The 200-yard medley relay teams celebrate on the podium at...

The 200-yard medley relay teams celebrate on the podium at the NYS Federation Championship swimming finals at Ithaca College. (Nov. 17, 2012) Credit: Robyn Wishna

States were great for the the St. Anthony's girls swim team, which capped off a spectacular season last weekend in Ithaca.

After going undefeated in Catholic League meets for the third straight year, St. Anthony's placed third in states.

The Friars (9-0) came in fourth in the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 49.11 seconds.

Senior Amanda Barry had her "shining moment" of the year in this relay, with a 31-second flat breaststroke split.

"She really stepped up for us in the medley and went faster than she had in two years," St. Anthony's coach Dan McBride said. "We desperately needed a breaststroker and she came through."

That fourth-place 200-yard medley team also had Melissa Bischoff, whom McBride called his MVP of the season. Bischoff, accomplished in the backstroke, expanded her repertoire to finish 15th overall in the 100-yard butterfly.

At last year's state championship, Bischoff competed only in the backstroke but set a goal to make the 100 butterfly in 2012. McBride encouraged her because "she's just too talented to swim at states in just one event and this year, she exceeded her goal. She didn't just swim in it, she scored."

McBride said that he would like to see Bischoff win the backstroke at next year's states. In the 2012 league championship, this group swam the 200 medley in 1:48.26, breaking the NSCHGAA record of 1:48.54 set by St. Anthony's last year.

One reason for the sustained success of St. Anthony's girls swimming is consistently great leadership, McBride said.

Barry and fellow senior Breann Lydon are captains for the Friars, but McBride said Bischoff and sophomore Kylie Danin, the third leg of the 200 medley relay, are being groomed to fill the void once the seniors graduate.

"We have a true teammate situation here where all the girls are like sisters. We don't have cliques," McBride said. "Once the girls become seniors, they know they're a captain whether they have the title or not. Bischoff and Danin act as leaders, but they lead by example."

At one point, Bischoff swam in the 200 freestyle, then raced in the 100 backstroke eight minutes later and made it to the final.

Danin swam a 59.34 in the 100 butterfly and finished 10th, although McBride said fatigue kept her from going even faster.

"This was a grueling meet where the cut times were really fast," McBride said.

Danin's 100-yard butterfly time in the league championship was 57.64. At the same meet, she won the 200 individual medley in 2:09.98, taking home the meet's MVP award.

Senior Marielle Pavek, the fastest sprinter in St. Anthony's history, placed fifth in the 50 freestyle in 24.45 seconds. She holds the Friars' record at 24.40.

Pavek, Bischoff, Erin Boyle, a freshman swimming in her only event at the state championship, and Kaitlyn Fitzgerald came in ninth in the 200 freestyle relay. Lydon placed 13th in the 100 backstroke in 59.03.

The 400 freestyle relay team that consisted of Pavek, Lydon, Fitzgerald and Danin came in fifth in 3:36.66.


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