“I think [this championship] is unique. We climb the same mountain, but each year we climb with a new crew and develop a new chemistry. It is exciting to see the team come out of these meets so proud,” explained Bangor High swim coach Phil Emery after his team won the Class A championship Monday, the school’s 26th title and 25th in his coaching tenure.
“I think the racing was really good for all the teams at this meet. All of our swimmers qualified where they were seeded or moved up,” Emery added.
“The events that concerned me the most prior to the meet were the relays. I thought Scarborough might clobber us in the relays,” the Ram coach said.
Instead, the Rams outscored Scarborough by two points in the three relay events. While the Rams finished second in the 200 medley relay, Emery noted the importance of the relay’s performance.
“Our medley relay had a terrific swim. It set the tone,’ he said.
Racing for the Rams in the relay were Taylor Wicks, Sam Barnett Ian Kasprazak and Joey Quinn. Actually, Bangor anchor swimmer Quinn had the fastest anchor leg of any of the anchor swimmers. (22.02 seconds).
“Joey had a wonderful state meet. He was there to race. I am telling you, he was there to race,” Emery said.
Quinn also finished second in the 200 free (1:47.5) and second in the 100 free (48.9). His 200 free time was a 4½-second improvement from his trial swim.
Wicks, who swam in the 200 individual medley and the l00 backstroke in addition to the medley and 200 free relays, set a BHS record in the 100 backstroke (53.90), lowering the record he set a week earlier in the PVCs. Barnett had what his coach identified as a “significant drop” in the 100 breaststroke, 1:05 to 1:02 to finish second.
Diver Tim Smith collected the Rams’ only individual gold and in doing so became the ninth Bangor High diver to win a gold medal in a state meet. The first medal was won in 1965 by Steve Abbott.
“He dived really well. Tim put in a lot of hard work. He was validated,” explained BHS diving coach Jarret Lizzotte.
In the 11-dive program, Lizzotte particularly noted Smith’s 10th dive — a back 1½ somersault with 1½ twists on which he scored 5½s — as the dive that separated Smith and the field.
In speaking of his team’s win, Emery concluded, “It was really a case where the front line and the depth were moving parts that all functioned together.”
In the Class B girls state meet, one of the meet’s truly outstanding swims came in the 200 free relay where Chelsey Curran, anchoring the 200 free relay for Mount Desert Island, split 24.4, the fastest split from any of the 32 swimmers who competed in the evening’s 200 free relay finals.
And, in the boys Class B state meet, Old Town’s Rob Bickford closed his interscholastic career with a remarkable 200 free race. The talented freestyler dropped six seconds from his seed time of 1:55.8 to win with a 1:49.4 in the 8-length race.
Ram diver Meg Rowe in winning the gold medal may have surprised other divers and coaches, but her performance was not surprising to her coach. Lizzotte praised the senior.
“She worked really hard this year on mechanics. She dived fantastically to win,” he said. “As the meet went on, the other divers began to be concerned with Meg. She just did not go away. She was there after 5 dives, She was there after 8 dives. She was spot on all meet.”
Husson set for New England meet
Husson University swimming concludes the season at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Championship set for today, Saturday, and Sunday in White River Junction, Vt., at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center.
“I have been trying to stress that last year everyone went to the meet and did something better than previously they had. If we do that again, it will be great,” Eagles’ coach Jeff Wren said.
Last season, the Eagles competed with two New England qualifiers and four additional racers. This year, the Eagles will travel with four qualifiers and two additional racers.
Erin Doucette (Hampden), Meg Call (Levant) and Amanda Mason (Dexter) join Kaitlyn Theriault (Glen Fall, Va.) as qualifiers while sophomore Renee Dufrense Dixon (Auburn) and first-year swimmer Chelsea Martin (Auburn) will compete in relays.
Doucette is scheduled to race in the 50 butterfly, 200 backstroke, and 100 individual medley. Mason will compete in the 50, 100, and 200 back. Theriault will swim in the 50 free, 1000 free, and 200 fly. Call is entered in the 50 breaststroke.
“They are part of what has been a positive team experience this year. Certainly, they have worked hard and have made meaningful contributions, but it is through the collective team experience that this year has been so positive,” Wren noted.