A year after staking its claim to a share of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland swimming championship, McDonogh left no doubt as to which team was the best yesterday at UMBC's Retriever Activities Center.
The Eagles swept all 11 events and set seven meet records in claiming their first outright title in the program's history. They also denied Notre Dame Prep at least a piece of the championship for the first time in 10 years.
The Eagles finished with 465.5 points, comfortably outdistancing the Blazers, who came in second with 386. McDonogh's trio of junior Claire Hutchinson and sophomores Anne-Marie Botek and Kelly Peloquin combined for six individual victories, and each was a part of two of the Eagles' three winning relay teams.
Senior Danielle Spearman (100-yard freestyle) and freshman Kat McIntosh (50 free) were McDonogh's other two individual winners.
"It felt awesome," Peloquin said. "We were so incredibly motivated this year to win."
Thirteen of the Eagles' 14 swimmers earned points (the top 16 in each event are awarded points). In addition to their winners, the Eagles had 13 top-10 finishes, and two others finished in the top 16.
McDonogh won 10 of 11 events last year, but its dominance at the top of each event was equaled by Notre Dame Prep's extraordinary depth.
"We knew it would be possible to win every event and not win the meet," McDonogh coach Scott Ward said. "That was my greatest fear."
Ward's squad quickly eased that fear. The Eagles' 200-yard freestyle relay team of Botek, Peloquin, McIntosh and Spearman opened the competition with a meet and UMBC pool record and National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association All-America automatic time of 1 minute, 49.2 seconds.
Hutchinson and Peloquin followed that with more meet records - Hutchinson in the 200 free (1:53.68) and Peloquin in the 200 individual medley (2:07.05).
The Eagles also got points in the early events from junior DeAnna Edwards and freshman Bethany McCutcheon, who finished seventh and ninth, respectively, in the 200 free, and from freshman Bridgette Flora and senior Medley McGuire, who finished third and ninth in the 200 IM.
Meanwhile, the Blazers, who graduated seven seniors from last season's team, were considerably younger and thus not as deep as they had been. Still, the nine-time defending champs finished well ahead of third-place Mount de Sales.
"I was pleased with the girls that we finished better than what the seed times were," Notre Dame Prep coach Lisa Wiegmann said. "They swam their hardest. You can't compete with [McDonogh's] times. No one can."
Botek set a meet record in the 100 butterfly (58.04 seconds). Peloquin broke her own record and recorded an NISCA All-America automatic time in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.43). Hutchinson topped her record in the 500 free (4:59.57).