State swim titles to be contested Monday, Tuesday

Maine’s  interscholastic swimmers and divers  gather at the state’s two premier racing venues, the University of Maine and Bowdoin College for the 2011-12 state championship meets February 20 and 21st. February 20th the Class B boys compete at Bowdoin and the A girls compete at UMaine.
Class A boys and Class B girls race at UMaine and Bowdoin, respectively on Feb 21st.

Since 1969, Bangor High coach Phil Emery has prepped teams to compete in the Maine Principal’s Association premier swimming and diving event. In
43 years of coaching Emery has developed a philosophy shaping his preparation the week leading to the meet. “Do not over think it. We have practiced long and hard all season. I tell the swimmers to find something other than the states to focus on. We will focus on states when we arrive there.
It is a week to relax and focus on the little things–starts, turns and relay exchanges.”

This year’s team Emery speaks about so favorably. “It is a wonderful mix of lane 6 swimmers who have come of age and swimmers who have come through age group swimming. They are all competitive and get along great. They will be ready.”

At the Penobscot Valley Conference meet, where Emery’s team displayed front line racing and  depth, the Rams offered glimpses of line up combinations to numerous to detail and understandably complex for rival coaches attempting to predict the Ram lineup. With  quality swimmers Dave Smallwood, Matt Fuller, Matt England, Gordon Carroll, Colton Markevich,
Jeff Rogers and Liam Reading and a corps of Rams behind them,  Emery has more options for line ups than did the old Oklahoma wishbone under Barry Switzer..  “We cover every event well and with pretty good depth and we have 5 divers qualified, 4 of whom can compete.”  But, as Emery noted to his team this week, to be successful at the highly competitive state meet
“have confidence in yourself and in your teammates.”

According to the pre meet seeds, Bangor holds the fastest time in the field in two of the three relays(medley and 400 free) and Smallwood will challenge for the gold in the 200 free and 100 fly where he is seeded second. England in the 100 free and 100 back also enters the meet second. Brewer’s Josh Williams, who swam so well during the dual meet season, claims the third seed.

Brunswick, Cheverus High and Cape Elizabeth also have quality swimmers throughout the pre meet seeds..The three squads like the Rams expect to be racing for the medals.

Certainly, the female swimmers and divers from Bangor High enter the state meet with confidence after their recent PVC crown. Led by one of the state’s elite swimmers regardless of class, Emma Waddell, Cindi Howard’s team, like Emery’s, will be defending their title. Waddell, who in Saturday’s PVC again demonstrated her ability to finish races aggressively, provides Bangor with options in several events while also providing Bangor relays with a powerful, explosive leg. Teammates Juliana McDonald, Jamie Hunsaker, Meri Wicks, and Mariah Reading  are experienced championship swimmers and their experience will be important as the Rams expect a talented and fast Cape Elizabeth team to be intent on challenging the Rams’ defense of the  Class A title.  And, Kennebec Valley Conference champion Messalonskee High has had an impressive season and will race competitively and challenge for the individual and team awards. Bangor diving coach Jarrett Lizzotte has 4 female divers ready for the 11 dive competition. Bangor’s Elizabeth Huber won the PVC crown.

In Class B boys, expect Penobscot Valley Conference swimmers and divers to exert a consistent presence in the chase for gold medals. MDI’s Ross Johnston is the top seed in the 200 free (1:49.5) by four hundreths of a second. Johnston claims the top entry in the 100 butterfly (54.7) as well.  Orono’s talented racer Cam Dwyer, capable of racing in a number of events, is entered in the 200 individual medley where he is seeded second, only four tenths off the pace of Greely’s Jon Dunnett.  Also, in the 2:05 range is the third seed Cam Fadley of Foxcroft at 2:05.6 .  Dwyer in the 100 butterfly occupies the third seed. Another  MDI swimmer seeded one is breaststroker Jason Carbone at 1:05.6.. And, past performances suggest Ellsworth’s Keith Chandler and Maks Grover will racing with the fastest in Class B.

In Class B girls, Tony DeMuro’s MDI speedy swimmers will race for the title in a meet where Greely High also projects as a title contender. Leila Johnson, a frosh swimmer, holds the fastest entry in the 200. MDI’s relay is the fastest 200 medley relay entered. Erin Connery, Olivia Jacobs, and Amelia Kief raced aggressively for MDI in the PVC and offer DeMuro  quality  options in both 400 relay  and 200 free relay in addition to the medley. relay and individual events.
Foxcroft’s Amber Murray and Julia Annis are seeded second in the 100 back and 100 breaststroke, respectively. Ellsworth’s Cecelia McEachern and Presque Isle’s Hemphill can be expected to represent their teams competitively at the Class B  meet. Foxcroft’s diver Kate Morrison finished second in the PVC and will contribute to Foxcroft’s presence in the meet.