Egg Harbor Township High School swimmer Anthony Czar worked hard and physically grew into being a standout in the Cape-Atlantic League.
Czar, who's now 6-foot-1, rewrote much of the EHT boys swimming record book this season as he led the Eagles to a 6-4 mark and a No. 10 ranking in the final Press Elite 11.
The senior distance freestyler was the only area boy to win a race at the South Jersey Swimming Association Coaches' Invitational Meet in late January. Czar won the 400-meter freestyle at the Frank Forde CAL Individual Meet in February.
On March 3, he placed fifth in the 500-yard freestyle at the state Individual Swimming Championships at Gloucester County Institute of Technology. The event is commonly called the Meet of Champions. It was the highest individual finish by an area boy at the event.
Czar is The Press Boys Swimmer of the Year.
"Wow, that's awesome," said Czar, 17, when told of the honor. "It feels great. I didn't think anything about that when I was a freshman. I was 5-foot-2 and a lot smaller. I'm much bigger now and I'm definitely moving through the water more efficiently. I'm stronger, and having longer arms gives me more push on a stroke."
Czar finished fifth in the 500-yard freestyle in a school record 4 minutes, 42.64 seconds in day one of the Meet of Champions on March 2. He placed fifth in the state in the 500 final in 4:44.27. He also placed 10th in the 200 freestyle final in 1:43.85, another school mark.
"I was just trying to make it back (to the second day of the meet)," said Czar. "It was really cool to get fifth."
In relays at the MOC, he helped the Eagles place 14th in the 200 freestyle relay and 11th in the 400 freestyle relay. The 200 freestyle relay time of 1:30.11 in day one of the meet was a school mark, and the 400 relay time of 3:17.85 in day two was also a record.
Egg Harbor Township keeps its swimming records in meters, so all those yards times will be converted. The 500-yard relay time converts to 4:08.15 for 400 meters.
The senior also set school meters records in the 400 freestyle and the 50 freestyle (24.76).
"Anthony filled a lot of roles for us, depending on the team matchups," said Mark Jamieson, the coach of the Egg Harbor Township boys and girls teams. "He didn't come right out of the gate (as a freshman), but he physically developed with a great work ethic. He got stronger and taller. He's a great kid, and very supportive of his teammates. He made others better."
At the South Jersey Coaches' Meet at GCIT, Czar won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:45.94 and was second in the 500 freestyle. He won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:15.77 at the CAL Individuals at Atlantic City High School.
Czar will attend New Jersey Institute of Technology on a partial scholarship that's both athletic and academic. The Newark school is Division I in swimming. He'll major in biomedical engineering. He also visited Drexel University (Pa.) and Widener University (Pa.).
"Everything about (NJIT) was good," Czar said. "The coach (Michael Lawson) was great and I really liked the school."
Team of the Year
St. Augustine Prep dominated the CAL American Conference again, winning each meet without a serious challenge. The Prep is one of the CAL's most dominant teams in any sport, winning every meet against CAL opponents since 2003.
The Hermits featured senior Pat Flynn, last year's co-Boys Swimmer of the Year with older brother Jeff. The Hermits (9-2), ranked second all year in The Press Elite 11, lost only to top-ranked Christian Brothers Academy 100-70 in the South Jersey Non-Public A final, and to Salesianum School, a Delaware power, 93-77.
The Prep won its ninth straight team title in Division A at the South Jersey Coaches' Meet.
The Prep featured several good scorers, including seniors T.J. Merighi, Sam Newnam, Sam Sheppard and Brian Dougherty.
Coach of the Year
Jon Stinson, in his seventh year coaching St. Augustine, guided the Hermits to another stellar year. The Hermits had fewer stars than in many previous seasons, but usually won meets with plenty to spare.
Other strong CAL teams sometimes took first place against them in races, but none came close to pulling an upset.
Stinson's Prep teams have won their CAL conferences every year without a loss.
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