Loyola goes deep to win 11th straight championship

Dons win only four events, but points add up to title

Boys swimming

February 13, 2005|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Another year, another championship for the Loyola swimming team.

The host Dons used their depth to pull away and win their 11th straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association swimming and diving championship last night. Loyola won only four of the 12 events but piled up so many points in other places that the other 10 schools could do little to challenge.

Loyola finished with 682 points, far ahead of second-place Mount St. Joseph. The Gaels (457) edged out McDonogh (428) and Calvert Hall (416) in the battle for the runner-up spot.

The Dons won three relays - 200-yard medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle - while Nick Taylor was the lone individual winner. The senior won the 50 freestyle in 21.43 seconds. But Taylor also took second in the 100 freestyle. McDonogh's Drew Pallace won in 47.76, beating Taylor by .01.

Loyola coach Keith Schertle said before the season that this would be one of his strongest teams. The Dons made Schertle look smart by going 12-0 in the regular season and taking the National Catholic Swimming Championship two weeks ago before winning last night.

"This group is talented, and they weren't always the easiest to work with, but they've pulled it all together," Schertle said. "The team we have this year ... is very talented."

Schertle said the Dons next will focus on the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming Championships at La Salle University in two weeks. He wanted the Dons to look at the MIAA meet as another step to the tough opponents they'll face at La Salle.

Shane Kelsey (second, 200 and 500 freestyle), Keenan Wheeler (third, diving), Chris Happel (third, 100 butterfly), Zach Cooper (third, 100 backstroke) and Jon Brady (third, 100 breaststroke) were the other Dons who finished in the top three and gave Loyola plenty of points.

Senior Kevin Zeiler swam on the victorious 200 freestyle relay team and took fourth in the 50 freestyle. Zeiler came to the school in sixth grade and said that though everyone is used to winning the MIAA championships, they know working hard remains the key.

"You get used to [winning] after a while, but you have to keep doing your best," Zeiler said.

Pallace, Gilman's Connor Wills and Nico Zebley of Friends were the only other individual swimmers who won more than one race. The McDonogh swimmer also captured the 100 butterfly in 51.06 while Zebley won the 200 freestyle (1:42.37) and the 500 freestyle (4:37.77). Wills took the 200 IM in 1:56.00 and won the 100 backstroke (52.25).

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