Greely girls swim to Southwesterns title
The swimming postseason began last weekend with the north division Southwesterns at Davan Pool in Westbrook.
After cheering the boys' team on to three straight crowns, the Greely girls joined the fun this year, finishing first for the first time since 2007, easily outdistancing Cheverus, Scarborough and Falmouth.
The Rangers weren't as fortunate on the boys' side as their reign ended with a second-place finish behind Scarborough. Falmouth came in eighth.
The Greely girls, who placed third each of the past two winters, came into the meet expecting to win and more than lived up to billing. The Rangers wound up with 309 points, which left runner-up Cheverus (201) and third-place Scarborough (200) far in their wake. Falmouth (184 points) was next.
After a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay, the Rangers got wins from sophomore Sara Schad in the 100 freestyle (54.88 seconds), Sarah Easterling in the 100 backstroke (1 minute, 0.52 seconds) and from their 400 free relay squad (Easterling, junior Megan Stroud, senior Taylor Roach and Schad), which set a new-pool, school and meet record with a time of 3:42.81.
Greely also got runner-up performances from Easterling in the 200 free (2:00.83), Schad in the 50 free (25.59), Stroud in the backstroke (1:06.24) and Emily Domingo in the 500 free (5:50.64). The 200 free relay team came in third.
"Going into the meet we knew we should win comfortably according to the seeds, but we did not know that we would perform at the level that we did," said longtime Rangers coach Rob Hale. "It was the best meet any of my teams have ever had in my 22 years of competing in the Southwesterns. We had 19 girls swim and everyone scored and recorded a best time. On top of that, there were three school records, one meet record, and one pool record.
"All that considered, we like our chances at the state championship. We will have all but the diving event covered. In fact, unfortunately, we will have girls who made qualifying standards but will not be able to swim due to a cap in entries allowed per team."
Falmouth, the defending Class B state champion, was led by senior Adrienne Madden, who won the 50 free (25.07) and was runner-up to Schad in the 100 free (55.64), sophomore divers Nicola Mancini (356.10) and Evie Perry (297.70) who went 1-2 in their event, and its 200 free relay squad (senior Sarah Uminski, sophomore Alison Rand, senior Hayley Couper and Madden), which was first in 1:46.79.
"We never win this meet," said Yachtsmen coach John Keyes. "We just try and swim as fast as we can and have fun. We'll focus on the state meet, but I think Greely has too much this year."
Scarborough won the boys' meet with 287 points. Greely had 246 to beat Cheverus (226) for second. Falmouth (58) came in eighth.
The Red Storm, led by the dazzling Gravel brothers, senior Robby, junior Kip and freshman Jerry, who won five individual races and led their team to new record in the 200 medley relay, were too much for the Rangers to overcome, but Greely made noise nonetheless.
Senior Patrick Bowden took the 100 breast with a time of 1:04.22. The Rangers then capped the event with a win in the 400 free relay, as senior Kyle Wilson, junior Peter Pacent, junior Ian Mecray and sophomore Dan Spencer finished in 3:32.16.
Greely was runner-up in the medley relay (sophomore Evan Campbell, Bowden, senior John Madeira and junior Kyle Morrison, 1:48.49). Bowden was second to Robby Gravel in the IM (2:05.00). Madeira was runner-up to Jerry Gravel in the backstroke (58.09).
"Hats off to the Scarborough 'Red Gravels' and the rest of their talented and deep team," Hale said. "They put on a great show. Robby Gravel ranks up there with some of the all-time great high school swimmers of Maine. My boys started out with a whimper but as the meet progressed so did our performances. We knew going into the meet that our chance of four-peating was real slim so we used our expected battle with Cheverus for second as a tune up for the state championship."
Greely hosts South Portland Thursday in the regular season finale, then turns its attention to states.
"We are pleased where we're at at this point and are ready for our annual clash with MDI," Hale said. "If we swim like we have been, we like our chances of bringing the trophy back south."
Falmouth's top finisher was sophomore diver Ryan Conley, who was fifth with a score of 223.20. The Yachtsmen's best relay was the 200 free, as senior Bryce Leary, senior Josh Grassman, sophomore Jack Kilbride and freshman Shaun Lamoreux placed sixth (1:49.37).
Falmouth is at Scarborough in the regular season finale Thursday.
The Class B boys' state championship meet is Saturday, Feb. 13 at the University of Maine in Orono. The girls' meet is Monday, Feb. 15, at the same location.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com