Christian Yeager of St. Anthony's, sets an new NYS CHS...

Christian Yeager of St. Anthony's, sets an new NYS CHS record in the Backstroke with a time of 51:25 at the CHSAA City Championships finals. (Feb. 13, 2011) Credit: Alan J. Schaefer

After eight events, perennial power Fordham Prep had opened a 40-point lead on the rest of the field Sunday at the CHSAA boys swimming championships, and that margin would only grow. Barring mass disqualifications, the champion had essentially been crowned. The race for runner-up, however, was just getting started.

Thanks to a record-breaking 100-yard backstroke by meet MVP Christian Yeager and Bernil Carmichael-Lopes' assault on the 100 breaststroke, St. Anthony's scored 687 points to outlast Chaminade for second place at Nassau Aquatic Center. The Flyers were third with 672 points, and Fordham Prep scored 796 points for a never-in-doubt first-place finish.

St. Anthony's had finally gotten over the hump in 2010, winning the program's first CHSAA title. However, it's difficult to upend the deep Fordham Prep program once, never mind in consecutive years. The Friars held a three-point lead going into the sixth event. But Fordham Prep's strength is in its second-half events, and the Rams soon distanced themselves.

With one opponent already leapfrogging it, St. Anthony's then had to deal with a surging Chaminade.

"We couldn't lose focus," Friars coach Dan McBride said. "We let them know they were going to go down, and it was expected. At this part of the meet, Chaminade's going to be stronger than us, and we're going to have to battle back."

Emmett Johnson won the 50 freestyle (21.50) and 100 freestyle (46.83) to move the Flyers into second place after the eighth event.

The more than 30-point lead held through the ninth event, the 200 freestyle relay, as Chaminade (1:28.55) beat the higher-seeded St. Anthony's (1:30.57) for third place.

Yeager, already the victor in the 200 individual medley (1:55.03), then finished the 100 backstroke in 51.25 to break a county record held since 1995.

"That's my race, the way I think of it," Yeager said. "I was talking to my coaches about the score and how we need to get out there, give it everything we got and not hold anything back."

Yeager's record swim also cut Chaminade's lead to just four points. Then Carmichael-Lopes took over, winning the 100 breaststroke (59.32) by just 0.29 seconds.

"I thought I was a body length ahead of him," Carmichael-Lopes said. "Then I saw him aside of me, so I kept digging in." His speedy finish restored the lead to St. Anthony's, and the Friars never relinquished it.

"Third place to me is never good, but third place in our league really says something," Chaminade coach Angelo Pellicone said. "When you have 11 kids that qualify for states from a third-place team, that's pretty good."

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