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Division 1 state swimming championship

Prep rules the pool for 6th straight title

Ryan Fortin of St. John’s Prep defended his title in the 200 IM at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool. Ryan Fortin of St. John’s Prep defended his title in the 200 IM at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool. (Jay Connor/For The Globe)
By Seth Lakso
Globe Correspondent / February 19, 2011

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After a hiccup in the 200-yard medley relay to start the meet last night, it was business as usual for the St. John’s Prep boys’ team, which won its sixth consecutive Division 1 state title.

Lincoln-Sudbury started the meet with a stunning upset of the defending state champions in the 200 medley, edging the Eagles by 0.12 of a second in a race St. John’s Prep led at the start.

The final lap was between juniors Ryan Fleming of Lincoln-Sudbury and Brendan Sweeney of St. John’s Prep. Sweeney had a slight edge but on the home stretch, Fleming’s final kick (1:36.04) bested Sweeney (1:36.16) in a finish that looked as if it could have gone either way.

“L-S is a championship program,’’ said St. John’s Prep coach Tony Padvaiskas. “They’ve been our biggest competition all year and you know it came down to the touch, they were awesome today. Our guys never lost faith. It’s a long meet, we knew there was time.’’

The Eagles went on to take the next two relays (200 freestyle — 1:27.78; 400 freestyle — 3:11.90) en route to a team score of 249. Lincoln-Sudbury (186.50) finished second and Minnechaug (148) rounded out the top three.

“We took a big risk by putting Caled Bower in the starting position [for the 200 freestyle relay] but he really came through for us,’’ said Padvaiskas.

The turning point for the Eagles came in the 200 individual medley, and again the race became a showdown between Lincoln-Sudbury and St. John’s Prep. Prep junior Ryan Fortin and Lincoln-Sudbury senior Tim Storer were neck-and-neck the entire race. This time it was St. John’s Prep coming out on top in another finish too close to call, as Fortin (1:55.15) had to knock a full second off his state championship time in 2010 to best Storer (1:55.62).

Wiktor Karpinski of Minnechaug took home the 200 freestyle and continued his assault in the freestyle events, edging Aaron Athanas (47.78) of St. John’s Prep by .02 of a second in the 100 freestyle in the meet’s tightest finish.

Junior Matt Tynan of Westford defended his 500 freestyle title in grand fashion, demolishing the competition with a time of 4:35.03.

Michael Normoyle of Minnechaug won the 100 breaststroke in 57.40. Fortin took second in 57.85.

Ryan Shelley of Lincoln-Sudbury defended his diving title (542.50). Joe Dowling of BC High took second (434.15).

“Every win is different,’’ Padvaiskas said. “This one was different from last week’s. It’s awesome.’’

In a fitting end, the Eagles took home the 400 freestyle relay (3:11.90) in the last event of the night, with Lincoln-Sudbury finishing second.