Erik, however, carried the day for the team. During the season, Erik never had much competition. It was only the clock that he had to contend with each week, but he won that battle by consistently lowering his times. Now he was facing the best the league had to offer in the 11-12 age group. He won the fly event, and his time (31.61) broke the team record set by Paul Long in 1983. He won the freestyle event, lowering his own record time of the week before to 27.60. In his final event, the IM, he came in second, but his time of 1:11.60 was a new team record. By setting three records in the All-Star meet, Erik accomplished a feat that had never been accomplished before in the history of the team. The swimmer who beat him, Roger Zhu of the Roger Carter Seals, set a new league record of 1:08.61. As expected, Joseph Hayburn of WPT, lowered all his league 13-14 records: 27.04 in fly, 25.31 in free, and 27.31 in backstroke. Other league record setters were Jasmine Barry, TP, 34.41 in 15-18 breaststroke, and Ryan Mathis, Kingfish, 26.52 in 15-18 backstroke.
2018 was certainly not the most successful year in the history of this team, but it will always be remembered as one of the most exciting, unpredictable, and satisfying not only for coaches, swimmers, and parents but for anyone else who experienced it. It also served as a harbinger of some great years to come, featuring a lot of spirit-filled, talented, and highly motivated swimmers.
The following is provided to augment the fifty-year history of the Strathmore Bel Pre Dolphins Swim Team. Information is accurate to the extent that records exist. Additional records may exist; readers are encouraged to share any information they might have. Please notify SBP Swim Team Association board members if you have additional historical information about the team.
SBP Coaches – 1969 to Present
|1969||Bill Johnson||Jack Gallogly|
|1970-71||Bill Snyder||no record|
|1972||Pam Dickson||Tony Sintetos|
Dolphins join Prince-Mont Swim League
|1973||Tony Sintetos||no record|
|1974||Ron Greenbaum||no record|
|1975||Martha Reed||Ivy Eckles|
|1976-77||Lisa Papa||Ivy Eckles|
|1978-80||Tim Clements||Lee Shackelford, Jim Hogan, Nelson Pingitore|
|1981||Mark McDowell||Kirk Wood|
|1982||Kirk Wood||Ann Tucker, Steve Kutner|
|1983||Bob Lockerby||Scott Martinson|
|1984||Scott Martinson||Kevin Corcoran|
|1985||Kevin Corcoran||Lisa Collins|
|1986||Donna Gregory||Terry Kominski|
|1987||Doug Wasson||Terry Kominski|
1988 Mike Clesner, Terry Kominski (co-coaches)
|1989||John Michael Griesbauer||Conroy Zien|
|1990-92||Ben Radloff||Jen May, Cory Oppenheim, Greg Cohen|
In 1992, the team added the position of Developmental Coach. The first Developmental Coach was Ruth Kominski. Terry Kominski has been head coach since 1993. Her assistants have included:
|Years||Assistant Coach||Developmental Coach|
|1993-94||Kerry Shahan||Susan LaFond|
|1995-96||Susan LaFond||Erin McKenna|
|1997-98||Susan LaFond||Phil Kominski|
|1999||Susan LaFond||Janice Horvath|
|2000||Susan LaFond||Shannon Miller|
|2001-02||J. Edwards||Amy Kominski|
|2003||Amy Kominski||Kimberly Miller|
|2004-05||Kyle Wisor||Christina Bogasky|
|2006-07||Sarah Bechtol||Christina Bogasky, Erica Bechtol|
|2008||Sarah Bechtol||Erica Bechtol|
|2009||Sarah Bechtol||Julie Pinero, Joanna Ladas|
|2010||Sarah Bechtol||Joanna Ladas, Laura Entwisle|
|2011||Laura Entwisle||Joanna Ladas, Lilan Miller, Sarah Ruppert|
|2012||Reed Brown||Lilan Miller, Collin Dobbins, Nick Wesley|
|2013||Reed Brown||Lilan Miller, Collin Dobbins, Nick Wesley|
|2014||Lilan Miller||Emma Bearman, Kayla Geary, Winston Miller|
|2015||Lilan Miller||Emma Bearman, Kayla Geary, Winston Miller|
|2016||Lilan Miller||Kayla Geary. Winston Miller, Sarah Staggs|
|2017||Lilan Miller||Riley Geary, Sarah Staggs, Olivia Miller|
|2018||Lilan Miller||Riley Geary, Sarah Staggs, Olivia Miller, Devon Scholz|
High Point Swimmers of the Year
|1972||Robin Friedman||Mary Lou Henkel|
|1973||David Gallogly||Karen Johnson|
|1974||David Gallogly||Karen Johnson|
|1975||Scott Martinson||Eileen Gallogly|
|1976||Kevin Corcoran||Teri Rosensweig|
|1977||Scott Martinson||Melinda Dieter|
|1978||Scott Martinson||Christy Dieter|
|1979||Scott Martinson||Jackie Gallogly|
|1980||Jeremy Smith||Terry Kominski|
|1981||Alistair Smith||Terry Kominski, Meredith Smith|
|1982||Scott Martinson, Jeremy Smith||Terry Kominski|
|1983||Paul Long||Meredith Smith|
|1984||Paul Long||Terry Long|
|1985||Russell Kominski||Terry Kominski, Meredith Smith, Jill Martinson|
|1986||Russell Kominski, Jeff Griesbauer||Ruth Kominski|
|1987||Philip Kominski||Jojo Rogers|
|1988||Peder Skoog||Ruth Kominski|
|1989||Jeff Griesbauer, Ryan Coyle||Ruth Kominski|
|1990||Jeff Griesbauer||Ruth Kominski|
|1991||Philip Kominski||Ruth Kominski|
|1992||Donnie Williams||Ruth Kominski|
|1993||Philip Kominski||Beth Coyle|
|1994||Ryan Coyle||Beth Coyle|
|1995||Justin Praske||Alina Andrews|
|1996||Donnie Williams||Erica Bechtol|
|1997||J. Edwards||Erica Bechtol|
|1998||J. Edwards, Kyle Wisor||Erica Bechtol|
|1999||Kyle Wisor||Erica Bechtol|
|2000||Kyle Wisor||Alina Andrews|
|2001||Kyle Wisor||Erica Bechtol|
|2002||Kyle Wisor||Erica Bechtol|
|2003||Kyle Wisor||Erica Bechtol|
|2004||Kyle Wisor||Lilan Miller|
|2005||Andrew McGehee||Erica Bechtol|
|2006||Winston Miller||Laura McGehee|
|2007||Andrew McGehee||Morgan Hill|
|2008||Andrew McGehee||Morgan Hill|
|2009||Andrew McGehee, Nick Wesley||Lilan Miller|
|2010||Nick Wesley||Morgan Hill|
|2011||Mark Kessler||Morgan Hill|
|2012||Nick Wesley||Nicole Szabo|
|2013||Asa Virga||Morgan Hill|
|2014||Ian Virga||Lauren Hill, Olivia Miller|
|2015||Asa Virga||Morgan Hill|
|2016||Erik Staggs||Daryn Lam|
|2017||Carson Taylor||Morgan Hill|
|2018||Erik Staggs||Daryn Lam|
The Most Valuable Dolphin Award
Periodically, the coaches make this award to a swimmer who during a season not only contributed considerable wins and/or points, but manifested outstanding leadership and character. When she was swimming, Terry Kominski was the inspiration for this award and the first recipient (in 1981). Since then, the award has been presented to:
The Katy Dorr Inspiration Award
This award is presented to the member of the swim team who during the season has exemplified the courage to “seize the day.” Those considered for this award are usually swimmers who are challenged by incapacity or events beyond those that swimmers would ordinarily encounter. Originally, the award was a small individual plaque with the swimmer’s name, but it is now one of the coaches’ trophies. The recipient's name is also inscribed on a large plaque that hangs in the team trophy case.
To date, the recipients of this award have been:
|Daniel Immerman||1993, 1999|
The Kenwood Relays
The Kenwood Relays were a prestigious relay swimming event held yearly on the Fourth of July at the Kenwood Country Club in Bethesda. Only seven swim teams, representing seven swim leagues in the metropolitan Washington area, were invited to compete against the team from Kenwood CC, which represented the Montgomery County country club league. The teams that competed were the cream of the crop and usually the champion from the top division in each league. In the 1980s, this was always the SBP Dolphins from PMSL. The first year the Dolphins competed was 1984, well into the streak, but 1983 was the first A Division championship. That made the team an automatic invite from the folks at Kenwood. The Dolphin relay teams were great and finished second to Kenwood and ahead of teams from three Maryland counties and three Virginia counties. It was an automatic invite for the following year. The Dolphins continued to participate until 1992, when the team had to decline the invitation because the relays were scheduled the day of a regular season meet at Takoma Park. 1993 was the last year the Dolphins accepted an invitation to the relays. In more recent years, the Fourth of July has been reserved for the team's own occasion...the Memorial Meet.
The Memorial Meet
The idea of a Memorial Meet originated with Coach Terry and her sister Kathy, a former Dolphin. Shortly after their mother died of ovarian cancer in January 1998, they realized that she was not the only Dolphin parent (or swimmer, for that matter) who had recently died. Terry and Kathy planned the meet to honor those who died, raise donations for organizations fighting diseases and disabilities, and to be different from other special swim meets held during the swimming season in that each event would only be 25 meters – one length across the pool. They submitted their idea to the Dolphins Parents Club officers and officers of the BPRA. Both organizations approved. Those remembered in that first Memorial Meet were parents John Bogle, Jack Gallogly, Neal Griff, Barry Katz, Fran Kominski, Al Ritter, and Jim Schwab; and swimmers Katy Dorr and Christy Lynch. The first meet was a success. Swimmers from around the area competed, as well as many Dolphin parents and swimmers. Some of the older entries were Masters’ swimmers and some...well some were just able to make it across the pool. Every event winner automatically set a record, and the meet raised over $1,100 in donations. The Memorial Meet has continually raised over $1,000 each year and on its twentieth anniversary (2018), a record $2,510 was donated. The meet begins at 9 a.m. on the Fourth of July and concludes in plenty of time for everyone to participate in the annual community parade and holiday festivities on the pool grounds.
...And a Few Other Meets
It seemed like during the late '70s and throughout the '80's a lot of teams in PMSL held special event meets. Perhaps the most interesting was the Marlton Swim Team's Odd Age Meet. Held on a Sunday early in the season, the meet followed the usual sequence of stroke events but the age groups were 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18. The Dolphins entered this meet a couple of times and won it. The trophy is in the SBP trophy case. The Cheverly Relays, of course, were covered by Chapter Five. SBP had its Invitational Developmental Meet for a few years in the 1980's. All teams in PMSL were invited, but only the first five to respond would compete with Dolphin swimmers. The meet allowed swimmers who were ineligible to compete in PMSL meets an opportunity to compete in a regular swim meet format against swimmers of comparable skill. It was held in early August.
The Dolphin Dispatch
The Dolphin Dispatch was a newsletter by which the officers of the SBP Dolphins Parents Club communicated with swim team parents and swimmers during the off-season. Its primary purpose was to inform, but it also served as a vehicle for expression and response. In the spring, it carried the usual information regarding registration, the volunteer sign up, and the meet schedule and other events. During the winter months, it carried news of Dolphin swimmers in high school meets, as well as the successes of alumni swimming at the college level. Its masthead featured the Dolphins logo, which in winter months added a warm hat, scarf, and fin mitten. Like some issues of The Bugle, paper copies were hand-delivered to the homes of Dolphin parents in the community. TheDolphin Dispatch was published from October 1985 to May 2009, at which time it and its publisher became “dinosaurs” in a digital age, and it gave way to the Internet and email communication.
The Back Seat Driver Award
Aside from the obvious misnomer of this award, it was intended to recognize those parents who were not officers of the Parents Club who toiled behind the scenes on behalf of the team. The award was established in the 1980s, was awarded to a parent whose named was inscribed on a plaque in the trophy case. Any consideration of a recipient for the award was discontinued several years ago for two reasons. First, most of the early awardees preferred not to be recognized because working behind the scenes was the motivator for what they were doing. But most important in what led to the award's discontinuance was the fact that just about every parent, not an officer, was doing something beneficial for the team “right up front.” There was no behind the scenes activity...at least none that was making any positive contribution. In the more recent years, any recognition would be for activity from which the team indirectly benefited, such as the continuous endeavors by the BPRA and the support of non-swim team families in the community. And there is no award for that. Perhaps there should be.
The Legend of Syl Miniter
Legend has it that at home meets he would be awakened by a teammate just minutes before his events and he would rush a few blocks to the pool, get there just in time to enter the water, and win the race...often setting a record or lowering his own. Like most legends there are elements of truth in the one about Syl Miniter. Dolphin parents and swimmers have only to look in the record book to see that his records in 13-14 and 15-18 backstroke events were real and those record times stood for many years before they were lowered. More than a decade after Syl graduated and during the famous streak, he visited the area and watched a home meet. He was impressed with what he saw and was honored when his presence was acknowledged. During the following winter he contacted Herb Martinson to issue a challenge to the next year's team. “Pick your five best backstrokers, male or female, and I will race them for 50 meters. I will give the team $200 for each one who beats me.” Either Syl stayed in great shape or a new legend was about to be born. Syl beat two Dolphins that day, but he gave the entire $1,000 to the team. He explained that he had already counted on beating no one, but if you were there you knew that there was truly a very generous nature in his decision. The next year he changed the challenge. He and Scott Martinson (two great names in the record book) would put together 200 meter medley relay teams of alumni to compete against teams made up of current Dolphins. One only has to read those previous chapters covering the Dolphin teams of the late 1980's to guess who won that challenge. But once again, Syl's generosity ignored the outcome. In fact, that generosity has continued for many years even when the team was not as powerful. He truly is a new legend in his own time.