Boys swimming: Whitacre leads CBA to 24th straight Shore Conference title

Boys swimming: Whitacre leads CBA to 24th straight Shore Conference title


Boys swimming: Whitacre leads CBA to 24th straight Shore Conference title



The meet was known as the 36th annual Shore Conference Swimming Championships.

It became the Rob Whitacre Invitational.

The Christian Brothers Academy senior set two individual meet records and starred in the relays, propelling the Colts to their 24th straight team title and 24th overall team championship at the Ocean County YMCA on Saturday.

The Colts have competed in the meet 24 times.

Whitacre set meet records in the 200-yard individual medley (1:52.26) and 100-yard backstroke (49.59). He swam the first leg on the 200 medley relay team, which set a meet record (1:37.19). And he swam the anchor leg on the winning 400 freestyle relay team (3:14.96).

The previous record in the 200 individual medley was 1:54.02 set in 2013 by Ocean’s Sam Lynch. Whitacre broke the CBA record of 1:53.31, established in 1994 by Tom Wilkens, who competed in the Olympics. In the backstroke, Whitacre broke his meet record of 50.78, set last season.

“Each time I go out, I try to do the best I can,” said Whitacre, who will swim for the University of Notre Dame. “I was just off my personal best in the backstroke. As long as I put everything I have into the pool, I am happy.”

Whitacre went out strong in the backstroke.

“I felt pretty fast in the first 50 yards or so,” he said. “On the third lap — and especially the last lap — it was definitely a battle. I hung on better than I felt I would.”

Whitacre took his record in the individual medley in stride.

“It’s icing on the cake,” he said. “I do what’s best for the team and stuff. I do what I can to help the team win the title. This is a midseason meet so it’s a battle out there. The backstroke is my strongest stroke. I used it to get ahead. I tried to hold on for the rest of the race.

“At this time of the year, it’s a lot easier to have a stronger aerobic base. It’s tough to get my speed up at the front end of a race at this time of the year. The record feels good, but it’s not something I really aimed for.”

Whitacre said he enjoys competing in the individual medley.

“It’s a run race,” he said. “I have no glaring weakness or else it would show up. Matching up against everyone’s repertoire is definitely a lot of fun.”

Sixth-year CBA coach Vito Chiaravalloti II was impressed with Whitacre’s showing.

“Rob is real special,” he said. “He broke Tom Wilkens’ record by more than one second. That’s a special race for Rob.”

CBA won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:30.26. Competing were senior Alex D’Anna, sophomore Zach DiGaro and juniors Ryan Andresen and Christopher Tucker.

The Colts sped to 477 points, keeping their dynasty intact.

“The key over the years has been our depth,” Chiaravalloti II said. “We are fortunate to have a lot of swimmers we can count on to carry on our tradition. We are blessed this year with a very special group of kids.”

Toms River North senior Zach Molloy set a meet record in the 100 freestyle (46.04). He broke the previous record of 46.55, set in 2013 by Central Regional’s Evan Mahoney.

“I was out to break it,” said Molloy. “It was held by a friend of mine who graduated last year. I did not feel that good physically. I felt tired. I did not feel my best. I felt tired pretty much during the whole thing. My legs felt real tired. I guess it’s from training and practicing the other day.”

Molloy also won the 200 freestyle in 1:40.86. He narrowly missed the meet record (1:40.09) he set last year.

“It feels good to be a two-time champion,” he said. “I was sluggish. I did not feel too good. I was sluggish in the back half of the race. My walls started getting bad.”

Molloy said he did not mind failing to set the record.

“It’s my record from last year,” he said. “Not breaking it doesn’t really matter.”

Freehold sophomore Matt Gallene won the 50 freestyle in 21.50. Lacey senior Ben Smith took the 100 butterfly in 52.16. North junior Matt Kazanowsky captured the 500 freestyle in 4:43.25. Toms River South junior Jacob Limaldi won the 100 breaststroke (57.61).

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