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They turned silver into gold.
The Jefferson Forest swim team donned brand new silver caps for the Seminole championship meet.
When all was said and done, both the boys and the girls also donned the titles of district champions.
Girls - Team Scores
1 Jefferson Forest 143
2 Brookville 141
3 E.C. Glass 123
4 Liberty 46
5 Amherst County 24
6 Heritage 17
Boys - Team Scores
1 Jefferson Forest 138
2 E.C. Glass 118
3 Brookville 93
4 Liberty 71
5 Amherst County 36
6 Heritage 25
While the Cavs were widely expected to repeat as district champs, the girls' team victory was somewhat of a surprise, at least to those not wearing those silver caps.
Jefferson Forest was powered by a pair of double victories in individual competition. Blake Nowakowski, who came in as the heavy favorite in the 200 yard individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, did not disappoint.
While the splashy senior was unable to top his own personal bests in the events, he flat-out creamed the competition. His time of 2:00.33 in the IM was more than 12 seconds ahead of the field.
In the breast, he went 1:01.50, nearly eight seconds better than Liberty's Matthew Thompson, the race runner-up.
Nowakowski, a team captain, seemed happy about the win. "We have a friendly rivalry with Glass," he said. "With Brookville, it's a little more tense. They've been our rival forever."
After Nowakowski graduates, the mantle of team leader may well fall upon the shoulders of Devin Creger, the second double-winner. The sophomore picked up a big win in the 200 free, going 1:52.90, before dominating the grueling 500 yard free. In that race, Creger was four seconds and change above the five-minute mark, but still won by more than 52 seconds.
"The 500 is my specialty, but I still focus on (the 200)," he said. "It's my sprint."
Creger, who made States last year as a freshman, hopes to earn a top-eight finish in both events at the big meet in Christiansburg this year.
Valerie Breslow was the other double-winner, picking up victories in the 50 and 100 freestyle dashes. In the shorter race, she hit a P.R., going 26.77 seconds to edge race favorite Cynthia Beasley, of Glass.
In that race, Breslow's twin sister, Veronica, swam in the slowest heat, as she had no race of record for seeding purposes. Still, she managed to nab fourth place, unpushed, at 27.54.
The Breslow gals squared off in the 100 free, where Valerie churned home in 57.50 seconds, 0.15 seconds ahead of Veronica. "It was fun getting to swim head-to-head in the same meet," said Veronica.
"We want to go to States and place in our relay," added Valerie.
That seems likely, given that the 400 free relay of the Breslows, Alyssa Reed and Casey Wrabley cruised home in 3:53.67 to lock down the final points needed for the team victory.
Speaking of Wrabley and Reed, they each picked up an individual win. Wrabley went 5:37 in the 500 free for the win. By the way, that time would have been good enough for second place in the boys' event.
Reed blitzkrieged the backstroke, going the 100 yards in 1:02.54. Guess what? THAT time, too, would have taken second place in the boys' race.
You go, girls!
Wrabley, Reed Valerie Breslow and Danielle Utz looked strong in the 200 free, edging Brookville with a time of 1:45.25.
The JF guys also picked up a pair of relay wins. The quartet of Jake Richardson, Nowakowski, Creger and Keefer Lindaur opened the meet with a statement win. They took the 200 medley over Glass with a time of 1:46.95.
That same foursome closed out the boys' scoring by romping to victory in the 400 free relay: Their time of 3:38 was 28 seconds faster than Liberty's crew of Isaac Longstreet, Preston Namenek, I.V. King and Thompson.
Liberty's bright light
In addition to anchoring that second-place 400 free relay, Thompson was Liberty's man of the meet.
The senior also swam the butterfly portion of Liberty's fourth-place 200 IM relay.
In individual swims, the big feller took third in the 100 butterfly and second in the breaststroke, behind Nowakowski.
Both Liberty and Jefferson Forest had Conference championships on Tuesday, after press time for this newspaper.