Ocean’s Sam Lynch concluded his swim season in storybook fashion by winning a state title and breaking a meet record in the 100-yard backstroke at the NJSIAA Individual Swimming Championships at Gloucester County Institute of Technology on Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t know that I broke the meet record when I finished the race,” said Lynch. “One of the officials told me as I was getting out of the pool, and I couldn’t believe it.”
After winning the 100-backstroke in the preliminaries, Lynch repeated as the winner, clocking in at 48.62, almost two seconds faster than seed time to win his first state title. Lynch led the entire race from start to finish with Bridgewater Raritan’s Dylan Sali touching the wall over a second behind him (49.60).
“This is the second-fastest time I have ever swam this race,” said Lynch. “It’s a great feeling to walk away as a state champion in my senior season.”
Toms River North’s Zach Molloy was the only other swimmer from the Shore Conference to win a state title.
Molloy began the meet in the 200-yard freestyle, placing runner-up to Northern Valley’s Terry Li with a 1:40.86 finish.
He came back in the 100-yard freestyle with a close race between top-seeded Marc Sambolin of Montclair. Molloy was on the heels of Sambolin throughout the entire race, but pulled ahead on the last lap to walk away with a gold medal.
“It feels great to be a state champion,” Molloy said. “It is definitely a great way to end the season. I knew I had a chance to beat him. I kept looking over to see where he was at, and I knew if I gave it my all I had a chance to win.”
Molloy improved his times in both events compared to last year’s championships. He placed fifth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.19), and tied for fourth in the 100-yard freestyle (47.35), shaving almost six seconds combined off his times.
Toms River North’s foursome of Zach Molloy, Will Molloy, Matt Kazanowsky, and Mike Culbert gave it everything they had to try to upset Pingry in the 400-yard freestyle relay, but fell short of the title, finishing in 3:11.99. Pingry’s Will LaCosta outswam Culbert by four seconds in the last leg of the relay for the victory (3:10.54).
Will Molly swam in the 500-yard freestyle event where he shaved almost four seconds off his seed time for a fourth-place finish (4:41.01).
Central’s Evan Mahoney placed fourth in the 100-freestyle finishing in 46.81 and third in the 100-yard breaststroke (57.63).
Freehold Township’s Ryan O’Neill placed fourth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:41.93) and eighth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:43.53).
Toms River South’s Jacob Limaldi qualified for a championship heat and a consolation race. He placed 10th in the 200-yard individual medley (1:56.32), and sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.88).
Danielle Griggs was the only girls Shore Conference swimmer to advance to a championship heat, and made her presence known.
Griggs placed second in the 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle. She improved her times by over a second in each event since her last trip to the Meet of Champions last season.
She swam the 100-yard freestyle in 51.21, and the 50-yard freestyle in 23.70.
St. Rose’s Casey Lawson and Marlboro’s Joanna Han qualified to swim in two consolation races each.
Lawson placed 10th in the 200-yard individual medley (2:08.83), and 16th in the 100-yard backstroke (58.87). Han placed 11th in the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.55), and 14th in the breaststroke (1:07.51).