Roy-Hart has a rich history of N-O swim titles

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 17 January 2021 at 10:14 am

Contributed Photo – Roy-Hart swimmers celebrate their first ever win over Akron which keyed the Channel Cats to their first Niagara-Orleans League swim championship during the 1978-79 season.

On Monday Roy-Hart’s boys and girls swim teams will begin practice to defend their Niagara-Orleans League championships.

The Channel Cats in fact have compiled a very rich history of title seasons over the N-O League’s first 45 years of swim competition.

Last year’s title was the 20th for the boys team and the fifth for the girls squad.

In addition, the Channel Cats claimed four titles during the N-O League’s early years of co-ed team swim competition (1976-86).

Roy-Hart’s first N-O title came during the 1978-79 season keyed by two victories over rival Akron, which had claimed the league’s first three championships going undefeated each year.

The Channel Cats capped off the historic season by winning five events at the All-League meet. John Ramming, who won the 100 Backstroke and Mark Willard, who took the 200 Individual Medley, were also both members of both the winning 200 Medley and 400 Freestyle Relays.

When the league split into separate boys and girls teams during the 1986-87 season the Roy-Hart boys went undefeated (10-0) to capture the championship as again two wins over runner-up Akron (8-2) proved to be the difference.

Again the Channel Cats capped off the season in a big way winning nine of 11 events at the All-League meet. Mike Treadway doubled in the IM and 100 Butterfly and Mark Whalen in Diving and the Backstroke while Ben McDonald took the 50 Free, Brian Austin the 500 Free and Matt Derry the 100 Breaststeoke. Brian and Matt Austin were also both members of the winning 200 Medley and 400 Free Relay teams.

The boys squad went on to win the N-O title six of the next seven years.

Roy-Hart later would claim a league record 11 straight N-O boys championships from the 2006-2007 season to the 2016-17 campaign. The Channel Cats went 109-0 during that memorable run.

Roy-Hart’s most unusual title though came during the league’s final season of co-ed team competition (1985-86).

The Channel Cats shared the crown that season with Starpoint at 9-1. The co-championship resulted from Starpoint’s premature victory celebration in a key late season meet at Roy-Hart.

Trailing 40-33, Starpoint had sprinted to a 1-2 finish in the final relay for an apparent 42-41 victory to remain undefeated. However, before the final relay quartets could reach the finish line several over enthusiastic Starpoint team members jumped into the pool to celebrate the apparent title clinching victory. It was a disastrous victory plunge though as all of Starpoint’s entrants in the event were disqualified allowing Roy-Hart to earn a bizarre 42-41 victory which resulted in the teams sharing the N-O crown.

Now the defending champion Roy-Hart boys and girls teams are scheduled to begin defense of their title on January 28 in what is planned to be a season of virtual meets.