C. Milton Wright coach Bill Lang knew his team would have to step up its effort yesterday at Magnolia Middle School if it was to defend its Harford County boys swimming title.
"One of our better swimmers was ruled ineligible for this meet this morning, so I knew we'd have our hands full," Lang said. "They did better than I expected."
Better indeed. The Mustangs won two individual events and broke the county record in the 200-yard freestyle relay by swimming a 1:34.94. The previous record of 1:35.84 was held by Bel Air and set in 1992.
The Mustangs' score of 260.5 beat second-place John Carroll (231) and third-place Fallston (226.5) for the title.
The championships will conclude today with the girls meet, also at Magnolia Middle, at 5:45 p.m.
"That was a total shock," Lang said of the county record. "I never expected that, but it was very pleasant to see."
The Mustangs also won the 400 freestyle relay, with a time of 3:33.75.
Lang said he thought the Mustangs could repeat at the beginning of the season, but the graduation of five seniors this year will hurt the team next season.
"We lose some of our better swimmers, but we still have a good nucleus returning," he said. "It'll be a lot tougher, but I think we can come out of it with another win."
Havre de Grace's Matt Smyth won four individual medals, but the most impressive was his gold medal in the 100 freestyle. The victory, in a time of 51.86, was the Warriors' first individual boys medal in swimming since 1980.
"After I got out of the water, [Warriors coach Aaron Thompson] told me, and I couldn't believe it," Smyth said. "It was a big surprise, but it was a big thrill, also."
In other events, North Harford's Nick Mezzanotte won the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke. He was the only swimmer to win multiple events yesterday.
A pair of C. Milton Wright brothers won gold medals. Kurt Lapaglia (1:55.14) won the 200 freestyle, and his brother, Rob, took the 100 butterfly (57.63).
North Harford's Tim Falkner captured the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:19.33, and John Carroll's Matt Ross won the 50 freestyle in 23.10.
Edgewood's Tim Graham won the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.16.
Fallston won the first event of the night, the 200 medley relay, with a time of 1:50.67.