Loyola dominates, captures its 11th straight MIAA crown

On the back of the T-shirts worn by many Loyola swimmers and a good number of their supporters, the words read loud and clear in blue block letters: "A Decade of Don-Minance."

Now make that a decade plus one.


With talented underclassmen further building on past success and their constant superior depth under coach Keith Schertle, the Dons made it 11 straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships last night at Loyola Aquatic Center.

And yes, it was dominating.


Capturing three of the eight individual races and two of the three team relays - with junior Nick Taylor leading the way with four gold medals - Loyola quickly separated itself from the 11-team field and went on to win, 677.5-459, over runner-up McDonogh.

Calvert Hall was a close third with 439 points, and last year's runner-up, Mount St. Joseph, finished fourth with 411 points.

"I think once you build the winning tradition, it draws younger kids to the program. We've been lucky to have strong classes coming in every year, and we're all willing to work hard and continue the tradition," said Taylor.

"Keith works us hard, he gets us all motivated. We're in here eight times a week - in the weight room on the track - doing whatever it takes."

Taylor won the 50 and 100 freestyle and was part of the Dons' 200 and 400 free relay to match last year's four golds. Junior Shane Kelsey took first in the 500 free and second in the 200 free and the 400 relay team - consisting of all juniors - had a winning time (3:15.59) that was just 1/100th of a second off the pool record.

"It was like a roller coaster. We swam really well in places and not so well in others. So overall, we didn't have a great performance, but we still won by a lot," said Schertle. "Every year they talk about our depth, but we also won more events than any other team. I guess because we win by such a wide margin it shows our depth, but we also have some kids that are stars."

McDonogh was impressive in its second-place showing with two pool records. Matt Fedderly set a new mark with a time of 59.08 in the breaststroke and also enjoyed a win in the 200 free. Eagles junior Drew Pallace also set a new pool standard in the 100 butterfly (51.57) and took second in the 100 backstroke.

Calvert Hall's performance was highlighted by a record time of 1:39.06 in the 200 medley relay.


For Gilman, Yu Yu Zhang took a gold in the 200 intermediate medley and a second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke. Connor Wills took the 100 backstroke and was second in the 100 butterfly.

As far as catching up with Loyola, last season appeared to be one of the better opportunities with a Dons' team that was light on seniors. But a young cast stepped up and with a strong junior class led by Taylor, continued success appears likely. The host school also came away with the JV first-place plaque.