Swimming: CBA captures 5th straight state crown

Swimming: CBA captures 5th straight state crown

News

Swimming: CBA captures 5th straight state crown

By

EWING

The current Christian Brothers Academy senior class has never lost an NJSIAA Non-Public A swimming final.

But this year’s 13 seniors wanted to cap their season with just a little style, and they did that and more Saturday afternoon at the College of New Jersey against Bergen Catholic.

CBA only won four events but came in with a powerful 2-3-4 finish in four other events and overwhelmed Bergen Catholic with its depth for a 98-72 triumph. The victory was the fifth straight Non-Public A title for the Colts, who have dominated the state of New Jersey since 2010 with this current streak. It was also CBA’s sixth overall state title, including a state championship in 1998.

“The feeling of winning a state title never gets old. You know why? Because every single year there are new challenges. It is a different team this year from last year,” CBA coach Vito Chiaravalloti said. “From last spring, this year’s team wanted to be without a doubt the best team in CBA history. By running the table this year and by going undefeated, this year’s team proved to be one of the best in school history.”

Bergen Catholic had the early momentum in the meet as the Crusaders won the 200 medley relay (1:36:36), but CBA secured second and third to only trail 8-6 after one event. Bergen Catholic’s John Om won the 200 freestyle (1:44.22), but once again CBA had a strong showing by going 2-3-4 for the first of four total events. That first 2-3-4 finish tied the meet at 15 after two events.

With senior Rob Whitacre winning the 200 individual medley (1:55.85) and CBA’s 1-3-4 finish overall in that event, the Colts took the lead for good, 26-20, after three events. It was all about CBA’s depth from that point on.

“It wasn’t (my) best time (in the 200 IM). In meets like this, it is more about beating the guy next to you than about your time,” Whitacre said. “Just coming home on the last 50 freestyle (in that event), I really left all I had in the pool and just touched that guy out in the last 15 yards.”

Whitacre outlasted Bergen Catholic’s Ralph Cannarozzi by 0.3 for the turning point of the meet that sent the Colts on their way to their sixth state title.

“None of these state title runs have been easy, you never know what is going to happen in the course of a season. Guys get hurt, guys get sick, other guys then need to step up,” Chiaravalloti said. “What has marked us over the last couple years has been our depth. I’m just so proud of our senior leadership.”

And that depth spoke volumes on Saturday for the Colts. Besides the 2-3-4 finish in the 200 freestyle, CBA went 2-3-4 in the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke. CBA also won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:29.33 and came in 2-3 in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

Other winners for CBA included Alex D’Anna in the 50 freestyle (22.01) and Matt Zebrowski in the 500 freestyle (4:49.26). But Whitacre was one of many CBA seniors that shined for the Colts on championship Saturday at TCNJ.

“Rob is a special swimmer, a special person and a special young man,” Chiaravalloti said. “I’ve been saying it all year, he’s guided us in and out of the pool. I’m really going to miss him and the other seniors. Our senior class was exceptional.”

IMMACULATE HEART ACADEMY 106, RED BANK CATHOLIC 64: The Caseys won two relays and three individual events but that wasn’t enough to stop the defending NJSIAA Non-Public A girls swimming champion Blue Eagles in Saturday’s rematch of last year’s Non-Public A final. Red Bank Catholic’s Jackie Van Lew won two of those three individual events, the 200 individual medley in 2:05.36 and the 500 free in 5:01.86. Karli Rymer added the other individual victory in the 100 fly (58.40). Van Lew and Rymer each swam on Red Bank Catholic’s two winning relays, the 200 free relay (1:41.08) and the 400 free relay (3:38.86). Kaitlin Van Lew and Allison Villane joined Jackie Van Lew and Rymer on the winning 200 free relay squad, and Morgan Belforti and Shannon Belforti teamed up with Jackie Van Lew and Rymer on the winning 400 free relay squad. In last year’s Non-Public A final, Immaculate Heart Academy defeated Red Bank Catholic, 99-71.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports