Catholic Central sets five records en route to CHSL boys swim title

Allen Park Cabrini has two qualifiers in the state swim and dive championship meet March 14: Evan Trohimczyk in the 50-yard freestyle and, for her third time, diver Grace Sabo. (Photo by Joe Elden | Special to Detroit Catholic)

LIVONIA — Records are meant to be broken.

That’s exactly what Novi Detroit Catholic Central did Saturday in winning its third  straight CHSL boys swim and dive championship.

The Shamrocks set five new records among seven first-place finishes.

Senior Conor Brownell was involved in three records and Mario McDonald, also a senior, in four — individually and on relay teams.

Brownell, who will swim for Oakland University next year, set new school, Livonia Recreation Center pool, and CHSL records with his 48.57 clocking in the 100-yard butterfly.

He kept the record in Catholic Central’s possession. The previous record-holder was Shamrocks alumnus Jack Walsh, 49:04 in 2015.

“Before the race,” Brownell said, “this being my last swim wearing CC colors, I wanted to go all out. When I touched the wall and saw the 48, I was in sheer disbelief.”

McDonald, committed to Ohio State, set records in two events by the narrowest of margins: the 50-yard freestyle in 20.74, four-hundredths better than Brother Rice’s Gust Kouvaris’ 20.78 in 2015, and 46.02 in the 100 freestyle, three-hundredths under 46.05 by Warren De La Salle’s Zach Milke in 2018.

They each took a turn in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. They were joined by senior Brian Hussey and junior Dallas Fisher in the 200 that finished in 1:25.41, a minute off the record of 1:26.42 set in 2014 by the Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice quartet of Gust Kouvaris, Brad Jones, Mark Blinstrub and Joe Krause.

Coach Jessica Stoddard poses with Catholic Central’s 400-meter relay team — Mario McDonald, Brian Hussey, Matthew Kozma and Conor Brownell — who set one of five records the Shamrocks rewrote winning the CHSL championship. McDonald, Hussey and Brownell with Dallas Fisher  also set a new 200 relay time. McDonald turned in record 50 and 100 freestyle races and Brownell in the 100 butterfly. (Photo by Mike Mousigian | Special to Detroit Catholic)

In the 400 relay, junior Matthew Kozma joined Brownlee, McDonald and Hussey for a record 3:06.09 to reset another Brother Rice-held mark of 3:09.12 in 2016 by Patrick Olmsted, Tim Page, Mason Wilczewski and Drew Grady.

Catholic Central’s other winners were senior August Thielking (Kalamazoo College) in the 200-yard individual medley and junior Joey Dombkowski in the 100 breaststroke.

University of Detroit Jesuit won three events: the 200 medley relay (Drew Collins-Rudy Stonisch-Cooper Drouillard-Charlie Bruce), Drouillard the 500 freestyle and Collins the 100 backstroke.

Junior Elijah Venos was a Brother Rice winner in the 200 freestyle.

Junior Joey Basha of Warren De La Salle won the diving event.

Allen Park Cabrini wound up last in the seven-team field more than 400 points behind the Shamrocks, but there was much jubilation that two members of its small roster qualified for the state finals March 14 — senior Evan Trohimczyk in the 50 freestyle and senior Grace Sabo in diving.

“This is Grace’s third time,” photographer Joe Elden pointed out. Elden, whose granddaughter, Lily Heath, swam on Cabrini’s seventh-place 200 and 400 relay teams, is a former basketball coach at Wyandotte Mt. Carmel and Riverview Gabriel Richard.

Catholic Central won the Oakland County swim championship in February for the third straight year.

The Shamrocks will be seeking their first-ever state swim title March 14 after finishing runner-up a year ago.

The team standings: Catholic Central 568 points, U-D Jesuit 444, Brother Rice 365, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 202, DeLaSalle 173, Ann Arbor Fr. Richard/Greenhills 166, and Cabrini 104.

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected]An earlier version of this story misidentified Evan Trohimczyk.