Championship racing for Maine’s local interscholastic swimmers begins Friday at Husson University in Bangor with the Penobscot Valley Conference boys championship. Saturday, the PVC girls meet will be swum, also at Husson.
For those swimmers who are a stroke or two away from achieving the state-meet time standards, the PVC affords an opportunity to taper and rest and then race for the time standard. For those already qualified, the PVC allows for refining of race strategy or experimenting with a second or third event for the state-meet entry.
And then there are some swimmers who will end their racing season with the PVCs. Regardless of the swimmers’ PVC focus, the swimmers’ intensity and their drive to swim fast will add to the competitiveness of championship swimming.
In Friday’s boys meet, coach Phil Emery’s squad enters the meet undefeated, having swum consistently fast during the dual-meet season. The Rams have developed their frontline racers while Bangor’s second line, always a strength of the Rams when championship season rolls in, has matured, providing Emery with multiple lineup options.
Frosh David Smallwood is among the state leaders regardless of class in the 100 butterfly (54.9 seconds), only three-tenths off the pace of the state’s fastest swim of 54.6. Senior Sam Barnett is the state’s fastest breaststroker based on dual-meet races at 1:04.9. Both Smallwood and Barnett have keenly competitive second and third events, so expect Emery to explore all options for the talented two. But the Rams are deep in the freestyle and have many individual medley and stroke options. Bangor can be projected to experiment a bit with the lineup and relays Friday in anticipation of the Class A title race the following week.
Orono’s Cam Dwyer can race among the state’s elite in multiple events, including the 200 IM (2:08.6), 100 fly (55.1) and 100 back (58.3), and will be one of the speediest swimmers in Friday’s PVCs. Ellsworth’s Keith Chandler and Foxcroft’s Cam Fadley, Mount Desert Island’s Jason Carbone and Brewer’s Jason Williams will highlight Friday’s racing, along with Bangor’s Smallwood and Barnett.
Spencer Warmuth of Brewer leads the diving field.
Saturday, the girls race. The team racing appears to match coach Tony DeMuro’s MDI squad against coach Cindi Howard’s Bangor team. Recently, the Rams nipped MDI in a dual meet, although the Trojans and Rams battled competitively in several events.
Chelsey Curran, second in the state in the 100 back (1:01.4) and a quick 25.8 in the 50 free, leads MDI, while Bangor frosh swimmer Emma Waddell not only is among the state’s most versatile racers, Waddell is among the state’s speediest in several events (200 free, 1:59.8, second-ranked; 200 IM, 2:13.3, second-ranked; 100 fly, 59.5, first-ranked). Like the Bangor boys, there have been several swimmers emerge during the dual-meet season giving Howard interesting possibilities as she plans the PVC and state-meet lineups. Among those whose racing has developed sharpley during Bangor’s dual meets are Meri Wicks, Jamie Hunsaker, Juliana McDonald and Jenny Dickson, suggesting the Rams will be quite formidable in Saturday’s PVC.
Ellsworth’s Cecelia McEachern (2:04.8, 200 free), MDI’s Erin Conway, Ryann Rourk, Amelia Keefe and Olivia Jacobs and Foxcroft’s Amber Murray (1:05.6, 100 back) are all among the state’s leaders and will be very competitive at Saturday’s meet.
In diving, Bangor’s Julie Clifford and Elizabeth Huber, Foxcroft’s Katharine Morrison and MDI’s Kristi Sipe and Elise Tilton have all totaled points in 11-dive competition to score in the top ten regardless of class in the state.
Hodsdon makes ‘B’ cuts
Brewer’s Jessica Hodsdon swam fast in the Northeast-12 Conference Championship last weekend, achieving NCAA Division III “B” cuts in two events.
Swimming for Bentley, Hodsdon finished second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.6) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:11.4), meeting the “B” time standards. In the 200 breaststroke, the sophomore finished in 2:25.8 for third. In the 400 free relay, Hodsdon split a 54.5 as her relay captured second at 3:38.4. Bentley placed second behind Southern Connecticut State University in the conference championship.