All good things must come to an end, and in this case it was a great thing — 18 consecutive championships — that finally ran its course for Loyola Blakefield in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship meet.
McDonogh, after easily winning the dual meet between the teams in January, completed the season sweep by dethroning the Dons, 392-365.50, in the Eagles' home pool in Owings Mills on Saturday while claiming their first A Conference title since 1939 in the old Maryland Scholastic Association.
Gilman (139 points) was a distant third followed by Mount St. Joseph (120.50) and Calvert Hall (99).
Archbishop Spalding (353) ran away from its closest pursuer, Severn (276), to take B Conference honors. St. Paul's (180), St. Mary's (149), John Carroll (101) and St. Vincent Pallotti (81) followed the leaders.
After six events, Loyola and McDonogh were deadlocked, 215-215, until the Eagles slowly pulled away beginning with sophomore Ian Silverman winning the 500-yard freestyle and Collin Turner, Andrew Sovero, Austin Butt and Jess Stephens touching home first in the 200 freestyle relay.
When sophomore John Sanabia and senior Adam Enoch finished one-two in the 100 backstroke, McDonogh started to put some significant distance between itself and Loyola.
"I feel humbled and happy," McDonogh coach Scott Ward said. "Loyola is the program that sets the bar, and we've been chasing them for a long time."
In addition to Silverman and Sanabia, senior Stephens (50 and 100 freestyles) and junior Alec Cosgarea (100 butterfly) were the Eagles' other individual champs to go along with three relay wins.
While Loyola usually has an advantage with its quality depth, Dons coach Keith Schertle pointed out that some of McDonogh's unheralded swimmers were key to the victory. Junior Tommy Chabbott, for instance, picked up 10 points by unexpectedly finishing fifth in the 100 backstroke.
"We needed some of our third and fourth swimmers to come through," said Stephens, who is headed to Purdue University next fall. "It was such a great team effort."
Seniors Kendrick McDonald and Cameron James captured the 100 breaststroke and 200 freestyle, respectively, for Loyola's individual crowns.
St. Paul's Hunter Lussi (200, 500 freestyles), Severn's Jack Bremer (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly) and Severn's Grant Murray (100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) were double winners in the B.