STAYING THE COURSE: Washington swimming continues dominating

Published 6:28 pm Thursday, January 14, 2016

MICHAEL PRUNKA | DAILY NEWS TAKING A BREATHER: Washington’s Kevin Andrews takes a deep breath after coming up once he finished an event at a December meet.

TAKING A BREATHER: Washington’s Kevin Andrews takes a deep breath after coming up once he finished an event at a December meet.

Washington swimming returned for the New Year last weekend when it hosted Croatan and East Carteret for a meet. The Pam Pack hosts another meet this weekend. The objective in 2016 is no different than it was in 2015. The team simply wants to keep up with the success it has enjoyed so far this season.

The fruitful campaign continued with the boys last weekend. The likes of Kevin Andrews, Mason Beach, AJ Howard and Tony Lovenberg helped carry over momentum after a lengthy holiday layoff.

“Coming back from the holidays, we have to get back into the groove of things,” coach Spencer Pake said. “We hit the water running and we’re getting a lot of yardage right now trying to get in shape.”

The quartet took first place in the 200-yard medley relay. Andrews topped the 200-yard IM and Lovenberg placed third. Howard took first in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Eric Lovenberg finished second in the 100-yard freestyle and Tony took first in the 500-yard event.

The team of Andrews, Howard, Lovenberg and Justin Clark took first place in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Andrews and Clark also took first and second, respectively, in the 100-yard backstroke. Lovenberg led the way in the 100-yard breaststroke, with Beach and Harrison Schmidt also taking third and fourth, respectively.

Clark, Beach and the Lovenberg brothers teamed up to take the 400-yard freestyle relay in the last event, too.

“It’s real big,” Pake said of the team’s start to 2016. “The expectations are high for this team. They’re living up to those expectations. Right now we’re just trying to finish the season strong and go into the postseason with a lot of confidence.

It was another in a string of dominant performances by the boys. It also helped Pake start to get a better idea of who will fit in with what events once the postseason rolls around.

“I’m really happy with where we are as a team. I think we’ve come a long way,” he said. “A lot of swimmers have had a chance to swim different events so we can see where we’re going to place people to have the best run at regionals and going into states.”

Pake is already looking forward to a potential state championship run for Andrews in the backstroke. Tony Lovenberg, Clark and Howard are all standing out in the freestyle events, too.

“We’ve got some freshmen stepping up to the plate in Hodges Tubaugh and Harrison Schmidt,” Pake added. “(We want) to stay the course and keep doing what we’ve been doing all season — swimming hard and giving it their all.”

The girls have had some strong showings, especially in the freestyle events. Rylee Anderson earned second in the 500-yard freestyle. Courtney Richards and Madeline Brodie placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 50-yard freestyle. Tianna Van Cura took fourth in the 100-yard freestyle.

Brodie, Laney Douglas, Van Cura and Anderson placed second in the 200-yard freestyle relay, too.

Beyond those events, Amanda Manning’s backstroke has been strong. She shined with a second-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke.