ORONO, Maine — Bangor was well placed, on paper, to run away with the state Class A boys swimming and diving championships Tuesday at the University of Maine’s Wallace Pool.
A false start on the final leg of the first event put the Rams in a big hole early, but they had the depth to still overwhelm the field.
“After the disqualification, some of the guys flinched,” said Bangor coach Phil Emery. “I said, ‘Don’t flinch, we’ll be fine.’’’
The Rams rolled to their sixth straight state title, scoring 384 points to 280 for Cheverus of Portland. Cape Elizabeth was third at 245.5, Brunswick fourth at 193, followed by Massabesic of Waterboro 164 and Windham 161. Brewer finished 14th with 61 points.
“That’s the first time ever [that a Class A school has won six in a row],” said Emery. “We won five in a row three times, but something always came unglued.”
Old Town holds the consecutive titles streak, having won 14 state Class B boys championships from 1985 through 1998.
Trebor Lawton of Cheverus was named the outstanding performer, and the Stags also won the sportsmanship award.
Bangor had finished well ahead of Cheverus in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:40.77, nearly three seconds better than the Stags’ 1:43.49, but the Rams’ false start erased that early edge.
Rather than being six points down, the Stags went up by 40 over the Rams.
That’s when senior co-captain Matt Fuller stepped in.
“As captain, I’ve got to keep the team going,” he said.
Bangor made that deficit back in the next event, the 200 free, as the Rams’ David Smallwood won in 1:44.76, Fuller was fourth, Jeff Rogers ninth and Welles Tisdale 10th for a 51-point total.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting that [win],” said Smallwood.
Nick Sundquist of Windham was second in 1:45.19. Tony Penks took eighth as Cheverus’ only scorer in the event.
“I just went for it, and having good competition makes for a lot better race,” Smallwood said.
“That got the whole team back on track,” said England, a senior co-captain.
Lawton of Cheverus won the 200 individual medley in 1:57.94, nipping Arthur Conover of Messalonskee (1:58.00). Eric Delmonte of Deering of Portland was a close third at 1:58.52. Liam Reading had Bangor’s best finish at fifth in 2:06.84 with teammates Louis Booysen seventh and Eli Beauchamp 13th.
Teammates Evan Long and Marcus Cloutier of Cape Elizabeth went 1-2 in the 50 free, Long posting a 22.13 and Cloutier going in 22.19. Bangor’s Gordon Carroll and Jacob Worcester tied for sixth and Joey Kacer was 11th, while the Stags’ Connor Pothier was eighth, Lukas Temple 10th and Spencer Lindsley 12th.
Tyler Goulden of Thornton Academy of Saco was golden in the 1-meter diving, posting an 11-dive total of 395.75 points. Kevin Flathers of Cape Elizabeth was second with 334.55 points, and Dylan Farber of Deering was third (309.95). Grant Lufkin in seventh led four Bangor scorers in the event, while Cheverus had one.
Joey Blair of Brunswick edged Bangor’s Smallwood in the 100 fly, 52.81 to 52.99, but more important for the Rams was that they had three swimmers in the finals. They totaled 35 points while Cheverus didn’t have anyone qualify among the top 16.
At that point, Bangor was up 171 to 122 and cruising.
“Once we get back on the train, it’s hard to stop us,” said Fuller.
Windham’s Lundquist took the 100 free in 47.69 with Cape’s Cloutier second (48.65) and Bangor’s England third (49.12). Josh Williams of Brewer finished fifth (51.24).
Conover of Messalonskee added the 500 free title in 4:40.37. Joe Paluso of Windham was a distant second in 5:08.76, while Bangor placed Fuller third (5:09.10), Rogers sixth, Tisdale seventh and Beauchamp 11th.
Those displays of depth were important for the Rams.
“Even guys who don’t get medals get points,” said England. “In some ways, they’re the most important members of the team.”
Cape Elizabeth stormed to victory in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:32.30 with Bangor taking second in 1:33.68. Windham was third (1:35.03).
The Stags’ Lawton picked up his second individual title by taking the 100 backstroke in 53.28 seconds. England of Bangor was the runner-up in 54.22, just ahead of third-place Williams of Brewer (54.48).
Deering’s Delmonte easily won the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.31, Reading next at 1:02.59 and Long of Cape Elizabeth third (1:03.97).
Bangor capped the day with big win in the 400 free relay, clocking a 3:21.64 with Cheverus second at 3:23.67. Cape was third at 3:29.96.
Winning so often doesn’t get old for Emery, who has been Bangor’s coach since the 1968-69 season. The Rams have won 27 titles, 26 with him as coach and the first with him as a swimmer.
“If it was the same the group of guys, it would,” said Emery. “But it’s a new chemistry every year.”