BANGOR — Coach Phil Emery’s Bangor High School swimmers and divers won the school’s 25th Penobscot Valley Conference Championship since 1980 Friday night at Husson University with 366 points. Ellsworth finished second with 223 and Mount Desert Island third at 171.
“It was a typical PVCs. Some good swims, some average swims, and some below-average swims. We wanted to see some things tonight. We are a week away from where we want to be,” Emery said.
“The relays were solid and our kids who had not qualified almost all did best times. They did a wonderful job.”
Bangor’s medley relay, seeded first in the 11-entry event, was challenged on each of the four legs by Ellsworth’s quick relay before the Rams’ anchor swimmer, Isaac Carson, took several long strokes approaching the finish, giving him an additional surge as BHS nipped Ellsworth 1 minute, 45.2 seconds to 1:45.5. The Eagles took the lead on the back with a speedy 26.2 split from Matt Grover. By the turn of the breaststroke, Bangor breaststroker Sam Barnett had stroked the Rams to the lead. Ellsworth charged the Rams on the fly and free, but the Eagles were unable to catch Emery’s boys.
The 200 free, like the medley relay, was nip and tuck as Mount Desert’s Ross Johnston and Bangor’s Matt Fuller raced one another on each of the eight lengths. At the 50, Johnston turned 25.3 and Fuller 25.9. By the 150-yard mark, Fuller had moved to within a second of Johnston. Turning even at 175, Johnston accelerated his kick and quickened his stroke turnover, winning in 1:55.4 to Fuller’s 1:55.9. Lyle Stephenson of Ellsworth (1:59) was third. Bangor’s Colton Markevich, Jeff Rogers and Welles Tisdale scored fourth, fifth and seventh.
Ellsworth’s Grover, who swam the fastest backstroke leg in the medley relay, flew to a 26.4 fly leg in the individual medley’s opening 50, nearly a second faster than MDI’s Madison Luck. At the half mark of the race, Grover held almost a two-second lead over the field. However, on the breaststroke leg, one of the state’s fastest, Sam Barnett of Bangor, made a move on Grover. Grover, though, responded with a strong freestyle leg and finished in 2:08.7, six seconds faster than his entry time. Barnett was second, Luck third and Louie Booysen (2:14.5) and Isaac Walton (2:21.3) of Bangor scored fourth and fifth, respectively.
Waiting for the announcer to call the field to the start in the 50 free, Foxcroft’s Donnie Boyer stood behind the starting platform and did three or four standing jumps. The sophomore jumped on the blocks when called by the starter, assumed the starting position and then reacted to the start by hitting the water first. He went on to turn first and then touched first at 22.8, the lone sprinter under 23. Bangor’s Dave Smallwood nabbed the silver (23.1) and MDI’s Jordan Kief the bronze (24.5).
After the first four swimming events, Emery’s team totaled 142 points to Ellsworth’s 74 and Mount Desert’s 70.
Keith Chandler, with a 23.9 fly leg for Ellsworth in the opening relay, offered an indication that his swimming was “hot.” His “hot fly” continued in the 100 with a 53.8 gold, approximately two seconds faster than his seed. Foxcroft’s Cam Fadley was second in 55.1 and Bangor’s Smallwood third at 55.4.
Boyer collected his second gold with a 52.1 win in the 100 free, pulling away from MDI’s competitive Jason Carbone on the final length. Carson of Bangor was third.
Ellsworth’s Grover sped away on the first length of the 500 free and cruised to an impressive 5:04.4, 12 seconds faster than Matt Fuller of Bangor, the second-place finisher. Luck of MDI was third. The Rams, after the 500 free, held a dominating lead 264 to 129 for Ellsworth and 98 for MDI.
Bangor’s freestyle depth was evident throughout the meet. In the 200 free relay, Emery called on Barnett, Gordon Carroll, Rogers and Smallwood to race for the Rams. Barnett’s opening leg provided Bangor with a lead the Rams would not relinquish although the Eagles came after the Rams hard on the closing legs. Bangor finished at 1:36, the Eagles at 1:36.2 and MDI at 1:36.4.
Josh Williams won a gold for Brewer in the 100 back in another nip and tuck race. The sophomore swam an aggressive second half of the 100 back to edge Orono’s talented Cam Dwyer 58.2 to 58.5. Stephenson of Ellsworth was third. Bangor’s Matt England added points to the Rams’ title with his fourth-place finish.
Following the trend of the meet’s second half, the 100 breaststroke was another keenly contested race. At 75 yards, Barnett and Chandler turned evenly. But off the wall, Chandler moved explosively and won at 1:03, only fourth-tenths ahead of Barnett.
Chandler then came back on the anchor leg of the 400 free relay and split a 50.1, the fastest anchor leg in the field by three seconds, and powered the Eagles to the win over the Rams, 3:30.6 to 3:34.1. Grover, Ridge Jordan and Stephenson joined Chandler in the relay.
In the 1-meter diving event, Brewer’s Spencer Warmuth tallied 333.10 points over 11 dives for first place. Kyle Mallory-MacDonald of Bangor was second and teammate Tommy Townley was third.