For MSA, a last wave goodbye

February 16, 1994|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

She swept in from an international meet in Paris to swim against the boys in 1976, the first year girls were allowed in the Maryland Scholastic Association Championships.

Wendy Weinberg, a Friends School senior who later that year won an Olympic bronze medal in the 800-meter freestyle, plunged in that night with the MSA's best 500-yard freestylers: Calvert Hall's Shawn Dooley and Loyola's Kevin Shaughness.

And nearly beat them.

If the race had been longer, say an 800, her specialty, she probably would have. Dooley won in 4 minutes, 48 seconds, followed by Shaughness in 4:56 and, closing fast, Weinberg in 4:58.

"I was scared," Shaughness said. "I sure didn't want her to beat me."

The memories come tumbling back as the 70th and last MSA Championships unfold tonight at 7 at Johns Hopkins. With the MSA dissolving, the private schools are forming a new league. The few Baltimore public schools that have swimming are

expected to continue dual-meet competition next year.

An early MSA swimming star was Ray Thompson, who went from Poly, where he was the national scholastic 50-yard freestyle champion in 1929, to Navy and then to the 1932 Olympics, where he was sixth in the 100-meter freestyle.

City's Jimmy Russell launched a tradition of fine MSA divers by winning three MSA titles from 1937 to 1939. Forty years later, Larry Caldwell, coached by Russell's daughter, Gail, won the first of his four straight MSA titles for Loyola.

In quick succession came Loyola's John Sharkey and Mike Tamberino, Gilman's Jamie Edwards and Loyola's John Soulakis, MSA champions all.

For one season, Calvert Hall coach Reds Hucht had the pleasure of Larry Barbiere's company. Fourth in the 100-meter backstroke in the 1968 Olympics, Barbiere transferred here with his family and spent his final high school year wiping out MSA records.

In 1975, also crossing the MSA swimming horizon like a meteor, came Bob Fowler, a transfer from Louisville, Ky. He, too, stayed only a year, but what a year: In a glittering sophomore season, he lost only one MSA race and captured two events in the championship meet.

In 1980, Loyola won the mythical National Prep Championship with an armada featuring Ron Maddox, Pat Kennedy, Dave DeGruchy and Ramon Ferrer. Maddox was suspended by Murray Stephens for part of the season for missing practices and lesser sins, but was given a reprieve for the MSA Championships.

Maddox responded by ripping off a national prep record of 51.36 seconds in the 100 backstroke and then went back on suspension and missed the Eastern Scholastic Championships the next week.

The most versatile MSA swimmer, perhaps ever and certainly in the 1980s, was Kennedy. Stephens said Kennedy could win any event on the MSA menu, except the 50 and 100 freestyles. In 1984, Kennedy placed eighth in the 200 butterfly at the Olympics.

Mount St. Joseph dominated the MSA in the 1950s and early 1960s, but either Loyola or Calvert Hall has won every year since 1964.

Calvert Hall vs. Loyola. Stephens vs. Hucht. Tonight, that's the -- way it will be one last time under the banner of the MSA.

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