ATLANTIC CITY - The Vineland High School boys swimming team, led by sophomore Eddie Parks, won races like its glory years from the 1970s to 1990s at the 15th annual Frank Forde Cape-Atlantic League Individual Swimming Championships on Thursday.
The Atlantic City girls team, featuring senior Colleen Callahan and freshman Amber Glenn, added to their current stature.
Parks won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.50 seconds and the 100 butterfly in 58.23 to become the boys high points winner.
He also teamed with Johnny Malatesta, Mark Novatorskiy and Michael Ruberti to win the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
"It feels amazing," Parks, 16, said. "All the brutal hours of hard work have paid off. I want to take the momentum and carry it to the team for the playoffs. We're trying to re-accomplish Vineland High School pride."
Vineland was the area's dominant team in boys swimming from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.
Malatesta also won the 200 individual medley by a foot over Absegami's James Brown. Novatorskiy captured the 100 freestyle.
"We're swimming really well as a team, and it's really showing today," said Novatorskiy, a 15-year-old sophomore.
Malatesta, a 17-year-old junior, added, "We all came here to swim fast. The medley relay set the tempo. It feels really good for us to do this well. Swimmers in our history were really fast, and knowing that we can compete with them or be better is a great feeling."
Callahan and Glenn each won two individual races and were named girls co-high points winners for Atlantic City, No. 1 in The Press Elite 11. Callahan won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly. Glenn was first in the 200 and 400 freestyle.
Callahan won the 200 IM in a school-record 2:22.32. Instead of swimming the 100 breaststroke, her other top event, Callahan returned in the 100 butterfly and won in 1:05.59.
"I swim the fly a lot in dual meets, and I thought this was the chance to change up and do it," said Callahan, a 17-year-old from Ventnor and the three-time Press Girls Swimmer of the Year. "It was good to share the high points award with Amber."
Atlantic City is 10-0 heading into the state playoffs.
"Everyone has been super-positive the whole year," Callahan said. "A lot of girls have stepped up to the plate. We're working hard in practice."
Glenn is the heir-apparent to Callahan for the Vikings. She won the 200 freestyle by two lengths, and easily took the 400 freestyle.
"I try to go out faster than usual (against a field of fast opponents)," said Glenn, 14, of Ventnor. "(Coach Bill Howarth) always says to get out in front of the pack, and that's what I try to do."
Atlantic City senior Melissa Toy won by a length over Ocean City's Noel Styer in the 100 freestyle. Minutes before, the situation was reversed as Styer beat Toy by 0.32 seconds in the 50 freestyle. Toy set school records in both races.
Glenn, Ayana Cox, Callahan and anchor Toy finished up the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay by more than seven seconds in 4:07.74.
The Ocean City girls team continued to show its strength by setting a meet record in the first event, the 200 medley relay. O.C.'s Rachel Chain, Mel Wilezol, Aly Chain and Styer won in 2:02.39.
Styer won the 50 freestyle in 26.94, breaking 27 seconds for the first time.
"I finally did it. Getting under 27 is like a dream come true," said junior Styer, a Longport resident who turns 17 today.
Styer and Ocean City teammates Rachel Chain, Erin Myers and Gabby Breazeale won the 200 freestyle relay. Rachel Chain edged Mainland's Sydney Boswell by 0.49 in the 100 backstroke.
"We came here to show what we got," Styer said.
The other meet record was by Atlantic City's Thien Le, who won the 100 backstroke by just more than a length in 58.35 to break his own record from last year. Le, a junior, beat St. Augustine's Pat Flynn (1:00.33) and Malatesta (1:01.18).
"It feels great to do both (get the meet record and school record)," said Le, 16, an Atlantic City resident. "I took it out pretty well. I looked around a little bit. I knew who was in the race."
Flynn won the 200 freestyle by more than four seconds. Egg Harbor Township's Anthony Czar won the 400 freestyle by more than a length. Rachel Bernhardt took the girls 100 breaststroke, while Absegami's James Brown won his second straight boys 100 breaststroke. In the final race, St. Augustine won the 400 freestyle relay by more than four seconds.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Teams-Absegami, Atlantic City, Buena Regional, Cape May Tech, Cedar Creek, Egg Harbor Township, Holy Spirit, Mainland Regional, Middle Township, Millville, Oakcrest, Ocean City, Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Sacred Heart, St. Augustine Prep, Vineland, Wildwood Catholic. There was no team scoring.
200 Medley Relay-1. OC (Rachel Chain, Mel Wilezol, Aly Chain, Noel Styer) 2:02.39 (meet record-the old mark was 2:03.10 by Vineland in 2006), 2. AC 2:02.72, 3. EHT 2:08.70; 200 Freestyle-1. Amber Glenn AC 2:08.59, 2. Emily Barnard ABS 2:12.11, 3. Kirsten Rontos EHT 2:12.76; 200 IM-1. Colleen Callahan AC 2:22.32, 2. Baily Howarth EHT 2:29.86, 3. A. Chain OC 2:30.13; 50 Freestyle-1. Styer OC 26.94, 2. Melissa Toy AC 27.26, 3. Rachel Bernhardt VINE 27.33; 100 Butterfly-1. Callahan AC 1:05.59, 2. A. Chain OC 1:06.31, 3. Gabby Breazeale OC 1:06.37; 100 Freestyle-1. Toy AC 58.67, 2. Styer OC 59.99, 3. Barnard ABS 1:01.40; 400 Freestyle-1. Glenn AC 4:30.43, 2. Dominque Voso AC 4:48.09, 3. Brittany Ngo EHT 4:57.10 ; 200 Freestyle Relay-1. OC (R. Chain, Erin Myers, Breazeale, Styer) 1:51.54, 2. EHT 1:53.66, 3. OAK 1:54.14; 100 Backstroke-1. R. Chain OC 1:06.55, 2. Sydney Boswell MAIN 1:07.04, 3. Ayana Cox AC 1:08; 100 Breaststroke-1. Bernhardt VINE 1:14.61, 2. Howarth EHT 1:16.54, 3. Rachel Kessler AC 1:18.98; 400 Freestyle Relay-1. AC (Glenn, Cox, Callahan, Toy) 4:07.74, 2. OC 4:14.90, 3. EHT 4:17.51.
200 Medley Relay-1. VINE (Johnny Malatesta, Michael Ruberti, Eddie Parks, Mark Novatorskiy) 1:49.99, 2. AC 1:53.83, 3. SAP 1:56.35; 200 Freestyle-1. Pat Flynn SAP 1:56.48, 2. Steve Buzby MAIN 2:00.96, 3. Novatorskiy VINE 2:01.26; 200 IM-1. Malatesta VINE 2:14.29, 2. James Brown ABS 2:15.13, 3. Carson Rau AC 2:17.72; 50 Freestyle-1. Parks VINE 24.50, 2. TJ Merighi SAP 24.87, 3. Thien Le AC 25.09; 100 Butterfly-1. Parks VINE 58.23, 2. Kyle Risley OAK 1:01.25, 3. Brandon Truong MAIN 1:02.65; 100 Freestyle-1. Novatorskiy VINE 54.55, 2. Nolan Coyle MAIN 55.24, 3. Merighi SAP 55.54; 400 Freestyle-1. Anthony Czar EHT 4:15.77, 2. Buzby MAIN 4:17.37, 3. Kevin Gill OC 4:17.46; 200 Freestyle Relay-1. VINE (Novatorskiy, Ruberti, Malatesta, Parks) 1:38.53, 2. SAP 1:39.02, 3. EHT 1:42.31; 100 Backstroke-1. Le AC 58.35 (meet record-the old mark was 58.63 by Le of AC in 2012), 2. Flynn SAP 1:00.33, 3. Malatesta VINE 1:01.18; 100 Breaststroke-1. Brown ABS 1:09.21, 2. Rau AC 1:10.21, 3. Truong MAIN 1:12.67; 400 Freestyle Relay-1. SAP (Merighi, John Gregory, Sam Newnam, Flynn) 3:45.19, 2. EHT 3:49.38, 3. MAIN 3:50.65.