Mount Desert Island coach Tony DeMuro boarded the bus for the team’s return to Bar Harbor after the Penobscot Valley Conference Swimming and Diving Championship recognizing the Trojans did not swim with the aggressiveness that traditionally characterizes MDI racing.
The Trojan boys finished second behind Ellsworth High School in the Feb. 9 meet.
“During the next week we had a lot of team talks about re-engaging our focus,” DeMuro said.
When MDI boarded the team bus for the Maine Principals’ Association Class B state meet at the University of Maine on Feb. 17, the experienced coach had confidence in his team’s approach.
DeMuro’s confidence was warranted as the team won the title with 381 points and Ellsworth placed second at 312.
“I knew we were going to be focused and get out after it,” he said.
In the first event, the 200 medley relay, the quartet of Liam Sullivan, Tyler Willis, Isaac Weaver and Tyler Woodworth offered Demuro a glimpse into the team’s focus. The Trojans set a school record of 1 minute, 39.1 seconds, but finished behind Ellsworth.
“We always talk about fast swimming being contagious and about all of the team doing this together,” DeMuro said.
“Big time drops, regardless of the heat, fuel our energy,” he said.
In the 200 individual medley, three Trojans scored as Sullivan won in 1:54.1 while sophomore Ponce Saltysiak and Weaver finished sixth and ninth, respectively. In the 100 butterfly Willis, a sophomore, collected silver with an impressive 54.3 while teammates Amos Price (56.8), Zeke Valleau (57.4) and Isaac Mains (58.7) scored points.
Willis, Cody Parker and Julian Walls all placed in the 500 free, then Sullivan set a meet record (56.8) to win the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke, where Weaver and Saltysiak also scored.
Price and Parker nabbed points in the 200 free, Woodworth earned the bronze in the 50 free (22.2), Valleau finished fifth and Mains scored in the 100 back and Sam Mitchell earned points in the 100 free and in the diving. MDI’s 200 free relay tallied 34 points.
The 400 free relay showed MDI’s focus as Sullivan, Willis, Price and Woodworth clocked a team record at 3:18.9 behind Ellsworth’s 3:17.2.
DeMuro said every day is a work day and that the Trojans practice the day of a meet.
“We take pride in our workouts and in how we practice. We work hard to go
Fast,” DeMuro said. “We are accountable for our effort. I hold the kids to a high standard, and we have high expectations.”
DeMuro acknowledged the impact of Jim Willis, head coach of the MDI YMCA Sharks, on the swimmers’ development.
“They know how to swim when they come to the high school and we have the same philosophies,” he said.
Australian Ian Thorpe, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, once said, “I swam the race like I trained to swim it. It is not mathematical. I just let my body do it. It is a lot easier if you let your body do what it is trained to do.”
The MDI Trojans swam and raced as they had been trained.