BRUNSWICK, Maine — In vintage Bangor High School swim team fashion, the Rams simply swamped the competition and won their fourth straight Class A boys state championship at Bowdoin College’s Greason Pool Monday night.
The deep Bangor squad trailed early, but got big-time performances out of its diving and relay teams to pass fellow meet favorite Scarborough after five events and never looked back. Bangor finished with 319.5 points to Scarborough’s 270.
“It was actually the preliminaries, where we swam better than we expected, where we really took control,” said Bangor coach Phil Emery, whose team’s win marked his 25th state title — 24 as a head coach and one as a swimmer.
As important as Bangor’s depth was, Emery had a simpler way of breaking down the victory.
“We actually swam better than Scarborough overall,” said Emery. “We had guys who came through everywhere from the prelims on up.”
Bangor’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Sam Barnett, Taylor Wicks, Ihan Cameron and Joey Quinn was seeded third, but edged Scarborough with a time of 1 minute, 31.12 seconds to the Red Storm’s 1:31.39.
Senior captain Joey Quinn was one of the key performers on a team that had a lot of them Monday.
“Last year, I had some decent finishes, but my times were off. I didn’t get a single personal-best time, so this year I really wanted to concentrate on having better times and not worrying about my seeds or finishes,” said Quinn, who finished second in the 100 free with a career-best time of 48.98 and second in the 200 free with another personal-best clocking of 1:47.59.
Wicks was second in the 100 backstroke (54.38) as Morse of Bath’s James Wells broke his own state record with a 49.68, and was third in the 200 individual medley (2:03.41) as Wells and Scarborough’s Robby Gravel both broke the previous state mark.
“We knew we had more places to move up in prelims than Scarborough did and prelims is our bread and butter,” said Wicks, a UMaine-bound senior who was most proud of his relay split times on the day. “After our 50 free prelims, where we had so many kids move up in places, that’s where I got real confident.”
Scarborough got a big lift emotionally and a slight bump, points-wise, early when Robby Gravel, the No. 2 seed in the 200 IM, upset top-seeded Wells with a state record time of 1:55.08. The swim eclipsed the 2002 mark of 1:55.96 by Sean Flaherty, and gave the Red Storm three more points than they were seeded for, and put them eight points up on Bangor (100 to 92) after three events.
Scarborough opened the meet strong with a win in the opening event: the 200 medley relay. The top-seeded Red Storm beat the runner-up Rams by 1.22 seconds with a time of 1:40.27.
“Scarborough won the medley, but we were seeded fourth, so we moved up there and got points even with their win,” Emery said.
Bangor charged back after the 1-meter diving finals, however, as the Rams finished first, eighth and 11th for a combined haul of 37 points.
After finishing second last year, Bangor senior Tim Smith won the diving title this year with a final score of 374.7 points. Smith, who may be diving at the University of Maine next year, said he owed it all to a certain dive, which with a 2.6 degree of difficulty, ranked as the most difficult done by all the divers Monday.
“I was bummed about last year because I really screwed up one of my dives,” said Smith. “I think my reverse 1½ with a 1½ twist really kind of shocked everyone and got me a lot of points. I’ve been doing it for three or four weeks now and I nailed it today.
“I’m really excited our diving team could really boost up our team scores.”
Bangor’s Ross Cormier was eighth and Kyle MacDonald-Mallory 11th in the diving to gain another 17 points.
“Our divers did an unbelievable job,” said Quinn. “After diving with Tim winning and Ross and Kyle coming up with big points, we were knew winning this was very doable.”
Rams junior Sam Barnett finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:02.83.
Cheverus of Portland was third at 244 points and Windham fourth with 203. Cape Elizabeth wound up fifth with 201 and Brewer was sixth at 95.
Cheverus won the sportsmanship award for the second straight year.