ORONO — Coach Tony DeMuro’s Mount Desert Trojans displayed their racing and diving feats Saturday evening at the University of Maine’s Wallace Pool as they sped to the Class B girls state title.
MDI, in winning the school’s first swim title since 1989, scored 375 points in the 14-event championship. The defending champions Greely High Rangers of Cumberland finished second at 328.5 points. Waynflete of Portland placed third.
“We talked all year about being competitive and swimming with pride,” DeMuro said, explaining his team’s speedy swimming throughout the meet.
Greely coach Bob Hale added, “We swam as well as we could, but so did MDI. They must have had 100 percent best times tonight.”
An indication of MDI’s aggressive approach to swimming was revealed in the first event, the 200 medley relay, when senior Trojan backstroker Chelsey Curran blazed to a 27.6-second opening leg, nearly four seconds ahead of the next fastest backstroker.
“Curran set the tone in the medley relay. You lead off with a 27.6 and you are making a statement to your teammates,” Hale noted.
However, by the end of the fly leg in the relay, the lead belonged to the Rangers by six-tenths as Sarah Easterling, who was named Swimmer of the Meet,, and Sara Schad, sizzled on their relay legs. But,Trojan Amelia Keif responded for MDI on the anchor leg and raced a 25.3 split, the only swimmer in the 16-team relay field to slide under 26 seconds, and the Trojans won the gold 1:55.6 to 1:55.9.
Not unexpectedly, the Rangers took charge in the next two events, the 200 free and 200 individual medley. Schad dipped under two minutes at 1:59.9 and created separation in the race with a 30.7 third 50 to win. Teammate Easterling won the individual medley (2:09.5) by seven seconds and the Rangers held a 121.5 to 108 lead.
The Trojans, nonetheless, after picking off the relay win, added valuable points in both the 200 free and IM, scoring three in the 200 free led by Erin Connery’s fifth place and in the IM, scoring fifth, sixth and seventh with Ryann Rourk, Emma Soucek, and Amelia Kief, respectively. After three events, Greely led.
Nevertheless, the annals of the MDI championship will chronicle the Trojan speed allowing them to control the field in the 50 free with four swimmers scoring and foreshadowing the 200 free relay in the meet’s second half where the Rangers were prospecting for a significant swing in points.
Curran, in another aggressive swim, owned the 50 with a 25.3 finish. No other racer hit 25. Oliva Jacobs scored fourth, Eleni White eighth, and Annie Harper 12th and the Trojans sailed to a commanding lead 159 to 121.5 heading into diving.
Following the diving, won by Falmouth’s Nicole Mancini and where Foxcoft’s Katharine Morrison placed second, DeMuro gathered his team and reiterated his coaching point of 2011, “take care of what we can take of.” In the second half of their championship, the Trojans applied DeMuro’s message.
The second half opened with a nifty race in the 100 fly between Colby Harvey of Waynflete and Abby Haley Belisle of Yarmouth, both freshmen. Haley collected the gold with a 59.1 to Belishe’s 59.9
The Rangers, though, attempted to change the meet momentum by scoring first, third, fourth, and fifth in the 100 free. Keif and Jacobs limited the point collecting by Greely as the two sophomores finished fifth and sixth for MDI.
Another Waynflete frosh, Ellen Silk, won the 500 free in 5:33. Bangor Christian’s Kayla Merchant nabbed third in an event where Greely and MDI both scored swimmers in the finals and in the consolations.
As DeMuro submitted his entry card for the 200 free relay at the scorer’s table, he quipped, “this event is going to be a barn burner.”
In the morning trials, MDI, Greely, and Lincoln Academy of Newcastle qualified at 1:49s. It was evident from the start of the relay in the finals, the Trojans intended to close the “barn door” on the field. They did in 1:43, two seconds ahead Greely. And, in doing so, diminished significantly any plans Greely had for charging after the Trojans.
“The 200 free relay splits were fantastic,” DeMuro said. “We carry on the Lenny DeMuro tradition of sprinting”, he added. Lenny, Tony’s father, who coached MDI to a state title in 1982, emphasized sprinting in his training of swimmers.
Easterling set the meet’s lone record with a 59.4 100 backstroke. Curran was second and Foxcroft’s Amber Murray finished third.
The breaststroke was won by Allie Lewandoski of St. Dominic’s of Auburn in 1:09.1. MDI, in the event, continued to score swimmers in both the finals and consolations as the Trojans had done in nearly event prior.
The Rangers, who had swum well all evening, assembled a fast final relay and easily raced by the field with a five- second win touching in 3:48.6. MDI placed fourth.
By the relay, though, the Trojans had applied with consistent success of DeMuro’s coaching point, “take care of what you can take care of” and in doing so won the team title.
The meet’s dedication, an annual ceremony at the state championships since 1977, recognized longtime official and former coach Fran Fox. Catherine McAuley was voted recipient of the sportsmanship award.