All four Maine State Swimming Championships happened over the past week ending the 2014-15 season. The boy’s Class B championship was at the University of Maine on the 14th while the girls Class B swam on the 16th. Class A swam at Bowdoin College with the girls on the 17th and the boys the 18th.
New this year, all four championships were changed from the typical “trials-finals” schedule, where swimmers compete for a top 16 place in trials to return at night, to a “timed-finals” setup where swimmers compete only once in each event and placings are made by that swim alone.
Those unfamiliar may not see the issue here, but I see it as another nail in the coffin of Maine High School swimming. Some elite swimmers (more-so in years past) do not swim for their high school teams. The season comes right in the middle of the USA winter season and pulls swimmers into different pools, with different coaches, different practices, and different schedules. While I love everything about high school swimming it’s in most swimmers’ best interests to only swim club. Many of these swimmers consider high school swimming a joke, which is only becoming more true. The change to timed-finals makes the meet much less significant and in reality only slightly different than a common dual meet. Some swimmers need finals to reach their true potential.
High school swimming is an excellent opportunity for non-swimmers to pick up and learn to love the sport, but as fewer of Maine’s elite swimmers participate, fewer high schools will continue to support their teams. Just my opinion.
Despite these changes, these young men and women had some truly astonishing times.
In the Boy’s Class B state meet freshman Harry Homans of Cape Elizabeth won the 200 yard IM in a time of 1:58.78. Not too shabby for a freshman.
Senior diving star Will Greene won the 1 meter board with a new meet record 448.7 points. Greene has been a dominant diver statewide for the last few years.
Ellsworth junior standout Talor Hamilton blew away the competition in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 51.73.
Kyle Crans, a junior from Camden won the 100 freestyle with a quick 48.34 as the only man under 49.
Homans displayed his versatility as he won the 500 yard freestyle by over 10 seconds in 4:48.12.
Hamilton also was a double gold medalist as he won the 100 back by another large margin and new meet record at 52.26.
Teammate Cooper Holmes won the 100 yard breaststroke by four seconds breaking the infamous minute barrier with a 59.87 swim.
It was Cape Elizabeth High School who won the title with 275 points.
For the Girl’s Class B meet it was senior Leila Johnston who stole the show. She set a new state record in the 200 yard freestyle with an outstanding time of 1:50.63 winning by over 12 seconds.
Morse sophomore Ann Tolan won the 50 yard freestyle by a second (lightyears in the 50) at 24.35
The 100 yard butterfly proved to be a good race with MDI’s Lydia DaCorte touching ahead of Greely’s Hwanhee Park 58.69 to 58.95.
Johnston returned with another historic performance in the 100 yard freestyle as she broke her own state record touching in 51.02 a win by three seconds.
Teammate Lydia DaCorte won her second event of the meet in the 500 yard freestyle where she trounced her competition by over 30 seconds with a 5:08.45. The twelve and a half second drop earned DaCorte the meet record.
The 100 yard breaststroke was another good race as four swimmers touched within .6 seconds of each other. It was Cape senior Sadie Stiles who earned the win in 1:07.95.
The meet came down once again to the 400 yard freestyle relay. The scores came down to Greely and MDI. If MDI won the relay and Greely placed second Greely would still win the meet by the slimmest possible margin – .5 points. MDI handily won the relay thus their hopes rested in another team beating Greely for second place. Morse High School was their only chance and Ann Tolan’s final anchor leg of 52.90 looked promising, yet Greely’s lead was too great.
The Greely women topped MDI by half a point with 350.1 points.
The Girl’s Class A meet seemed to lack the depth of previous years, but still showed some stellar performances. Caitlin Tycz of Brunswick won the 100 yard butterfly with a killer 54.99 slightly slower than her seed time possibly foreshadowing faster times yet to come.
Biddeford senior Mariah Brady won the 100 yard freestyle as the only swimmer under 54 in 53.67.
In the 100 yard backstroke Kennebunk junior Marshall Lowery upset the usually unstoppable Tycz with a meet record time of 57.12 to Tycz’s 58.47. Lowery is a new name to me (sorry Marshall), but this swim certainly hints at more fast times in the future.
Olivia Paione, a senior from Edward Little, won the 100 yard breaststroke in 1:08.03 over four seconds ahead of second place.
Brunswick earned the state title with 246 points.
The Boy’s Class A championship saw some of the best races of the season. In the 200 yard freestyle Falmouth’s Jake Perron and Cheverus’s Michael O’Donovan battled with Perron touching ahead in 1:41.32 to O’Donovan’s 1:41.82.
The 200 yard IM saw Cheverus’s Kevin Kane touch first in 1:57.66; a five second drop for Kane.
Kyle Adam’s of Bangor won the 1 meter diving competition with a score of 396.25 outscoring second place by over 100 points.
Westbrook’s Greg Violette handily won the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 52.01.
Nate Samson of Brunswick narrowly missed the state record in the 100 yard freestyle with a rapid 46.64 winning by over two seconds.
Distance specialist Jake Perron returned to win the 500 yard freestyle over rival O’Donovan with a blistering fast 4:38.71.
After his win in the butterfly Violette earned another title in the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 52.10.
Freshman standout Colby Prouty of Bangor earned his first career title in the 100 yard breaststroke where he broke the minute barrier with a time of 59.57.
It was the Cheverus boys who won the meet with a score of 360 points.
Spectacular times were displayed in all four meets, but don’t fret swim fanatics more fast times can be seen at upcoming meets: YMCA, NCAA, USA, and more!
EDIT (3/5/15): A previous version stated that “Many swimmers (often the more elite ones) do not swim for their high school teams”. As a few readers pointed out, this year, there are practically no “elite” USA swimmers who did not swim for their high school teams. In fact, in the past I can think of only a few who have not participated (even Ian Crocker swam high school). However, it has happened and it is my opinion that it will only increase with the change to timed-finals.
Thank you to the readers who spoke up!