For the first time since 2010, there’s a new king of CHSAA boys swimming.
St. Anthony’s knocked off five-time defending league and state champion Fordham Prep at Sunday’s CHSAA final at the Nassau Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park with 805 points. Fordham Prep placed second with 762 points. The Friars handed Fordham Prep its first loss since 2010 during the regular season, so they knew victory was possible. But to finally win that long elusive title, St. Anthony’s seniors were ecstatic.
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“Going out your last chance as a champion, it’s just a crazy thing,” said Noah Chernik, one of the Friars’ three senior captains. “I always thought maybe one year we’d just have that special of a team, but for it to actually happen is just crazy.”
Sean Cannon, another senior captain, led St. Anthony’s with individual victories in the in the 50-yard freestyle (20.77) and 100 free (46.00) en route to winning meet MVP.
“Coming into this, one of my main goals for my individual events was to try to get that meet MVP award,” Cannon said. “I knew that to do that I would have to at least win both events and maybe get a Catholic record.”
Cannon was just shy of that record as his 50 free time was .01 off a CHSAA state record. But he was more concerned about winning his first league championship and the program’s first since 2010. The seniors ensured that was everybody’s first goal.
“We’ve all had the same goals since Day One,” Cannon said, “and that’s to beat Fordham and go undefeated and so far we’ve been perfect.”
Coach Dan McBride credits his senior leadership for St. Anthony’s championship. And when it comes to watching Cannon, he’s just as big of a fan as anybody else.
“Before I’m a coach, I’m a swimming fan,” McBride said. “I love the sport and I love to see guys go and I’m just a huge fan of Sean, like all of my guys, and to just see him fly down the pool, it’s just amazing to watch.”
But the Friars’ goals aren’t done yet. To finish the season undefeated, there’s still one more race — the state meet in Buffalo. Don’t think St. Anthony’s is taking anything for granted.
“There’s definitely confidence but once again, we have the target on our back,” said senior captain Tyler Meyers. “We’re the team to beat so we can’t get overconfident but we’ll be going to states with a good attitude.”