Teams ready for top competition in state meets

Posted Feb. 11, 2010, at 11:09 p.m.

When Benjamin Franklin invented the swim fin in 1716 he probably never envisioned its training utility for competitive swimmers. But, Maine’s interscholastic swimmers have packed away the swim fins for this year as the racers are tapered and rested for the Class A and Class B state meets.

On Monday, the Class A boys’ championship will be swum at Bowdoin College and the Class A girls’ will be on Tuesday. On Saturday, at the University of Maine, the Class B boys’ race while the girls race Monday at UMaine.

The Class A boys’ meet projects as a Scarborough-Bangor chase for the team title. Scarborough not only won the Southwestern meet but outscored three-time defending champion Greely by 40 points in the win. However, Phil Emery’s Bangor squad has talent and depth. Taylor Wicks and Joey Quinn have shown the ability to race with some of Maine’s fastest this season and diver Timmy Smith scored 400 points in his 11 dive-competition at the PVC meet and remains unbeaten this year. Ihan Cameron, Ian Kasprazak and Sam Barnett have emerged as tough competitive racers for the Rams. And, as Mount Desert Island’s Tony DeMuro assessed the Rams before the last week’s PVC meet, “Phil has his depth back his year.”

“The meet appears to be a dead heat. We need to settle it in the pool,” said Emery, who has guided Bangor teams to 40 state meets, following a review of the possible entries. “We are excited. We love to race. We look forward to state meets.”

Emery acknowledged the importance of relays in the state-meet plan. “Relay decisions are hard to read. We will make our final decisions Monday.” The pre meet entries seed Scarborough first in the 200-medley relay (1:41.5), the 200 free relay (1:32.5) and the 400 free relay (3:26.8). However, as Emery pointed out, coaches have until the day of the state meet to commit to relay lineups. Relays score double the points of individual events.

The meet also will showcase Maine’s fastest swimmer regardless of class, James Wells of Morse High. Wells, who has accepted a scholarship to attend Indiana University next year, has been entered in the 200 individual medley (1:56.3) and the 100 backstroke (50.7). Actually, Bangor’s Wicks is seeded second to Wells in the 100 back.

In the A girls’ meet, Scarborough is the top seed in five of the 12 events and Morse is seeded first in three. Bangor divers Ashley Higgins and Meg Rowe are seeded first and second, respectively in the 11-dive competition. As a matter of fact, PVC divers dominate the top seeds in the diving with Brewer’s Martina Bosse the third seed. Rams’ Julie Clifford and Chelsea Hardy are seeded fourth and fifth, respectively. Bosse’s teammate Alice Ruiu, who will compete in her first state meet, is the second seed in the 100 butterfly and the third seed in the 200 freestyle.

The Greely Rangers of Cumberland Center, based on their dual meet season and their performance at the conference meet, the Southwestern Championship, appear to be talented, fast, and deep and are expected to race for championships in both Class B meets.

In the girls’ Southwestern, coach Rob Hale’s Greely team clocked a 3:42.8400 free relay, the state’s fastest 400 free relay this year.

And, the boys finished second in their Southwestern meet to a particularly talented Scarborough team that broke a 31-year Southwestern record in the 200 medley relay with a 1:41.5.

Reflecting on his team’s racing at last week’s Penobscot Valley Conference meet and analyzing his team’s training preparing for championships, DeMuro offered, “I feel really good about where we are. I like the way it has gone. We are excited about the opportunity.”

MDI’s Ian Carbone, one of the state’s elite swimmers this season, holds the first seed in the 200 individual medley (2:00.8) and the 100 breaststroke (1:01.2). And, in the relays, the Trojans have the fastest entry times. Greely, on the other hand, is first in the 50 free, first and second in the 100 freestyle and in the freestyle relays is closely seeded behind the Trojans.

“This is what we train for. This is when we let it all go,” explained DeMuro. “You want it to end with a big smile on your face.”

Other local swimmers seeded among the Class B leaders include Old Town’s Robbie Bickford (200 free and 500 free), Ellsworth’s Travis Dennison (200 free and 100 butterfly), Foxcroft’s Seth Oldfield (200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke), Orono’s Cameron Dwyer (50 free and 100 back), Hampden’s Dillon Brown (50 free) and Keith Chandler (100 fly) a teammate of Dennison’s.

Meanwhile in the girls’ Class B meet, Lauren Dwyer of Orono, Chelsey Curran of Mount Desert, CeCe McEachern of Ellsworth, Amber Murray of Foxcroft Academy and diver Julianne Labreque of Orono offered evidence at last week’s PVC championship that they are ready to race and dive for the medal finishes.

All four state meets will follow a trials and finals format. In addition to a team and runnerup award, the MPA meets also recognize the outstanding performer of the competition.

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