Monsignor Donovan captures Ocean County cup

Monsignor Donovan captures Ocean County cup

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Monsignor Donovan captures Ocean County cup

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TOMS RIVER

Monsignor Donovan High School boys swimming team co-head coach Carly Scallon kissed the championship cup Sunday.

Scallon applied the kiss after the Griffins won their first Ocean County Championships team title in school history, scoring 337 points at the Ocean County YMCA.

Donovan senior team member George Thompson held the cup while Scallon kissed it to the delight of the Griffins co-head coach, Katie Bigg, a 2006 Donovan graduate, and their fans.

“The cup tasted very sweet,” said Scallon, Donovan’s 10th-year coach. “We knew it was our best year. If we were to have a chance at winning it, we knew this would be our best chance.”

The Griffins fielded their first varsity team in 1998 when they were coached by Brian Cerbone, Toms River East’s boys coach and the director of Sunday’s 19th annual meet.

Donovan won the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, in a meet-record 1:38.61. Junior Corbin Borrero swam the first leg. Seniors Brian Suatengco and Alex Tenner swam the second and third legs, respectively, and sophomore Connor Payne swam the anchor leg.

The Griffins destroyed their seeded time of 1:42.53.

“We knew our relay team could win,” Scallon said. “The meet record was a bonus. The boys wanted it.”

“That win definitely sparked us,” Borrero said. “It made a flame — let me tell you — and the fire kept going through the whole meet. It never died until the very end. We definitely sent a message that we were not playing around — that we were here to win. We had one goal and one goal only — and that was to win.”

Borrero won the 100 backstroke in 55.04 as the Griffins ended Toms River North’s two-year tenure as champion.

“I felt great,” he said. “I felt great physically, mentally, all-around. It’s amazing to win this. All of my hard work and dedication paid off.”

Donovan junior Cody Keany captured the 500 freestyle in 5:06.33.

“I wanted to go out hard for my team as it deserved to win the title,” he said. “It started getting tougher at the 300- to 400-yard mark, but I had to pull on through to win. I like this race. I’ve been swimming it since I was about 10 years old. I always felt I was the strongest in the distance races.

“To keep the race interesting, I always have this mindset — go fast. Every second I slow down is a second I lose.”

Scallon said the Griffins swam well throughout their lineup.

“Every swimmer — whether he was top-seeded or low-seeded — swam a personal best,” she said. “We were excited for this meet all week. We were amped up all week, waiting for this day.”

Scallon said she has worked with Griffins for a long time.

“This is amazing,” she said. “I have known them since they were seven and eight years old. I coached them at the ‘Y,’ where I had an eight-and-under team. They support each other.”

“They care about each other and support each other,” Bigg said. “It’s the Donovan way.”

Toms River South junior Jacob Limaldi sped to Male Swimmer of the Meet honors, setting meet records in the 200 individual medley (1:55.57) and 100 breaststroke (57.22).

“This honor means a lot,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve won it. Prior to the meet, I was definitely thinking about winning it. The plaque feels pretty good in my hands.”

Limaldi said he has trained well.

“I am real confident in the way I have been training for the past year,” he said. “That’s the reason I have been able to perform well lately.”

Limaldi practices strength training.

“I lift weights two days per week and practice six days per week,” he said. “I do a double practice two days per week. I work at getting stronger and making my strokes more efficient. I work at fine tuning everything.”

Limaldi said he felt strong in the breast stroke.

“I felt pretty good, real strong, all the way through,” he said. “I went out nice and controlled and fast. I knew in the last 50 yards I would stay nice and controlled and not lose it. I knew I would not lose my stroke tempo.”

Limaldi got off to a fast start in the 200 individual medley.

“I felt really good in the first 100 yards,” he said. “I started getting a little tired toward the end. I just stuck it out. I am in the middle of hard midseason training. I was one second off my personal best, but it was a real good swim for the middle of the season.”

North senior Zack Molloy copped the 200 freestyle in a meet-record 1:37.88 for the Mariners.

“I led all the way,” he said. “I normally take it out pretty fast. This was a pretty good accomplishment.”

Molloy, who will swim for Rider University, broke the meet record of 1:44.54, set last year for North by his brother, Will Molloy, now competing for the Broncs.

“The fact he owned the record gave me a little more incentive to break his record,” Molloy said. “I warmed up well. I felt energized.”

North junior Matt Kazanowsky set a meet record in the 50 freestyle (21.85) and took the 100 freestyle (47.82).

“I tried to swim every stroke the best I could,” he said. “I had to keep pushing.”

Kazanowsky bested the previous record of 21.86, set in 2012 by East’s Brian Capozzola, now swimming at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. They lifeguarded together last summer.

“I had to get the record,” Kazanowsky said. “He’s a great guy. He’s very fast. He has a great stroke. My opponents pushed me today. They were helpful and motivating.”

Lacey senior Ben Smith, bound for Rider, also assaulted the meet’s record book, taking the 100 butterfly in 51.81 for the Lions. Smith broke the meet record of 53.03 he set last year.

“I felt it would be my race,” he said. “I went all out. I wanted to redeem myself as I did not do well in the 50 (he finished second in 22.38). I felt great. I went out real fast in the first 50 yards, but I really, really started hurting on the last lap.

“I tried to take it home. My arms started to give out. I kept my head down and kept my arms going as fast as they could. It worked.”

Smith hopes the record stands for a long time.

“I wanted to set the record to a bar that nobody can touch for a while,” he said. “I think I did that.”

Molloy swam the first leg on the Mariners’ winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:29.84). His teammates were Kazanowsky, Michael Cuthbert and Jake Gutkes. The team set a meet record.

North also won the 400 freestyle relay (3:19.39) as Kazanowsky, Gutkes, Joe Suchocki and Molloy pooled their talents.

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