McDonogh girls swimming coach Scott Ward said this was a season when his team would have to rebuild. Other coaches in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland characterize it as simply reloading.
Despite losing two All-Americans - Anne-Marie Botek and Kelly Peloquin - and four other swimmers to graduation from last season, the Eagles still captured their fourth straight IAAM championship yesterday at UMBC.
McDonogh swimmers had seven first-place finishes in the 11 events for 485 total points and dominated from the beginning. Mount de Sales finished second with 414 points, followed by Notre Dame Prep (372), St. Mary's (229) and Bryn Mawr (226) to round out the A Conference.
"Mount de Sales and NDP are two tremendously talented teams and very deep," Ward said. "We knew coming in that we were going to have to win a great meet, and we were able to do that. The girls responded, and they had 26 out of 27 swims that were lifetime-best performances. It was a total team effort."
The Eagles also extended their unbeaten streak to 50 in dual meets.
McDonogh started strong by capturing the 200 medley relay, finishing at 1 minute, 50.55 seconds - two seconds ahead of Mount de Sales, and winning the 200 individual medley with Rachael Schaffer (2:11.59), edging Rebecca Godwin (2:11.69) of Notre Dame Prep.
The Eagles took first in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:40.74, ahead of Mount de Sales (1:41.41) and NDP (1:41.47). McDonogh's Brileigh Pinkney also won the 100 breaststroke, finishing at 1:07.67, ahead of Maggie White of Bryn Mawr (1:07.80) and Colleen Randolph of St. Mary's (1:09.94).
Godwin finished seven seconds ahead of second-place Maggie Brown (NDP) in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:05.34.
Archbishop Spalding won the B Conference title with 438 points, followed by Severn (290), John Carroll (236), Institute of Notre Dame (235), Roland Park (218), St. Paul's (188), Seton Keough (168), Pallotti (128), Catholic (79) and Towson Catholic (44).
"We had a great season, hoping we could be league champions, and we were," Spalding coach Kristen Koehler said. "Coming into this meet, we just wanted to make sure we were staying with the competition in the `A' league."
Roland Park junior Erin O'Donnel won the 100 butterfly for the second straight year with a time of 58.49, ahead of Kathryn McIntosh of McDonogh (58.58) and NDP freshman Jordan Paavola (59.15).
"It was just another year of training at the [North Baltimore Aquatic Club], and I worked real hard," O'Donnel said. "I am really happy with my event."
Brown won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:57.66, just ahead of Audrey Olszewski (1:57.92) and Becky Flora (1:58.97), both of McDonogh.
In the 100 backstroke, Emily Dean of Mount de Sales took first place with a time of 59.55, Caroline Burns of Severn took second (1:01.24), and Roland Park's Isabel Tawney finished third (1:01.30).
Mount de Sales coach John Clark is hoping his team can finally topple McDonogh next season after finishing second the past two years.
"McDonogh is still a great team. A lot of those girls swim together year-round, which is a big benefit," Clark said. "We're proud to get second, and we will try again next year."