By Andrew Wroblewski
From the very start of the New York State championship swimming and diving meet on March 5, the 200-yard medley relay team for St. Anthony’s knew what it had to do: set the tone.
“They talked about it; they wanted that relay. They wanted to show strong they are,” Coach Dan McBride said of the squad, made up of Tyler Meyers, Michael Chang, Andrew Stange and Sean Cannon.
“And, man, they just blew it out of the water.”
Meyers, Chang, Stange and Cannon finished in a blazing 1:34.09, an Automatic All-American time, to claim first place in the event, and set the tone for St. Anthony’s. The Friars went on to win the school’s first ever New York Federation title with a total of 184 overall points, the most of any school that participated in the meet. The Friars, who have sported a boys swimming team since 1984, outscored second-place Fordham Prep by 12 points for the title.
“It’s monumental,” McBride, who has coached the boys team since 1990, said. “Never have I ever thought in all the years that I’ve been going to that meet that I’d have a team strong enough to win the meet.”
McBride said the Friars worked for every accomplishment they earned this season.
“It was tough,” he said.
While the 200-yard medley relay was the only event that the Friars won outright, St. Anthony’s finished in ninth place or better in 10 of the 11 events it participated in.
The best of those other finishes came from Cannon, who finished the 50-yard freestyle in 20.92 seconds, All-American Consideration time, to claim second place.
“His name fits him perfectly, he swims like a cannon,” McBride said of the senior captain. “I’m such a fan of his, he’s amazing to watch. No matter who he’s swimming against, he approaches his events giving it 110 percent. He doesn’t ever back off.”
McBride said Cannon’s leadership, along with the leadership of all the team’s 17 other upperclassmen, is “irreplaceable.”
He credited the upperclassmen for “everything this program has done this year.”
“These guys came in here after taking second place in the states last year wanting” a state title, he said. “They’ve wanted this the whole entire year, and they got our freshman and our new guys that came in this year very prepared for what was going to be in store for them.
“I’ve never seen such a focused team.”
McBride said the veteran group, particularly the seniors, will leave big shoes for next year’s team to “fill.”
“I’m not going to lie, we’re graduating a lot of talent. But we do have some young guys who got experience at the state meet,” McBride said. “So next year they’ll know the type of work it takes to do this, and they have to start now.”