The Chaminade swimming and diving team has added some hardware for the school’s trophy case.
The Red Devils finished fourth and set two school records in the recent Class 1 state swimming and diving meet at the Rec-Plex in St. Peters.
All three of Chaminade’s relay teams finished second. Senior Jeffrey Garlich also finished second in the 50 free with a time of 21.37 seconds. He swam to a time of 21.10 on the anchor leg of the 200 medley relay.
Chaminade finished fourth with 199 points behind Glendale, Cape Girardeau Central and Park Hill South. The result marked the first time that the Red Devils placed in the top four in state and received a trophy since 2009.
Coach Keith Mug said his squad was thrilled with how well it performed at state.
“I have never seen my team more excited of their accomplishments,” Mug said. “Winning a trophy was icing on the cake for a strong state meet wear almost every single time we swam we had a personal best.”
It was a solid season for Chaminade. The Red Devils enjoyed a good regular season going 14-1 in dual meets. The teams also earned a fifth-place finish at the Como Invitational at the University of Missouri.
They were ready for the state meet.
“The team worked extremely hard this year,” Mug said. “The boys were feeling good after their taper and I knew they were ready to swim their best.
“We had expectations to finish higher than last year when we finished eighth at state. We were bringing a team of six guys to swim at state and five of them were seniors. We knew that we had a great opportunity to bring home a state trophy. We knew everyone would have to do their best to get there.”
Garlich may have exceeded expectations by finishing second in the 50 free.
“Jeffrey had an outstanding meet to top off a great year. He came into the year swimming well and we had high expectations for him,” Mug said. “However, I don’t think anyone expected him to finish second in the 50 freestyle at state. He dropped almost a second from his best time.”
The 200-yard medley team came in second in 1 minute, 36.59 seconds. That time sets a school record. Relay members were freshman Josh Schultz, senior Andrew O’Brien, senior Colin Fitzgerald and Garlich.
“The 200 yard medley was exceptional. We knew the relay had a chance to go under a 1:38,” Mug said. “We were seeded first going into (the) final. On (second day) we dropped more time in our 200 medley relay. We just got touched out by Cape Central, but couldn’t complain with our result. We set a school record in the event and had outstanding swims by all the guys.”
The 200 yard free relay was second in 1:28 56. Relay members were Garlich, Fitzgerald, senior Xavier Torres and senior Ben Covington.
“This was the same group of guys who swam this event last year at State and finished third,” Mug said. “This year they bested their time and finish second. They were about a second off a school record.”
The 400 free relay also was second. The relay’s time was 3:11.19 and that set a school record. Boys on the relay were Garlich, Schultz, O’Brien and Covington.
“The 400 freestyle relay was outstanding,” Mug said. “It was a school record and an extremely fast time. We were very excited by everyone’s individual splits.”
Several other Red Devils also did well at state, Mug said.
“All six of our swimmers competing at state placed in the top 16 for every event they swim,” Mug said. “Andrew O’Brien finished in the top eight into events of 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Freshman Josh Schultz finish sixth overall in the 200 IM and was the only freshman to place top eight in the class one state meet. He also placed in the top 16 in the 100 backstroke and was a member of to relay teams.”
Mug was pleased with his Chaminade diver as well.
“An overlooked aspect of our team at state was our diver Joe Donlin. We had high expectations for Joe this year and he didn’t let us down,” Mug said. “After not making the first cut last year in the diving competition, he came back and finished 10th this year. Unfortunately for Joe he failed one of his early dives. It was remarkable that he was able to bounce back shake it off and still finish 10th.”
Graduation will hit Chaminade hard. Only one swimmer will return from this year’s state team.
“We were a senior heavy team this year,” Mug said. “It will be hard to place this high in state next year. However, we have some strong swimmers coming up through the ranks that are capable of similar results in the future.”
Still, Mug is optimistic about what lies ahead for the swimming and diving Red Devils.
“We believe that we have a recipe that works for our swimmers and have seen these guys grow so much over the past four years,” Mug said. “We will continue to have expectations for our program.”