Brothers Jeff and Pat Flynn took turns leading the St. Augustine Prep swimming team this winter as the Hermits extended their Cape-Atlantic League dynasty.
The Flynns swim different events, but they've always worked together.
Jeff Flynn, a senior, was the area's top sprint freestyler. Pat, a junior, specialized in distance and the strokes - breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. The two Absecon residents combined with several other good scorers as the Prep remained unbeaten in CAL meets for the ninth straight season.
The Flynn brothers are the The Press' Boys Swimmers of the Year.
"I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather share it with," said Jeff, 18. "I think it's great that we both get the same honor of having the title."
"I think it's really neat," Pat, 17, said. "Usually it doesn't go to two people, especially two brothers. We always try to support each other. I think that's why we're so successful."
The Flynn brothers were together on powerful St. Augustine teams the previous two years, but the graduations of several standout swimmers made them the leaders this winter. The Hermits still dominated the CAL American Conference, winning the title with an 8-0 mark. The most important victory was 108-62 at home against Mainland Regional on Jan. 19.
The Prep was 10-2 overall, having lost only to Salesianum School, of Wilmington, Del., and to St. Joseph of Metuchen in a state Non-Public A semifinal.
"They're a great asset to our team, obviously," St. Augustine coach Jon Stinson said of the Flynn brothers. "They're both very versatile and they're great at the events they excel at. It definitely made things easier knowing how they perform. They were pretty consistent."
Jeff Flynn, the 2011 champion in the 50-yard freestyle at the state individual swimming championships, known as the Meet of Champions, finished fifth in 21.84 seconds on March 4 in that event at Gloucester County Institute of Technology. He also won the 50 and 100 freestyle races at the South Jersey Coaches' Invitational on Jan. 28 at GCIT. Five days later, Flynn swept the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events at the Cape-Atlantic League Individual Championships at Atlantic City High School, setting a meet record of 53.04 in the 100.
"We had some big shoes to fill (after graduations), but we did what we could do and it was enough," Jeff said. "My brother and I always swam together starting from when I was about 8 years old (first for the Atlantic City Aquatic Club and now the Egg Harbor Township Seahawks)."
"I was confident going into the coaches' meet and the CAL meet. I wasn't thrilled with my performance at the state meet, but it was a pretty good year. It was fun."
Jeff intends to swim in college and could make a commitment soon.
Pat placed sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:44.23) and sixth in the 500 freestyle (4:48.30) at the MOC. He also doubled at the CAL meet, winning the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley. With the CAL meet's format, Flynn had less than 15 minutes of rest between races. Flynn also anchored the Hermits' winning 200 freestyle relay at the meet.
"The CAL meet was the first time I did the (200 freestyle and then the IM)," Pat said. "It was something I wanted to try and it worked out in my favor. I do distance (freestyle), but not necessarily. I really like doing the IM and the backstroke."
Team of the Year
St. Augustine remained the area's top team, holding down the No. 2 spot in The Press Elite 11 all year until dropping to fourth at the end. The Flynn brothers and several others helped the Hermits win key meets against Mainland Regional and Egg Harbor Township to retain the CAL American Conference title.
The Hermits topped Moorestown 100-70 on Dec. 21 in a showdown of southern New Jersey powers.
The Prep's lineup was stocked with non-senioris, including juniors TJ Merighi, Sam Sheppard, Sam Newnam and Brian Dougherty, sophomore Matt Taccard, and freshman Colin McHugh.
Coach of the Year
Matt McElroy, in his sixth year, coached the Cape May Tech Hawks (8-1) to the first Cape-Atlantic League National Conference title in the program's history. Tech went 8-0 in the conference, including the team's first win over Holy Spirit, 107-63 on Dec. 9.
"It's a huge honor, said McElroy, 30, of Cape May Court House. "It's awesome to join a group like (past Coach of the Year winners) Jon Stinson, Brian Booth and Mike Schiavo. So much of it has to do with athletes working hard. That determines how good you'll be. My athletes love swimming and they work hard."
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