St. Augustine Prep swimmer Dillon McHugh set school and meet records this year as he led the Hermits to an 11-2 mark and the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference title.
The senior swam consistently, breaking records early, at midseason and on the final day on March 5 at the state individual swimming championships, commonly called the Meet ot Champions.
McHugh is The Press Boys Swimmer of the Year.
"It feels good. It's a nice surprise," said McHugh, 18, a Sicklerville resident. "I was happy with the way I swam. I swam well all the time. But I wasn't the only one who did. The (400-yard freestyle relay) team broke the state record by two seconds."
McHugh had the team's fastest split of 46.21 seconds as the Prep's 400 relay finished second at the Meet of Champions in 3 minutes, 7.45 seconds. The old meet mark was 3:09.32 by St. Joseph of Metuchen in 1988. But Pingry School won the race in 3:06.68.
McHugh twice broke the school record in the 100-yard backstroke, a mark previously held by 2007 graduate Mike Joyce, a former Press Boys Swimmer of the Year who just completed his career at the University of Florida. McHugh swam a 58.14 in meters in a 118-58 win over Vineland on Dec. 14. It set the mark of 52.33 when converted into yards. St. Augustine school records are kept in yards. Joyce's old school mark was 52.39.
McHugh bettered that on Jan. 29 when he won the 100-yard backstroke in a meet-record 52.26 at the South Jersey Coaches' meet.
"Mike sent me a Facebook message congratulating me," McHugh said. "I like the fact that you can breathe all the time in the backstroke. I've done it since I was little."
The St. Augustine senior also anchored the 400 freestyle relay in meet records at the Coaches' meet (3:11.93, yards) and at the Cape-Atlantic League Individual Meet (3:35.70, meters).
McHugh will join older brother Brendan as a swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania next year. Brendan McHugh was a three-time Meet of Champions breaststroke winner and The Press Boys Co-Swimmer of the Year in 2008.
"I really liked Penn when I visited," Dillon McHugh said. "Getting an education means a lot to me because I want to be successful. I want to be a surgeon. It will be good to swim with my brother. I know all the guys on the team."
Contact Guy Gargan: