McDonogh didn't set seven meet records like it did last year. But then again, the Eagles didn't need to. Strong times by its four fastest swimmers along with solid all-around depth allowed McDonogh to run away with its second straight outright Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland swimming championship at UMBC's Retriever Activities Center.
"We swam well enough to win, but honestly we probably didn't have a great meet," McDonogh co-coach Scott Ward said. "But anytime you win, you're happy. The kids have worked hard and we've had a really good year, and we have good captain leadership. Overall, we're happy."
The Eagles, who swept all 11 events, finished with 462.5 points - more than 100 points ahead of second-place Mount de Sales (362) and almost 150 points ahead of third-place Notre Dame Prep, which is the team McDonogh beat to win the title last year.
Ward admits that it was almost impossible to replicate what the team did last year and that the bar was set very high at last year's championships, where the Eagles broke more than half of the event's records.
"We knew last year was a special year," he said. "I think there was a lot more hype heading into last year and that may explain why we didn't swim quite as fast this year."
Junior Anne-Marie Botek still managed to trump her performance from last year, breaking two of her records - the 100-yard butterfly (56.18 seconds) and the 100-yard backstroke (57.89).
"It felt good obviously, but I think that its mostly the support that I get from everybody out there," Botek said of her two record-setting swims. "The atmosphere is so loud that it really helps."
But Botek said she takes more pride in the team's overall championship more than in her own personal accomplishments.
"It feels amazing, because all of our girls worked their butts off," she said. "We're like a family and it's so special."
In addition to Botek, three other Eagles also won two events each. Senior Claire Hutchinson won both the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 1.45 seconds) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.17), while junior Kelly Peloquin took first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.86) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:08.17).
Sophomore Kat McIntosh won both the 100-yard freestyle (55.21) and the 50-yard freestyle (25.47).
However, one of the biggest surprises of the day had nothing to with McDonogh. Mount de Sales, which came into the event a bit of an underdog, upset NDP for the second time this season to take second place.
"Last year we finished third for the first time. Before that, we never finished higher than fourth and we beat a team today by 50 that we lost to by 150 last year," Sailors coach John Clark said. "So we're definitely working our way up. I didn't think anybody was going to beat McDonogh, to be honest with you, but I wanted to be competitive."