No matter how loud it got at Wednesday’s Boston City League Swimming Championship at Madison Park, Latin Academy coach Mark Thomas stood calm even as his team held up the first-place trophy for the sixth straight year.
The Dragons won all three relay events, as well as the 200 and 50 freestyle. At the time of the 50 freestyle (the fourth event), the Dragons already had a 23-point cushion. The win was the 22d for Latin Academy in the last 23 years.
“We were 7-4 [this season]. We had four losses, but every single one of those losses were 10 points or less,” Thomas said. “We swam against two all-male teams, [Catholic Memorial] and Malden Catholic.”
The Dragons, a co-ed team, scored 130 points to top O’Bryant (77) and East Boston (64). Although Thomas was proud of his swimmers, the coach of 33 years was not complacent.
“A couple of things that I thought would go our way today didn’t,” he said. “I was really pleased in the 50 free for [Kevin Zhang] but I honestly thought he could turn it around and do it again in the 100. He fought a good race and he lost to Justin Chung from O’Bryant, but it was a great race and great meet.”
The freshman Chung beat sophomore Zhang by just .44 seconds.
In Zhang’s win in the 50 free, Thomas said his sophomore’s great start and turn was the key.
“It took a lot of work to get here. I listened to coach Mark. It’s really surprising I won today,” Zhang said.
Zhang was also on the 200- and 400-freestyle relay teams. He was joined in the 200 by sophomore Matteo Grando, who also won the 100 breaststroke in 1 minute, 12.52 seconds. The others on the 200 relay were Sydney McGrath and Ashley Hickey.
The 400 relay team of Zhang, Colby Cahill, Cristian Mojica, and Olivia McGrath won in 4:10.88.
“The relays really do kind of make the race, because it’s more like [a] team,” Grando said. “You feel the urge to win more because of the team you’re with. Winning is a great feeling and I think winning with three of your teammates is even better.”