Notre Dame Prep, long dominant in Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland swimming, has company at the top.
After years of coming up short in the IAAM championships and defeating the Blazers two years in a row in the regular season, McDonogh finally drew even with NDP yesterday.
Notre Dame Prep and McDonogh swam to a 412-412 tie in the championships at UMBC. The tie gave the Blazers nine straight swimming titles, four IAAM championships and five titles in the Catholic League. For McDonogh, the IAAM A Conference regular-season champion, this was its first championship.
"I think it's great that it ended in a tie," said McDonogh coach Scott Ward. "We've been so competitive with NDP [over the years] and they're such a great team."
McDonogh and NDP were neck and neck throughout the meet as they traded the overall lead five times and were tied twice. The Eagles, however, won 10 of the 11 events and broke six meet records.
Heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final event, the Eagles trailed the Blazers 378-372. McDonogh would not have been within striking distance if not for its performances in the 100 breaststroke prior to the final event.
"Going into the breaststroke, we were really worried," Ward said. "We were hopeful that Kelly Peloquin [1 minute, 6.17 seconds] would win, but then we really needed Jackie Lerner and Medley McGuire to step up and get some points."
McDonogh went on to tie the meet as it beat NDP by seven seconds in the 400 relay with a time of 3:40.23. There is a six-point difference in first and second place in the relays.
"It's frustrating, but it's better to have tied than to have lost," said NDP senior Bridget Kimmel. "To tie with McDonogh is an honor because they're such a great team."
Kimmel was the only Blazer to win an event, taking the 100 butterfly in a meet-record 58.16. She barely lost in the 100 backstroke, beaten by McDonogh's Anne-Marie Botek.
It was Notre Dame Prep's depth -- many top-five and top-10 finishes -- that propelled the Blazers to a share of the title.
"Depth has always been a big thing for Notre Dame Prep," Kimmel said.
"McDonogh has some amazing swimmers, but our depth is what keeps us even with them. It definitely showed today."
McDonogh senior Liz Williams had a big day, even though she was recovering from the flu and a trip to the hospital Saturday night after she slipped on a patch of ice in front of her house. She needed a CT scan to make sure she didn't have a concussion.
Illness and trauma aside, she successfully defended her IAAM titles in the 50 free (24.98) and 100 free (55.12) and was a member of the winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:43.54). All three of the times were meet records.
"I was so nervous before all of my races," Williams said. "This is my first day back in the water and I had no idea how I would do."
Eagles sophomore Claire Hutchinson also had a big day, setting meet records in the 200 free (1:55.61) and 500 free (5:02.48). Her time in the 500 made her an All-American in that event.
McDonogh also took first in the 200 medley relay (1:51.53), and Peloquin won the 200 IM (2:12.87).