THE PLAYOFFS Cape Elizabeth girls' swimming returns to glory
Both Scarborough teams finish fifth
By Michael Hoffer
The curtain fell on the swimming and diving season last week and Forecaster Country produced plenty of memorable performances.
For the first time in five years, the Cape Elizabeth girls are Class A state champions. On Feb. 16, at Bowdoin College, the Capers had 306 points to defeat Morse (243), Messalonskee (240) and Bangor (232). Scarborough finished fifth with 156 points. South Portland (37) placed 18th.
At the Feb. 17 Class A boys' meet, also in Brunswick, Scarborough was fifth with 179 points and Cape Elizabeth placed seventh with 136. South Portland (62) was 13th. Bangor won the championship with 315.
Cape Elizabeth's girls won three straight titles between 2002 and 2004, but hadn't returned to the top spot on the podium since.
That changed this year as the Capers won two relays and four individual events.
Rosie Wennberg, Heather Kraft, Nora Daly and Emily MacDuffie combined to win the medley relay in 1 minute, 54.56 seconds. Daly, Kraft, MacDuffie and Wennberg led the 200 free relay squad to victory in 1:43.39.
Daly and Wennberg also sparkled individually.
Daly won the 200 free (1:59.29) and the 500 free (5:17.15). Wennberg was tops in the 50 free (25.25 seconds) and the 100 free (55.32).
That was just the beginning.
Kraft was runner-up in the 50 free (25.50) and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.75). MacDuffie finished fourth in the 100 free (58.34) and seventh in the 50 free (26.81). Abby Armstrong came in fifth in the 100 free (59.14). Lexi Bass was ninth in the 50 free (27.14) and ninth in the 100 free (1:00.46). Madeline Kraft came in ninth in the 500 free (5:50.81). Lucy Hewitt was 10th in the 100 butterfly (1:08.15). Paige St. Germain was 10th in the 200 free (2:10.63) and 13th in the 500 free (5:58.48). Noelle Webster came in 14th in the 500 free (5:59.60). Morgan Mancall finished 16th in diving (204.00 points).
Cape Elizabeth's 400 free relay team placed eighth (4:10.86).
"Our girls could not have swam better," said Capers coach Ben Raymond. "Out of all the swims we had, I think we had best times in every event with one exception. This is the most impressive team effort I can remember.
"The key was definitely the freestyle events, we won all four and scored about 180 points in those events alone. Almost everyone who qualified scored a point. It was a complete team effort. We would not have been as successful without the guidance of coach Croft and it is always great to be able to go over the final state meet lineup with coach Kertes, who is still probably the best swim coach in the state."
Cape Elizabeth will lose its share to graduation, but should make a serious run at a repeat next winter.
"The senior leadership was outstanding all year long," Raymond said. "I can't say enough about the accomplishments of Nora and Rosie, not just this season, but being leaders in and out of the pool for the past four years."
For Scarborough, freshman Samantha Couillard stole the show, breaking a school record in her runner-up performance in the breaststroke (1:08.26). She was also fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:20.00). Christine Beecher came in fourth in the IM (2:198.42) and was fourth in the 500 free (5:35.31). Dayna Ankermann was seventh in the backstroke (1:07.41) and ninth in the 200 free (2:09.76). Maya Glab finished 12th in the 500 free (5:54.66) and 14th in the breaststroke (1:17.95). Alison Reynolds came in 14th in the IM (2:33.65). Shelby Wheeler finished 16th in the 200 free (2:21.11).
The Red Storm were third in the 400 free relay (4:03.39) and fifth in the medley relay (1:59.93).
"We had a pretty good weekend," Scarborough coach Bill Stone said. "We were getting over illness so I'm not sure how much that was a factor. I thought Christine swam very well despite not making too many practices because of illness. Dayna had a tremendous meet. The highlight was Samantha, who got disqualified a week earlier at the Southwesterns, coming back to break a school record.
"We lose Christine, but we have the numbers coming back. Although we want to be competitive each year at states, there is so much more to the season than the point total at one meet. Our kids had fun and improved so that is good enough for me."
South Portland was paced by its divers. Defending state champion Curry Girr fell victim to illness and wound up fifth (252.35). Courtney Perruzzi came in sixth (251.60).
The Red Riots were 12th in the 200 free relay (1:58.83).
At the boys' meet, Scarborough scored in all three relays. The Red Storm were fourth in the medley (1:45.39), fifth in the 400 free (3:35.45) and 14th in the 200 free (1:45.23).
Individually, Nick Twomey was runner-up in the 100 free (49.85) and third in the backstroke (55.15). Craig Delisle came in fifth in the breaststroke (1:06.67) and 10th in the IM (2:16.00). Jack Clark placed eighth in the 500 free (5:34.19) and 13th in the 200 free (2:03.19). Mark Endrizzi came in ninth in the 50 free (23.76) and was ninth in the 100 free (52.91). Thomas Spencer finished ninth in the fly (58.74) and ninth in the 200 free (1:57.20). Adam Saltz was 11th in the backstroke (1:04.19) and 13th in the 500 free (5:37.58).
"For the most part, we swam better at night than in the morning," Stone said. "Craig swam well in the finals, as did Jack in the 500 free. Nick had a great meet, breaking 50 seconds in the 100 free and almost breaking 55 seconds in the backstroke.
"As for next year, who knows? We lose a lot of scorers."
Cape Elizabeth was paced by Kevin Flathers (third in diving, 250.25 points), Zach Gavin (third in the breaststroke, 1:05.86; and sixth in the IM, 2:07.24), Paul Wennberg (seventh in the 50 free, 23.91; and eighth in the breaststroke, 1:07.93), and Chris Makrides (seventh in the IM, 2:12.54; and 10th in the 100 free, 53.56). Will Pinnette finished 15th in diving (152.75).
The Capers medley relay was seventh (1:49.93). The 200 free squad came in ninth (1:41.70).
"All the boys who swam had best times," Raymond said. "Between Paul, Zach and Chris we were able to score 137 points and get sixth. The boys worked hard all season, but just didn't have the depth. We look forward to building on this for next year as we return all our point scorers from states. With some talented eighth graders and freshmen, we look forward to a great 2009-2010 season."
South Portland got points from three divers. Jaren Parras came in fifth (244.55), Travis Wibby was sixth (243.05) and Chris Carter placed 11th (184.25). Will York was sixth in the backstroke (59.68) and 13th in the fly (1:01.82).
The Red Riots were 13th in the 400 free (3:52.76) and 15th in the medley relay (1:57.78).
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com