“We had a wonderful dual-meet season. We got everything out of our dual-meet season that we could have hoped for,” Bangor High swim coach Phil Emery remarked.

Emery’s Rams will race for the 2009-10 Penobscot Valley Conference title tonight. Bangor has won 23 of the 30 PVC championship meets. Old Town High has two crowns and Mount Desert Island has five.

“We cover all the events very well. There will be some very good races,” Emery projected when speaking of the meet scheduled for 6 p.m. at Husson University.

MDI coach Tony DeMuro acknowledges Bangor’s strength.

“The way Bangor is swimming, they have the strokers and the freestylers. They have a very solid team and Phil has his depth back. Phil is working his magic. He does an amazing job this time of the year,” DeMuro noted.

For the Trojans, DeMuro emphasized the importance of swimming fast this week anticipating next week’s state meet. “We are going to get in the pool, light it up and swim fast. This time of the year, it is about going fast.”

A number of individual races, according to the entries, suggest fast swimming will be required to win gold. For example, in the 100 butterfly, three swimmers are seeded within a second of one another. The top seed, Bangor’s Ian Kasprzak (58.4 seconds), is two-tenths of a second ahead of No. 2 seed Ty Onda of MDI and nine-tenths ahead of Cam Fadley of Foxcroft Academy. In the 500 free, Brewer’s Brent Williams at 5:10.8 is only four-tenths ahead of second seed Ian Carbone of MDI and four seconds ahead of Bangor’s Joey Quinn.

The relays, too, promise to be particularly competitive and entertaining. MDI has the fastest entry time in the 200 free relay, 1:34.3 to Bangor’s 1:34.4, and in the 400 free relay the Trojans are seeded at 3:31.3, four-tenths ahead of the Rams.

Saturday, the PVC girls will race at Husson University.

“It is going to be a close meet. It is really tight,” DeMuro said. “This is a meet where performance will determine the winner. Bangor is the defending champion. Bangor has the depth. We have a competitive group of girls. They are excited. They like the challenge in front of them,” DeMuro stated.

The 100 freestyle supports DeMuro’s assertion of the competitiveness of the meet. Bangor’s Jenny Dixon, who has raced particularly well for the Rams during the second half of the dual-meet season, is the No. 1 seed at 1:00.6, three-tenths ahead of MDI’s Amelia Kief and Olivia Jacobs, 1:00.92 and 1:00.95, respectively. And Foxcroft’s Julia Kurzius is seeded at 1:00.96.

“There are going to be some great races. The 100 free is an example,” DeMuro said.

Less than two seconds separates Bangor’s Alyssa Reardon and Ellsworth’s Cece McEachern in the 500 free. And McEachern, displaying her freestyle versatility, holds the top seed in the 50 free at 26.05.

Competing in her first championship meet in the United States, Brewer’s Alice Ruiu, an exchange student from Italy, holds the fastest dual-meet time in the 100 butterfly (1:00.4) and the 200 individual medley (2:14.6), and she is seeded well ahead of the field in both events.

As expected, Bangor’s divers, Ashley Higgins, Megan Rowe, Chelsea Hardy and Julie Clifford, enter the PVC meet with the four highest point totals.

Penn State’s Thomas helps upset

Erin Thomas and her Penn State teammates upset Ohio State 176-158 in Saturday’s dual meet at Columbus, Ohio. For the Buckeyes, it was their first loss of the dual meet season, ending their quest for the first undefeated season in Ohio State swimming. Thomas, a graduate of Bangor High, finished in 51.9 in the 100 free to score for Penn State, and she swam a 23.6 leg on the 200 free relay which finished third and a 23.7 anchor leg on the fourth-place 200 medley relay. Penn State, 6-2 in dual meets, has one dual meet remaining before competing in the Big Ten championships.

Shanley aiding Kenyon bid

Jacob Shanley of Old Town, a senior at Kenyon College, concluded the dual-meet season with a second-place finish in the 200 backstroke in his team’s win over Wittenburg University recently. Shanley and his Kenyon teammates will race later this month in the conference championship prior to defending their national title at the NCAA Division III national meet.