When rivals Calvert Hall and Loyola meet in the swimming pool, it's often for more than just bragging rights. In most years, the winner has used the meet as a springboard to the league championship.
And if visiting Loyola's 107-73 win yesterday is any indication, coach Murray Stephens may soon have to make more room in the Dons' trophy case.
Tied at 44 through the first six events, the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association champions pulled away by dominating the distance and freestyle races.
Led by senior Ryan Brannan and sophomores Joe Curreri and Omar Fraser -- who each won twice -- the Dons took first place in every event except for diving.
"[Calvert Hall] had a good meet and swam pretty well," said Stephens. "But in recent years they've concentrated more on the sprints and those kinds of events."
Said longtime Calvert Hall coach Reds Hucht: "We're a little short on the distance side. It went about the way I figured it would go."
The Dons did the bulk of their damage in the distance events, outscoring the Cardinals, 61-29, in races of 200 yards or longer.
Ahead by a slim margin midway through the meet, Loyola extended its lead in the 500 Freestyle, as the trio of John Lurz, Matt Otremba and Joe Taneyhill finished one-two-three.
The Dons then clinched the victory by taking first and third in the 200 free relay, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay.
Loyola swimmers said it all boiled down to training.
"We do a lot of long distance practice and they do mostly sprints," said Sky King, who won the 100 backstroke and took second in the 200 individual medley. "Our coach feels that the distance is more important."
Calvert Hall got solid performances from Kraig Gass, T.J. Apicella and John Braxton, each of whom finished among the top three in two different events.