All good things must come to an end, and in this case it was a streak of 18 consecutive championships that finally ran its course for Loyola's swim team in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship meet.
After easily winning the dual meet between the teams in January, McDonogh completed the season sweep by dethroning the Dons Saturday in the Eagles' home pool in Owings Mills. It was McDonogh's first A Conference title since 1939 in the old Maryland Scholastic Association.
McDonogh finished with 392 points, distancing itself from runner-up Loyola (365.5). 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, but 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 the Dons.
"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 in depth, Dons coach Keith Schertle pointed out that some of McDonogh's unheralded swimmers were key to Saturday's 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 next fall. "It was such a great team effort."
Seniors Kendrick McDonald (100 breaststroke) and Cameron James (200 freestyle) won individual titles for Loyola.
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 Conference.