Seven-year county reign ends for Pilots

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. — All good things must come to an end. 

But it was mighty impressive while it lasted.

Macomb Dakota ended De La Salle Collegiate's seven-year reign at the Macomb County Swimming and Diving Championships, taking home the 2020 trophy after winning seven events and finishing with 397 team points. 

Chippewa Valley was second with 291.5 points, followed by Anchor Bay (254.5), Lakeview (211), and the Pilots, who accumulated 187 team points to finish fifth overall.

The Cougars won five individual events and brought home victories in both the 200 and 400-meter relays. Chippewa Valley, which won the 200 medley relay, captured two total events. Lakeview (two), Anchor Bay, and De La Salle all took home event wins.

The Pilots' win came in the 100 backstroke, where sophomore Max Swiatkowski edged Chippewa Valley's Zach Wheeler by a mere one one-hundredths of a second. Swiatkowski's time was 54.60, good enough for his state cut. Swiatkowski also finished fourth in the 100 freestyle.

De La Salle's best event was diving, where junior Joseph Basha and senior Justin Burke finished second and third overall. Basha, the defending county champion, scored 421.05 points, not far behind Anchor Bay's Adam Schmehl (433.25). Burke scored 365.25 points to earn a medal.

The 400 freestyle relay team finished third overall. That foursome included Swiatkowski, freshman Carson Ricker, senior Gianluca Cavataio, and junior Juan DiCosmo. Their time of 3:32.10 fell short of the state cut but was good enough to qualify them for the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches' Association meet next weekend.

Both DiCosmo and Ricker also earned top-8 medals individually. DiCosmo finished third in the 200 individual medley and sixth in the 100 butterfly. Ricker was eighth in both the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke events. 

Sophomore Michael Paluch earned a medal in the 200 IM, finishing eighth overall. 

Paluch was one of four more Pilots to swim in the consolation finals (9th-16th place). Paluch finished 12th overall in the 100 breaststroke. Senior Isaiah Brundidge was 13th and Cavataio 14th in the 100 butterfly. And senior Dario Bruglio finished 14th in the 100 breaststroke.

The team's 200 freestyle relay team of Brundidge, Paluch, Cavataio, and junior Jack Lubinski was 12th overall.

Others competing for the Pilots included John Kafoury, Jr.. in the 50 freestyle and sophomore Brady McKay in the 100 breaststroke.

"The boys swam really good for being exhausted from training," De La Salle head coach Jim Singelyn said. 

This year, De La Salle qualified in all three relays and in 16 individual events. By comparison, the Pilots qualified for all three relays and had 36 additional event entries at last year's championships, in which they edged Dakota for their seventh straight county title.

De La Salle will be back in action this upcoming Thursday (Feb. 13), when it will travel to Chippewa Valley to take on the Big Reds.

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