Congratulations to The Steward School girls swim and dive team, whose hard work and athleticism led them to be named 2022 VISAA D-II State Champions. The meet took place at the Claude Moore Recreation Center in Sterling, Virginia February18-19. These dedicated athletes, who practice at NOVA Aquatics Center, are led by Coach Eric Hopp, who is duly proud of what the team has accomplished.
“These girls have put everything into the sport of swimming and it shows with back-to-back championships,” he said, referring to the girls’ 2020 State Championship win. “This team is the most successful in team history by far and I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’m especially happy to send Erin [Langenburg, a senior] off with a championship after not having a championship meet last year … we would have won that one, too.”
Pooling Their Resources
At the meet, Erin Langenburg ’22 placed second in the 200 individual medley, setting a new school record at 2:05.07 (the previous record was set by Blair Carnes '13 in 2011) and third in the 100 butterfly, earning All-State in both events. Erin’s efforts also earned 33 points for the team. Allie Witdoeckt ’24 placed fourth in the 100 butterfly and second in the 500 freestyle, earning All-State in the 500 and garnering 32 points for the team. Ashley Compton ’24 went to finals in the 200 freestyle and 100 back backstroke, scoring additional points for the team. The relay of Erin, Allie, Ashley, and Bailey Owens ’24 finished fourth in the 4x50 free relay (30 pts.) and fifth in the 4x100 free relay (28 pts.). In all, the Steward team earned an impressive 130 points, with the second Division II school coming in at 71 points.
“The excellence these girls have shown by winning back-to-back championships spreads to other teams, inspiring them to have the same type of performance through motivation, hard work, and great teamwork,” said Director of Athletics Bruce Secrest. "The success of the girls swim and dive team is an extension of the success of the entire athletic program, and every team brings great value to our program."
Champions … and Friends
Erin, who has signed to swim for William & Mary next year, said she feels honored to have represented Steward for the past four years.
“I have learned so much at this school and been blessed with many opportunities … I am so happy that I can contribute to Steward’s legacy of success and excellence. Also, since this is my last time competing for the team, winning states was a bittersweet end to an amazing four years.” Erin, who has been swimming for as long as she can remember, added, “Swimming taught me important life lessons and also introduced me to some of my closest friends.”
Allie said, “This team is such a fun group of people and I have loved getting to know everyone. The best part of being on this team is the memories from getting to travel together.”
Ashley especially enjoys the “feeling of accomplishment after a two-hour practice before school. When I'm swimming I get to clear my mind of all thoughts and only concentrate on swimming.” Coach Hopp, she said, “inspires me to do my best by believing in me no matter the outcome.”