The Christian Brothers Academy swim team defeated Seton Hall Prep 113-57 to win their fourth consecutive NJSIAA Non-Public A state title at The College of New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.
CBA also won in 1998, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Also Sunday, the Red Bank Catholic girls swim team was vying for their third overall state title, but came up short with a 99-71 loss to defending champions Immaculate Heart.
CBA won 10 events including seven individual event winners, and a sweep of the relays. Rob Whitacre and Alex D’Anna both showed impressive swims with two individual first-place finishes.
“You never know coming into these meets how many points we are going to score,” said CBA head coach Vito Chiaravalloti. “I knew Seton Hall Prep would have a great team today, and come out and give us everything they had. I am really proud of my guys that stepped up.”
The Colts broke open the meet with a win in the 200 freestyle relay. Whitacre, D’Anna, Dean Shafritz, and Josh Berger finished in 1:39.23 for a first-place finish.
CBA was up 39-23 at the break, after two first-place finishes through the first four events. D’Anna and Zebrowski went 1-2 in the 200 individual medley. D’Anna won the event in 1:59.78, and Zebrowski followed with a finish in 2:03.05.
Chris Tucker won the closest race of the day in the 50 freestyle with a 22.23 finish. Tucker edged Seton Hall Prep’s Drew Baldave by .02 to place first.
Shafritz won the 100 butterfly (54.26), Steve Benvenuto won the 500 freestyle (4:52.13), and Whitacre won the 100 freestyle (48.23).
Whitacre and D’Anna won their second event each of the day to extend CBA’s lead even more. Whitacre swam to a first-place finish in the 100 backstroke (53.46), and D’Anna won the 100 breaststroke (1:01.50).
“They are both leaders on this team,” Chiaravalloti said. “They get the credit and deserve the credit for a lot of what they do. They are top swimmers in the state, and in the nation.”
The Colts received contributions not just from their first-place finishers, but also from swimmers finishing in second and third place, which was the key to them winning.
“I am really proud of my outside lane guys,” Chiaravalloti said. “We had some great swims, and I have been saying to my guys since day one that getting fourth instead of fifth, and fifth instead of sixth is how we win state titles, and it was a team effort today.”
Berger, Ed Healy, Tucker, and Whitacre won the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:20.67 to clinch the victory.
“They had a chip on their shoulder because last year they weren’t number one in the state in the last poll, and they wanted to go above and beyond today to prove they are the best team in the state, and I think they did that today,” Chiaravalloti said.
On the girls side, despite winning two out of the three relays, Red Bank Catholic (13-1) was unable to keep pace with the Blue Eagles (5-1).
Immaculate Heart won six out of 11 events to win their sixth title in a row, and their 17th overall.
Jackie VanLew was the only swimmer to win an individual race for the Casey’s. VanLew won the 200 freestyle finishing in 1:51.76. Teammate Karli Rymer finished in second place (1:57.46).
The Blue Eagles won four straight events, until VanLew blew away her competition in the 500 freestyle with a first place finish in 5:01.67.
After trailing 65-45 through seven events, Rymer, Shannon Belforti, Morgan Belforti, and VanLew won the 200 freestyle relay finishing in 1:40.28, to keep their state title hopes alive.
The Blue Eagles swept the backstroke and breaststroke events heading into the final race of the day.
Rymer, Morgan Belforti, Shannon Belforti , and VanLew won the 400 freestyle relay but it wasn’t enough as they fell short of a state title.
CBA 113, Seton Hall Prep 57
200 medley relay: CBA 1:39.23; 200 freestyle: Dunn (SH) 1:45.60; 200 Individual Medley : D’Anna (CBA) 1:59.78; 50 freestyle: Tucker (CBA) 22.23; 100 butterfly: Shafritz (CBA) 54.26; 100 freestyle: Whitacre (CBA) 48.23; 500 freestyle: Benvenuto (CBA) 4:52.13; 200 freestyle relay: CBA 1:30.35; 100 backstroke: Whitacre (CBA) 53.46; 100 breaststroke: D’Anna (CBA) 1:01.50; 400 freestyle relay: CBA 3:20.67.
Immaculate Heart 99, Red Bank Catholic 71
200 medley relay: Immaculate Heart (1:51.45); 200 freestyle: VanLew (RBC) 1:51.76; 200 Individual medley : Kim (IH) 2:11.09; 50 freestyle: Nestrowitz (IH) 24.81; 100 butterfly: Lauer (IH) 58.45; 100 freestyle: Nestrowitz (IH) 52.63; 500 freestyle: VanLew (RBC) 5:01.67; 200 freestyle relay: Red Bank Catholic 1:40.28; 100 backstroke: Kim (IH) 59.14; 100 breaststroke: Desernia (IH) 1:11.44; 400 freestyle relay: Red Bank Catholic 3:38.17