Depth, chemistry, confidence propel Bangor boys to state title

The motto for the Bangor High School boys swim team in 2012 was: “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”

Coach Phil Emery’s Bangor High swimmers and divers followed that motto and recently won their sixth straight Class A championship.

In reflecting on the team’s performance, Emery spoke about one of the team’s attributes.

“This team had character. They were focused,” he said. “Our motto is on the back of the team shirt. They accepted and understood what it meant. It was our guiding light through the season.”

At the championship, the Bangor boys displayed a dimension of their character when they overcame an opening event relay disqualification.

“After the medley relay was DQ’d, they sucked it up and put it behind them. The rest took care of itself,” Emery said.

Actually, according to Emery, the racing performances of the Rams were unusually distinctive, too.

“We had one of the best finals in years. We always swim very fast in the prelims and therefore sometimes there is not much more to give in the finals,” he said. “This year we again swam out of minds in the prelims but then came back and, in most cases, went even faster at night. It is like the prelims did not take anything out of them.”

Following the loss of 40 points and the gold in the medley relay, “one of the most exciting races for a Bangor swimmer in the last few years took place in the 200 free,” Emery said.

“David’s [Smallwood] 200 free, I believe, energized the whole team. It was especially pleasing because just when I thought he could not keep up the pace, he just kept attacking. As a matter of fact, he out-split [Nick Sundquist] on each of the last three 50s. Having such a big-time drop in the finals made that race all the more exciting.”

As Emery pointed out, it was a complete Ram team victory, though. Divers, relays, experienced age-group swimmers and swimmers whose racing began in high school all contributed to the victory.

“We scored 384 points, 185 came from swimmers who began racing in high school and 199 from swimmers with racing experience prior to high school.”

And, Emery added, “We had great team chemistry — swimmers, divers, coaches and parents. Our team was confident, but not cocky. They were excited about racing at the meet.”

Clearly, they displayed their level of understanding of the team motto with a nearly perfect application of the motto.

Messalonskee sets New England records
At the interscholastic New England meet held last Saturday at Bates College in Lewiston, the Messalonskee High of Oakland girls’ team set two New England records.

The Messalonskee 200-medley relay established a record at 1 minute, 51.8 seconds and senior Lindsey Prelgovisk set a standard in the 100 backstroke 58.7.

The Eagles also won the 200-free relay at 1:40.5.

Swimmers to compete in national meets
Bates, Bowdoin and Colby all have entries in the March 21-24 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Nationals set for Indianapolis. Bowdoin’s Nate Mecray, a former swimmer at Greely High of Cumberland Center, is entered in the 100 breaststroke at 56.9. Colby’s Mason Roberts qualified in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Kara Leasure will represent Bates in the 200 breaststroke and Allen Garner will compete for Bowdoin in the 200 individual medley. Meanwhile, Brewer’s Jessica Hodsdon will compete in the 100 breaststroke at the NCAA Div. II nationals in Mansfield, Texas, March 14-17.

Jenny Roberts of Sanford, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, was a member of the silver medal 400-free relay at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Roberts split a 49.8 on the 3:16 relay. She also recorded a 1:59.6 200 butterfly and a 54.5 100 butterfly.