ATLANTIC CITY - Atlantic City High School set the tone early in a 93-77 win over Mainland Regional in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference girls swim meet Monday.
The Vikings, who improved to 7-0, won 10 of the 11 events and clinched the conference title. It's the second CAL American title in program history; they first won the championship in the 2009-10 season.
Atlantic City, which is ranked third in The Press Elite 11, took the first two events, but No. 4 Mainland touched second and third to stay close.
Things began to change when Atlantic City senior Dominique Voso finished second in the 200-meter individual medley in 2 minutes, 29.99 seconds behind teammate and three-time Press Swimmer of the Year Colleen Callahan.
Callahan's 2:22.49 broke her own school record, 2:22.52 set in 2011, but it was Voso's performance that got the Vikings rolling.
The 17-year old Margate resident caught up with Mainland senior Sydney Boswell in the breaststroke leg and overtook her in the freestyle.
"Sydney Boswell is the best swimmer on their team," Atlantic City coach Bill Howarth said. "She's a great, great backstroker and in the IM. Voso has been getting better and better in her butterfly. When she overtook Sydney on the last length and gave us that 1-2, that was a really big bump in the meet for us and really pumped us up. We just kept rolling from there."
Voso also made an impact after the break when she finished second to Atlantic City freshman Amber Glenn in the 400 freestyle. Glenn, who also won the 200 freestyle, finished in 4:34.06 and Voso second in 4:35.79 to give Atlantic City a 62-48 lead. Voso and Glenn both got right back in the pool to lead Atlantic City's winning 200 freestyle relay (1:54.86) and give the Vikings their biggest lead of the meet 72-52.
"(The second place finish in the 200 IM) really got the adrenaline flowing and it got the whole team pumped up," Voso said. "It made us all ready to swim fast, and everybody on the team swam great today. Nobody had a bad race."
Mainland (7-1) , which won back-to-back conference titles in 2011 and 2012, avoided a sweep when Boswell beat Atlantic City senior Ayana Cox in the 100 backstroke. Boswell won in 1:08.40, followed by Cox in 1:08.75.
But Atlantic City took the final two events to clinch the win, including Rachel Kessler's 100 breaststroke victory in 1:19.71.
Cox and Glenn joined seniors Elvia Alvarez and Melissa Toy to win the 400 freestyle relay in 4:11.96. Earlier in the meet, Cox took the 50 freestyle and Toy the 100 freestyle.
Alvarez, Cox, Callahan, Toy and Voso were freshmen when the Vikings first won the conference title and were eager at the beginning of the season to win another before graduation.
"We knew it was going to be close and we didn't want to leave anything to chance, so we just swam as fast as we could," said Toy, a 17-year old Ventnor resident. "I am so happy that I was able to do it again with all my other seniors. It's so great to end on a high note."
Howarth said Atlantic City's goals don't end with the conference title. The Vikings are looking toward another South Jersey Public A title, which they also first won in the 2009-10 season.
Those same seniors who pulled together as freshman are now leaders.
"We have 32 swimmers, 23 of them are freshmen and sophomores," Howarth said. "We have a lot of really great seniors, but we do have a young team and a lot of them grew up today. This is going to be a jump start for the playoffs. They gained a lot of experience today against a really good team."
Contact Kelly Ashe:
At Atlantic City, meters
200 Medley Relay-AC (Cox, Callahan, Voso, Kessler) 2:06.97; 200 Freestyle-Glenn AC 2:12.05; 200 IM-Callahan AC 2:22.49; 50 Freestyle-Cox AC 27.99; 100 Butterfly-Callahan 1:07.07; 100 Freestyle-Toy AC 1:02.19; 400 Freestyle-Glenn AC 4:34.06; 200 Freestyle Relay-AC (Voso, Glenn, Callahan, Toy) 1:54.86; 100 Backstroke-Sy. Boswell 1:08 40; 100 Breaststroke-Kessler AC 1:19.71; 400 Freestyle Relay-AC (Cox, Glenn, Alvarez, Toy) 4:11.96.
Records-Mainland 7-1, A.C. 7-0.