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Championship week: Boston City League swimming preview

Posted by Metro Desk  February 2, 2014 04:51 PM

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Perennial favorite Latin Academy will look to earn its seventh-straight Boston City League swimming championship title Wednesday at Madison Park High School. The Dragons will take on City League rivals O’Bryant and East Boston at 3:30 p.m.

“I just think what I’ve geared the team towards is to peak at this time of year,” Latin Academy coach Mark Thomas said.

The Latin Academy coed swim team has won 22 of the 23 City League championships ever held. The continued success stems from a constant influx of young, eager swimmers and a schedule of non-league meets that provide tough competition.

The Dragons posted an impressive 7-3 record this season, racking up wins against Arlington Catholic, Somerville, St. Mary’s and Matignon. The Dragons’ most recent meet was a hard-fought 86-82 loss to Catholic Memorial on Jan. 30.

Despite dominating the City League this season, Thomas said he thinks “there’s going to be a number of close races” in Wednesday’s meet.

“The very first event, the 200-yard medley relay, I think all three teams in the city, Latin Academy, O’Bryant and East Boston can finish within a second [of each other],” he said.

Thomas added that he thinks the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke will be tightly-contested races. Dragons senior captains Colby Cahill and Cristian Mojica will most likely vie for the victory in the backstroke.

O’Bryant sophomore Justin Chung will lead the way for the Bulldogs. In a matchup with Latin Academy earlier this season, Chung won the 100-yard breaststroke in a speedy 1:08.

“O’Bryant has probably the top swimmer in the city,” Thomas said of Chung. “Whatever he will be swimming that day, he’ll be the person to beat.”

While Latin Academy stands as the front-runner to capture another title, the O’Bryant and East Boston squads also had successful seasons.

“It is going to be very, very close between East Boston and O’Bryant,” Thomas said.

O’Bryant fared well against non-league competitors this year, topping Matignon, Somerville and St. Mary’s. East Boston enters the championship meet coming off of a tight 88-81 victory over Somerville on Jan. 29.

Latin Academy will swim one more time before the title meet. The Dragons will take on O’Bryant Monday and Thomas said he will use the meet as a final tune-up for the championship.

“We’ve swum them once already,” Thomas said. “I’ll be swimming a lot of my kids in different events so I can get a look at them.”

After Monday’s contest, Thomas will know what swimmers will compete in each event in the championship meet and will set a lineup that gives Latin Academy the best chance to defend the City League crown. Latin Academy’s talent and depth make them the obvious team to beat Wednesday, but if East Boston and O’Bryant post the best swims of the season, at the end of the day the Dragons could be dethroned.

Originally published on the blog The High School Sports Blog.

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