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July 3, 2015

Summer swim enhances high school performances

Photos/Chuck Jackson
Maura Kate O'Hara won the 13-14 girls 50-meter breaststroke Thursday night helping her Fauquier Swim Club team to a 273-point win over visiting Culpeper Swim Club. The rising Kettle Run sophomore qualified for 3A regionals last winter for the Cougars' swim team and hopes this summer's training will take her to the VHSL 4A state championships next winter.
Thomas Cummins won the 15-18 boys 50-breast. A rising sophomore at Fauquier High School and a member of the Falcons' swim team, Cummins hopes to coach swimming after high school and college.
Ethan Phillips, a rising freshman at FHS, wants to use the skills he's learned this summer to make the Falcons' squad this winter. Phillips won the 13-14 boys 50-backstroke Thursday night.
By Chuck Jackson
Sports Editor

Three high school swimmers wanting perfection this coming winter have spent their summer practicing and competing for Fauquier Swim Club.

Thursday night Fauquier High School’s Thomas Cummins and Ethan Phillips and Kettle Run’s Maura Kate O’Hara had impressive showings as the Frogs beat Culpeper Swim Club.

Final score: Fauquier 736, Culpeper Barnstormers 463.

The teams compete in the Tri-County Swim League, a consortium of clubs in Fauquier, Culpeper and Orange counties.

The Frogs currently have a 2-1 record in the summer outdoor league while Culpeper now sits 1-2.

Chestnut Forks, the reigning team and all-star champions, currently lead the competition with one week left in the regular season.

Orange’s team has one loss and Fauquier Springs Country Club, the third county team for swimmers aged four to 18, has yet to win this season.

Phillips and O’Hara swam in their respective boys and girls 13-14 age group while Cummins participated in the boys 15-18 group.

The trio attempted to better their marks – and qualify for the regional championship July 16 and the all-star competition two days later.

To compete in all-stars swimmers must meet or surpass a standard based on an average of the top six times in each event from last year’s meet.

Those swimming in regionals cannot swim any event they’re scheduled to swim for all-stars.

Those swimmers not in all-star competition automatically qualify for regionals.

Phillips, an incoming freshman for the Falcons, scored 32 individual points.

He placed first in the 50-meter backstroke, clocking a time of 43.50 seconds and joined teammates with first-place showing in the 100-freestyle relay (1:01.32).

Phillips also took second place in the 100-free and thirds in both the 50-free and 100-individual medley.

He finished his night with a fourth in the 50-butterfly and 50-breastroke.

Asked whether her son would compete for Fauquier this winter Marille Phillips said, “If I have anything to say about it, he will.”

Later, with mom standing nearby and smiling, Phillips confirmed he would be on the Falcons’ swim squad for the 2015-16 season.

Cummins, who swam for FHS last winter, scored 15 points.

He started swimming competitively at age 7 and said he likes swimming the breaststroke the best with freestyle a close second.

The rising sophomore won the 50-breast with a time of 39.99.

He also swam the second-leg of the Frogs’ 100-medley relay team.

Cummins also scored points with a third in the 100-IM and fifth in the 50-fly.

He added he’s already qualified for all-stars in the breast and 50- and 100-free as well as the 50-fly.

“I think I’ve qualified for the individual medley too,” Cummins said.

In between events Cummins walked the pool deck encouraging younger teammates with words of encouragement and even some pointers while they swam.

“After I graduate high school I want to help coach the team,” Cummins said.

Cummins added he’s gotten a lot of help from FSCC Coach Bob Bashill both during the summer season and in the fall when he competes with the Occoquan Swim Club.

“Coach Bashill has helped all along the way,” Cummins said. “He’s always willing to help with pointers, even this summer when I am competing against his team.”

O’Hara, the lone Cougar on the FSC team and a rising KR sophomore, scored 22.5 points for the Frogs.

Also swimming for eight years the Snow Hill resident won the 50-breast with a time of 46.45.

And swimming the third leg of her team’s 18 and under 100-free relay, O’Hara solidified a second-place team finish (1:06.06).

She also finished in a second-place tie in the 50-free and picked up a third in the 50-fly and a fourth in the 50-back.

O’Hara qualified last winter for the 3A regional swim meet and hopes her summer training will pay off when Kettle Run moves up to 4A competition this upcoming season.

“I am definitely swimming this summer to improve my winter performance,” O’Hara said. “(FSC assistant) Coach (Brittany) Adams has helped me with my technique this summer. (Kettle Run Coach (Angie) Smith helps me with my speed in the pool.”

Adam Hughes, the Frogs’ head swim coach said he has been impressed with his teams’ performance so far this season.

“We’ve increased in numbers since I took over the club team four years ago,” Coach Hughes said. “Last year we had 80 to 90 swimmers and this year we are at 115.”

He added win or lose Tuesday when the team swims at Chestnut Forks, the season has been a success.

“I was very pleased with how hard my swimmers worked to better their strokes tonight,” Coach Hughes said. “I feel that the score reflected their effort. Many of their times showed a vast improvement from the beginning of the season. With that said, there is still work left to be done for next week's meet against Chestnut Forks.

“I'm confident that we will put in the extra effort over the next few days of practice so that we can be proud of our results Tuesday.”

The regional championship will be hosted by FSC and Chestnut Forks hosts all-stars July 18.


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tommycummins · July 19, 2015 at 11:24 am
@jmitch This article is about FCPS high school swimmers. And it's not all about who beats who.
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