Hampton coach Liz Harlan knew that if her team "focused on a Hammerhead finish" against Stoneleigh on July 18, a new Free State Swim League regular-season champion would be crowned.
Much to her delight, the Hammerheads came through with just enough effort to edge the Sharks, 258-245, to cap off an unbeaten season and deal Stoneleigh its only setback of the summer.
Given that result, the teams will head into the Trophy Meet on Monday with different prospects.
The Sharks still have a chance to salvage a very good season with a strong showing at Hillcrest Swim Club, in Parkville, the site of the meet while hoping to avenge the loss to Hampton and emerge with the title.
The Hammerheads, on the other hand, can enjoy the season-ending event knowing they have nothing left to prove.
"We haven't ever finished higher than fourth in the Trophy Meet," Harlan said. "Our team is too small. We just don't have the numbers some of the bigger teams, like Stoneleigh, do."
Harlan said a pep talk before the final — and deciding — event in the Stoneleigh meet, the boys mixed 100-yard freestyle relay, may have helped the Hammerheads prevail.
"I didn't know exactly what the score was, but I told them just to swim their hearts out," she said, referring to Peerce Nozieka, Alex Blair, Jake Volk and J. P. Clancy.
Below are top-three finishers in each age-group from the Hampton-Stoneleigh meet:
Melissa Dorsch (H, 1st 50-yard backstroke, 2nd fly), Molly Farrugia (S, 2nd back) K.C. Paltell (S, 1st 50 butterfly), Cristiana Salvatori (S, 1st 100 freestyle and individual medley), Bella Salvatori (S, 1st 50 breaststroke, 2nd IM), Marley Swisher (S, 2nd free, 3rd back), Amanda Duckett (H, 3rd free), Aly Yarcony (S, 3rd fly), Kara Kleinhammer (H, 3rd breast), Jordan Krasauskas (H, 3rd IM)
J. P. Clancy (H, 1st back and fly), Finny Dorsch (H, 1st free and breast), Brady Badmington (H, 3rd breast), Kevin Blum (H, 1st IM, 2nd free), Ian Sillars (S, 2nd breast, 3rd fly), Jasper Igusa (S, 3rd IM), Nick Deignan (S, 2nd fly, 3rd free), Josh Burton Prately (H, 2nd back, 2nd IM), Andrew Stringfellow (S, 3rd back)
Mary Kate Clancy (H, 1st 100 free, 50 back), Elle Henderson (S, 1st 100 IM and 50 fly), Marsie Salvatori (S, 2nd free, 1st breast), Morgan Kollman (H, 3rd free), Miranda Janello (S, 2nd back, 3rd 50 fly), Hannah Dorsch (H, 2nd breast and fly), Maura Neely (H, 3rd breast), Ashley Matz (H, 3rd IM and fly), Emma Ryan (H, 3rd IM), Maddie Eckels (H, 3rd back)
Jake Volk (H, 1st free and breast), Louis Lowenthal (S, 1st IM and back), Luke Jones (S, 2nd breast), Cole Roseborough (S, 3rd breast), Aidan Ryan (S, 3rd IM and back), Chris Pilotte (S, 1st fly, 2nd free), Jonas Byars (S, 3rd free), Nick Burton Prately (H, 2nd IM and back), J.D. Rogers (S, 2nd fly), Payton Williams (H, 3rd fly)
Caroline Blum (H, 1st 50 back, 2nd fly), Lillian Lowenthal (S, 1st 100 IM and 50 fly), Sam Duckett (H, 1st 50 breast, 3rd IM), Lexi Jones (S, 1st 50 free, 2nd back and fly), Emily Wolff (H, 2nd IM, 2nd free), Natalie Marx (S, 3rd breast), Lindsay Wiglesworth (S, 2nd breast), Erin Dorsch (H, 3rd free and back), Lexi Kollman (H, 3rd fly)