BANGOR, Maine — “I think the girls swam the best they have all season. Most of the girls swam their best times. That is I want for them this time of the year,” exclaimed Bangor High coach Cindy Howard following her team’s Penobscot Valley Conference win Saturday at Husson University.
The Rams scored 284 points while Mount Desert Island High accumulated 274.5. Other teams scores were: Foxcroft Academy 195.5, Brewer 146, Orono 106, Ellsworth 105, John Bapst 83, Hampden 60, Presque Isle 54, Old Town 35, Washington Academy of East Machias 22, Bangor Christian 20 and George Stevens of Blue Hill 4.
Based on the entries, the meet projected to be a one- to four-point difference between MDI and Bangor.
“During the meet I told them to keep their heads up, stay focused and have fun,” Howard commented.
Bangor’s momentum sparked with the one-meter diving when Ashley Higgins and Megan Rowe finished first and second while teammates Julie Clifford and Chelsea Hardy scored fourth and fifth.
“They performed awesome. They help so much,” Howard added.
Finishing with four of the top five spots in the 11-dive competition, the Rams rolled to a 143-98.5 lead over MDI after the diving. Brewer’s Martina Bosse placed third.
And, while coach Tony DeMuro’s MDI team persistently attempted to overtake the Rams in the meet’s second-half events, Howard’s team consistently came through with strong swims when needed.
Howard pointed out that the second-half performances of her swimmers in the 100 butterfly, 200 free relay, 100 back, and 400 free relay energized her team.
In the 100 butterfly, Meri Wicks, seeded eighth, finished fourth with a four-second time drop from her entry time. Teammates Taylor Rogers and Tynesha Dias also scored.
In the backstroke, it again was Wicks, as the Rams’ sophomore moved from 15th to fifth.
“She was on fire. Today, she was our secret weapon,” Howard admitted.
Bangor’s 200 free relay (Dominque Comeau, Wicks, Lacey Hernandez and Casey Pray) moved from third to second, nipping Brewer by only three-tenths of a second and in the 400 free relay (Jenny Dickson, Pray, Wicks and Alyssa Reardon) swam quickly, lowering their time by four seconds to finish second.
But, it was Bangor freshman Reardon who offered the first inkling that the Rams intended to swim well. Seeded third in the meet’s second event, the 200 free, Reardon came back in the second half of the eight-length race to win the gold in (2:07.0), a six-second time drop.
Bangor won the team gold yet MDI garnered six individual golds, including the three relays, 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free. In the relays the Trojans not only won but, in the medley, they were the only team under 2 minutes. In the 200 free relay they were the only team under 1:50, and in the 400 free relay they were the only team under 4 minutes.
Amelia Keif, seeded second in the 100 free, was first into the turn and led at the 50 mark and won for MDI with a two-second time drop. In the 100 breaststroke, an event where Orono’s Veronica Wallace Ewing took the race out quick 34.8, teammate Ryann Rourk swam a strong third and fourth length to win for MDI.
Chelsey Curran, MDI’s speedy backstroker, stroked a particularly impressive time of 1:00.8 for another MDI gold, only tenths away from the PVC record and pool record.
Finishing in second place in the 100 back and displaying a smooth and efficient stroke was Amber Murray of Foxcroft, who lowered her time four seconds to finish at 1:03.2.
The meet’s only record came in the 100 butterfly when Brewer foreign exchange student Alice Ruiu easily cruised to the 59.9 win, 2½ seconds ahead of Orono’s talented Lauren Dwyer. Ruiu, who trains and swims meters in her native Italy, won the 200 IM (2:15) and was one of two swimmers to win two individual events.
The other double individual winner, CeCe McEachern of Ellsworth, easily won the 50 free by a second and she was the lone swimmer of 105 in the field to finish under 26 seconds (25.9). Then, showing her versatility, the Ellsworth freshman won the meet’s longest event, the 500 free, with an eight-second improvement on her seed time and finished at 5:33.4.
Bangor’s Reardon collected second.