Pribis repeats as 200, 500 freestyle champ; Concord boys take fifth
Concord's Alaina Pribis swims the 200 yard Freestyle at UNH Sunday afternoon during the NHIAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships. (Karen Bobotas/for the Concord Monitor)
Concord's James Schumacher takes off from the platform for the Butterfly leg of the 200 yard Medley Relay during NHIAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships at UNH Sunday afternoon. (Karen Bobotas/for the Concord Monitor)
DURHAM – Last year, Concord’s Alaina Pribis surprised herself by finishing first in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races as a freshman at the Division I swimming and diving championships. This year, surprise was replaced by nerves and pressure.
“I was pretty nervous,” Pribis said. “I knew there were going to be some girls that were going to be hard to beat. I felt like I needed to do a little bit more.”
Pribis did a lot more, recording her best times of the winter and defending her 200 and 500 titles yesterday at the University of New Hampshire’s Swasey Pool. And she didn’t even look nervous doing it.
“Alaina never comes across as stressed out or overanxious; even today she seemed very comfortable,” Concord Coach Tristan Black-Ingersol said. “I’m sure she felt that nervousness and thought it would be great to win those events again this year, but I didn’t see any of it.”
The Crimson Tide girls’ team tied for 11th place overall with 44 points. Dover took first with 225 followed by Bishop Guertin (177) and Bedford (161).
On the boys’ side, Exeter claimed the D-I title with 271 points. Bishop Guertin (208) was the runner-up and Bedford (172) took third. The Concord boys finished fifth with 126 points, which was at the high end of the coach’s expectations.
“To finish in the top six was sort of a goal for them,” Black-Ingersol said. “And everybody who swam today swam (personal best times), so that was great.”
Senior James Schumacher led the Tide boys, taking second in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 50 free.
“I’m really happy with the 100 fly. I took off like a half a second from my time,” said Schumacher, who finished in 55.49, 1.66 seconds behind Nashua North’s Nathan Gardner. “I guess you can always go out faster, but I felt like I went out as fast as I could, so that was good.”
Schumacher was also part of the fourth-place 200 medley relay team along with Stephen Anderson, Jacob Rhodes and Logan Lamb.
It was an excellent day for Anderson, who missed almost all of last year with health issues, but came back strong this season. He finished sixth in the 50 free and sixth in the 100 breaststroke in addition to his part in the relay team.
“With Stephen in practice, we’ve really been emphasizing getting his stroke tempo faster,” Black-Ingersol said. “He was able to get a feel for that and I think that was one of the reasons he had those improvements today.”
Rhodes, also a senior, finished fifth in the breaststroke and 10th in the 200 free. Lamb, a freshman, took seventh in the 500 free, eighth in the 100 fly and was also part of the fourth-place 200 free relay team with Kevin Hayes, Denys Bowen and Stephen Morgan. Hayes also took 10th in the 100 backstroke.
All of the swimmers had to wait a day for the meet because it was postponed due to the weekend’s weather. Pribis said that extra day, “didn’t really help” her nerves, but she was able to work out the butterflies during the meet’s first event, the 4x200 medley relay, where the Concord team of Kathryn Hochberg, Sarah Smith, Kaelin Willette and Pribis took eighth.
“Once I got up there and dove, all those nerves kind of went away,” Pribis said.
And once she got in the water for the 200, the rest of the field went away. Pribis touched the wall in 1:55.96, well ahead of the second-place finisher, Dover’s Elizabeth Malia (2:00.15).
“That was the first time Alaina has gone under two minutes this high school season,” Black-Ingersol said. “She really dominated that race.”
She did it again in the 500, taking 17 seconds off her seed time to finish in 5:10.16. Again it was Malia in second, this time in 5:21.01.
“I’m really happy with both of those races, it felt awesome,” Pribis said. “As long as the times keep dropping, I’ll be happy.”
(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3371 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)