NEWARK — One Catholic school defended its crown, while another regained the top spot after a year away at the 2017 DIAA state swimming and diving championships on Feb. 25 at the Rawstrom Natatorium at the University of Delaware.
It was a repeat performance for Ursuline, which won back-to-back titles for the first time since 1986 and ’87. The Raiders received two wins from senior Marie Dickson, who captured both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. She was also a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay quartet that closed the event with a win. Dickson swam the opening leg and was followed by Abigail Poole, Allison Thomas and Heidi Dickson.
The Raiders showed their depth throughout the meet, scoring points with strong finishes throughout the day. They opened with a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. Heidi Dickson and Thomas placed second and fourth, respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle, while Thomas came in third in the 100 free. Heidi Dickson was the runner-up in the 500 free. The Raiders took second in the 200-free relay. Sophia McAneny-Droz was third in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Ursuline was not the only Catholic school to have success in the girls’ meet. Archmere’s Chelsey Liu won the 100-yard freestyle, and Maire Wilson of St. Mark’s was the state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke. Wilson finished second to Liu in the 100 free. Padua came in third in the 200-free relay.
In the end, Ursuline’s depth resulted in 276 points, which was 47 better than surprise runner-up Newark Charter, whose program is in just its fourth season. Charter School of Wilmington took third. Padua came in sixth and Archmere eighth.
Later that evening, Salesianum won 10 straight state championships between 2006-15, and eight times, Charter School of Wilmington was the runner-up. The Force finally dethroned the Sals last year, but a dominating performance in the 100 breaststroke put the 2017 meet in the books as a Salesianum victory.
Charter was sticking close to the Sals, trailing by just two points after the 100-yard backstroke. But senior Matt Otto, the school recordholder in the event, led the quartet of Sals in the breaststroke, winning by more than 3.5 seconds. His teammates — Jake McFate, Joey Oster and John Boyle — placed third, sixth and seventh, respectively, clinching the title. Charter did win the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, but it was not enough.
The breaststroke was just one of the Sals’ winning events. They opened the meet with the team of Cameron Marion, McFate, Otto and Andrew Halberg taking the 200-yard medley relay. Otto won the 200-yard individual medley, Halberg claimed the 50-yard freestyle and Andrew Boyle the 100 free. Halberg, Joey Dickson, Otto and Andrew Boyle were victorious in the 200-free relay.
Matthew Zwilgmeyer of St. Mark’s came in second in the 100-yard butterfly.
Salesianum finished with 356 points, 53 ahead of the Force. Conrad School of Sciences completed a strong showing in third, followed by St. Andrews and Mount Pleasant. St. Mark’s placed 10th.