It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, the Greely swim program was being alluded to as a bridesmaid.
Now, all the Rangers do is win and win and win.
Last week at Bowdoin College, Greely swept the Class B championships for the second time in three years.
The boys, who were second six times in nine years between 2001 and 2009, competed last Monday and tallied 386 points to outdistance Belfast (254) for their third title in a row.
Falmouth (170) came in sixth, Yarmouth (74) was 10th and an individual helped North Yarmouth Academy come in 24th with six points.
The Rangers had many highlights, spearheaded by Dan Spencer, who won the 50 free (22.30 seconds) and the 100 free (48.54), Evan Campbell (second in the 100 free, 49.63; second in the backstroke, 55.46) and Jonathan Dunnett, who was runner-up in both the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 59.23 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (54.78, a time which broke a 33-year-old school record). Ryan Plante finished fourth in the 200 IM (2:05.37) and fourth in the 500 free (5:09.45). Isaak Emery had the fourth-best diving score (221.90 points). Nathan Madeira placed sixth in the 500 free (5:15.71). Jack Benoit was sixth in the backstroke (58.96) and seventh in the IM (2:11.58). Connor Russell placed sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.00) and eighth in the 200 free (1:54.17). Griffin Fluet placed seventh in the breaststroke (1:07.48). Sam Reed was eighth in the 50 free (24.37).
Greely also won the medley (Campbell, Fluet, Dunnett and Spencer in a new record time of 1:40.84) and 400 freestyle (Dunnett, Campbell, Plante and Spencer, 3:21.24) relays. The 200 free relay team (Reed, Madeira, Plante and Russell) was second to MDI in 1:34.68.
Longtime Rangers coach Rob Hale had much praise to go around.
“The boys entered the meet as a comfortable favorite, but it didn’t stop them from swimming with a sense of urgency,” Hale said. “They put on quite a display. In the prelims, everyone had career swims. Going into the finals they just had to hold their places and it was a done deal. Some how they were able dig deeper and swam even faster. We started the finals with a meet and school record in the first event, 200 medley relay. The school record was 32 years old. The relay performance light our team on fire for the rest of the evening which was just as amazing. I was just in awe and proud of my boys. It was quite a team effort.”
The Yachtsmen had their best finish in five seasons. They were led by diving champion Ryan Conley (350.15 points) and Jake Perron, who won the 500 free (4:56.30) and was fifth in the 200 free (1:52.76). Shaun Lamoureux finished third in the 200 free (1:51.55) and fifth in the 100 free (50.76).
The Clippers, who were 10th a year ago, were paced by their 200 free relay team (Ian Edgecomb, Brandon Felker, Ethan Nightingale and Conner Lajoie), which tied Waterville for sixth place (1:40.25) and their medley relay (Edgecomb, Dan Grover, Lajoie and Nightingale), which placed eighth (1:56.35).
NYA’s Ted Elliot came in 11th in the backstroke (1:06.26).
Greely’s girls, runners-up seven times in the past nine seasons, won their second state title in three years, scoring 328.5 points to hold off MDI (285). Falmouth (138) was sixth. Yarmouth (109) placed ninth.
For the third year in a row, Sarah Easterling and Sara Schad excelled with Easterling (named Performer of the Meet) setting meet records in capturing the IM (2:06.11) and the backstroke (57.32) and Schad winning the 50 free (24.66) and the 100 free (53.73).
Two two also helped two relay teams finish first and set meet records in the process.
In the 200 free relay, Easterling got things started and Emily Domingo and Katie Whittum set the stage for Schad to finish as the Rangers posted a time of 1:40.84.
In the 400 free relay, Easterling, Domingo, Whittum and Schad had a time of 3:41.08.
Whittum was third in the 100 free (56.40) and sixth in the 200 free (2:04.30). Domingo placed fourth in the 500 free (5:38.31). Sidney Easterling finished seventh in the IM (2:25.96). Maggie Norton placed seventh in the 500 free (5:51.20).
“The girls were chomping at the bit to find out how fast they could swim,” Hale said. “If they were to come home state champions they would have to have a similar meet as the boys. We talked about just swimming fast and they places would take care of themselves. Well, their performances matched the boys. The girls swam fast and moved up from their morning seeds. In the finals, Sarah Easterling set the tone by winning the first individual event, the 200 IM, in a school and meet record time. Sarah wasn’t alone getting us fired up, as her sister, Sidney, also had a big time drop in the IM. It just snowballed from there. What started as a close meet turned into comfortable win.”
Falmouth, which won Class B five times in six years between 2004 and 2009, was paced by Nicola Mancini, who repeated as diving champion with 448.60 points. Brianna Esposito was the fifth-best diver (245.90). Marley Dewey was sixth in the 500 free (5:45.86).
Yarmouth, in its eighth straight top 10 finish, was led by Abby Belisle-Haley, who was runner-up in the IM (2:17.87) and fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:02.54). Haley Estabrook finished fifth in the 500 free (5:42.94).