Chaminade senior Tyler Nussbaum knew before he jumped in the pool Sunday how difficult it would be to overcome the state's ultimate swimming force, Fordham Prep.
"We knew they were going to be tough to beat,'' Nussbaum said. "But pulling out second place was an accomplishment.''
The cheers of the large crowd at Nassau Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park were deafening for the top swimmers in the CHSAA.
Chaminade compiled 746.50 points and closed out one of its best seasons, which included a 7-1 record in the regular season.
"I have to emphasize the depth of our team,'' coach Angelo Pellicone said. "The season was a success by the times they swam and by the number of athletes who swam well.''
Rival Fordham Prep is used to winning. With a score of 949.50, this was the Bronx-based Rams' third consecutive CHSAA championship.
"To have the top team in the state in your league for the last few years is a real challenge,'' Pellicone said. "But it's a true measuring stick for us.''
Chaminade sophomore Kieran Serrata won the diving with a score of 432.45. "I'm thrilled for him,'' Pellicone said. "We'd like to see him score well at the state meet, as well.''
St. Anthony's finished third with 722 points.
"The way these guys swam today was a huge victory for us,'' coach Dan McBride said. "We tore the pool up today and I couldn't be happier.''
Friars sophomore Sean Cannon put on a show when he tied Fordham's Michael Verini for first in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.66 seconds.
"It feels good to get first place,'' state qualifier Cannon said of the extremely fast race. "It was a good race all around. This season has been awesome, and it's better than I even expected.''
The coaches voted Cannon the Vin Harkins MVP Award, which honors a longtime league official.
The Friars' bench erupted after junior Ben Howard placed first in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 59.83.
"That was the swim of the meet right there for me,'' McBride said.
St. Anthony's and Chaminade have a combined 27 athletes heading to the state championship meet in Webster, about 15 miles from Rochester.
A first-place finish isn't everything, and Pellicone is pleased by how well the Flyers performed this season.
"Us and St. Anthony's are the best two swimming schools on Long Island,'' he said. "Hands down.''