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St. John the Baptist tops Our Lady of Mercy in girls swimming; championships next

St. John the Baptist head coach Dawn Kelly and seniors Kate O’Malley, Mia Stroub and Brooke Bowers speak following Saturday’s CHSAA meet against Our Lady of Mercy. Credit: Newsday / Jake Falk

St. John the Baptist showed Saturday why it will be a favorite in next weekend's CHSAA girls swimming championships.

Led by seniors Mia Stroub, Brooke Bowers, Kate O’Malley and sophomore Praise Okodogbe, the Cougars (3-0) powered through to a 90-61 dual meet win over Our Lady of Mercy Academy (0-2) at the Nassau Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park.

Stroub was part of two winning relays, the 200-yard medley that clocked in 2 minutes, 5.72 seconds, and the 400 freestyle that won in 4:24.31. She also won the 200 individual medley in 2:24.72 and the 100 backstroke in 1:06.45.

Bowers, who also swam on the 200 medley relay, won the 100 breaststroke in 1:16.96 and placed second in the 50 freestyle in 28.41.

Okodogbe won the 50 freestyle in 26.50 and the 100 butterfly in 1:02.45.

O’Malley, who also swam on the 400 free relay, finished second in the 200 freestyle in 2:24.10 and in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:05.60.

Like most sports, the girls high school swim season was affected by COVID-19. Some schools had their seasons postponed, but CHSAA athletic directors allowed its member schools to swim.

"All the public schools might not even have a season or didn’t get to," Bowers said. "I’m just so lucky that we had it."

Our Lady of Mercy Academy had some solid performances. Mustangs sophomore Isabella Mantilla was a double winner in the freestyle events. She clocked 2:16.84 in the 200 free and 1:01.09 in the 100 free.

"[The season] brings light into all of this darkness that we’ve been in," said St. John the Baptist coach Dawn Kelly. "Being out of swimming for so long and to come in and do really well, it feels really good."

The CHSAA Championship meet is scheduled for Nov. 14-15 at the Nassau Aquatics Center.

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