ORONO — The Mount Desert Island girls swam aggressively and with confidence in all events to win the 35th annual Penobscot Valley Conference Championship on Tuesday night at the University of Maine.
“It was fun,” MDI Trojans Coach Tony DeMuro said.
When asked about the team’s aggressive swimming, DeMuro said, “We do not back-half anything. We want our caps out in front, regardless of the event or the heat. This sets the tone.”
The meet was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was rescheduled due to the weekend blizzard.
The field in the first event, the 200-meter medley relay, was competitive for the first two legs. Then, Bangor’s Emma Waddell outsplit the racers by 2.5 seconds on the butterfly leg with a speedy 25.6 seconds to give the Rams the lead. Anchor swimmer Dominique Comeau outtouched a fast-closing MDI surge to give the Rams their first gold and the lead.
Waddell returned 15 minutes later and sped to a PVC record-setting 1:53.8, approximately 14 seconds ahead of the second-place swimmer.
Meanwhile, the Trojans, following the 200 freestyle, took a two-point lead in the team competition and extended that lead to 10 points in the 200 individual medley.
MDI freshman swimmer Avalon Kerley gained a lead on the butterfly leg of the 200 individual medley with a 29.0 split and closed the race with a 28.3 win to nip the field by two seconds and gain first-place points.
MDI’s lead improved to 16 when DeMuro’s swimmers scored four in the 50 freestyle, including a bronze medal from Trojan senior Amelia Kief (26.1). However, it was Foxcroft Academy sophomore Jules Annis with a quick reaction on the start and a fast close to win the gold at 25.2.
Bangor divers gave coach Cindi Howard’s squad its first lead since the opening event after Elizabeth Huber and Emily Daub won the gold and silver medals, respectively.
Teammate Gabby Sileno also scored for Bangor. The Rams gathered 138 points through the first five events to MDI’s 122.
Bangor added to the lead in the 100 fly, with four scorers led by Waddell who blazed to 57.8, a nine-second win and her second PVC record of the meet.
MDI’s sprinters answered with a sweep of medals in the 100 freestyle. Kief won the gold, Olivia Jacobs the silver and Sydney Wright the bronze. The Trojans led 193-190.
MDI’s sweep of the 100 free did not surprise DeMuro.
“Our girls are sprinters, that is our strength,” he said.
Erin Connery claimed another gold medal for MDI with a win in the 500 freestyle, and the Trojans lead climbed to 222 to 214. Connery was the lone swimmer in the 500 to finish under 5:40, finishing at 5:39.1.
DeMuro assembled his sprinters Jacobs, Kief, Wright and added Connery in the 200 free relay as the Trojans swam away from the field and pushed the lead to 24 with three events remaining.
MDI’s gold-medal streak was broken in the 100 backstroke when Juliana McDonald of Bangor finished first at 1:05 and teammate Lilli Wiseman claimed third. The Rams narrowed MDI’s margin to eight with two events remaining.
Annis won her second crown in the meet with an impressive 1:08 in the 100 breaststroke. However, two MDI freshmen, Avalon Kerley (1:10.6) and Aubrie Boyle (1:18.6) finished second and fifth, respectively and collected 25 points. Bangor scored 12.
Bangor won the final event, the 400 free relay as MDI finalized its title with a second-place finish in that event.