Brim Peabody of Cheverus competes in the 500-yard freestyle during the boys’ Class A swim championship in Orono on Saturday. Peabody won with a time of 4:47.41. (Kevin Bennett photo)
ORONO — In its bid to end Cheverus’ five-year stranglehold on the Class A swimming and diving championship, the Bangor boys came out flying Saturday at the University of Maine.
Their opening salvo was a state record in the 200-yard medley relay. In the second event, Bangor’s talented sophomore, Carson Prouty, surged ahead of the Stags’ top swimmer, freshman Brim Peabody, in the 200 freestyle.
Prouty led at every turn and by a body length at the halfway mark, but Peabody closed hard in the final length. At the wall, nearly every official and backup timer pegged Prouty as the winner, but the timing pad disagreed, clocking Peabody in 1 minute, 43.78 seconds and Prouty .03 slower.
“It was a huge bump in the team spirit,” said Cheverus senior Ben Adams. “We were already really excited, but we went from down here” — he held a hand near his waist — “to way up here” — he raised the hand to eye level. “It was crazy.”
That Peabody’s teammates, Phineas Underwood, Chase Cameron and Jeremy Baker, finished third, fifth and ninth added to the momentum, and the Stags maintained their lead for the rest of the meet.
Cheverus finished with 328 points to 250 for runner-up Bangor. Brunswick was third at 174, followed by Waterville/Winslow (152), Portland (145), Messalonskee (125), Thornton Academy (120), South Portland (112) and 13 other schools.
“They have huge depth,” said Bangor Coach Dave Barnett, whose team won two of the three relays and three of the nine individual events — more than any other team. “They’re loaded from top to bottom, swimmers in every race, so they’re able to just steamroll.”
Indeed, Cheverus pulled away in the freestyle sprints, outscoring Bangor in the 50 and 100 free by a combined 60-0. The Stags had seven swimmers (Adams, Peabody, Underwood, Baker, Cameron, Quintin Hastings and John Hight) place among the top six in at least one individual race, and two more (Jack Martin, Clayton Hatch) place among the top 12.
“Bangor’s tough,” Cheverus Coach Kevin Haley said. “What really helped us was our depth, and us covering the freestyle events, for sure.”
The Stags clinched the meet before the concluding 400 freestyle relay, but won that anyway when Adams, in the anchor leg, held off Brian Hess of Brunswick by a mere .18 seconds to win in 3:25.17.
“He came right back up on me in that last leg,” said Adams, who placed third in the 200 individual medley and 10th in the 100 butterfly. “I just threw everything I had into it. It was wild.”
Colby Prouty, a Bangor senior, was named performer of the meet after going 4 of 4 in his races, with one meet and two state records. Prouty won the 200 IM by more than 12 seconds in a meet-record time of 1:52.75.
He also lowered his own state mark in the 100 breast stroke to 56.99 and swam on two winning relays.
Prouty swam the breast stroke leg on the 200 medley relay that broke Bangor’s 2017 state record, finishing in 1:37.33. He also swam on the victorious 200 freestyle relay team.
“It actually was very emotional going up to the podium,” following his final race, the 100 breast stroke, he said. “ I think I broke down with my coach. It was a good moment.”
Peabody added a victory in the 500 freestyle in 4:47.41 and was the only swimmer to break 5 minutes. He also swam on Cheverus’ second-place 200 freestyle and winning 400 freestyle relays.
Carson Prouty came back to win the 100 backstroke by more than two seconds in 51.81.
Lewiston fared well Saturday. Lennon LaBelle led the way for the Blue Devils with a fourth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke and a ninth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly. He also helped the Devils to an eighth-place finish in the 200-medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Hayden Bavis placed 11th in the 100-yard breast stroke and Elijah Escobar snuck into 16th position in the 100-yard freestyle.
Edward Little’s Brendan Whitman placed in two events, garnering a pair of 12th-place finishes in the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke races.
Brunswick had two individual winners, Matt Yost in the 100 freestyle (49.13) and Hess in the 50 freestyle (21.87). Anthony Wardwell of Bucksport won diving with 396.00 points. Cameron LaBree of Hampden Academy won the 100 butterfly in 53.22.
Eight of the nine scoring Cheverus swimmers are underclassmen. The purple reign seems destined to continue.
Colby Prouty of Bangor competes in the 100-yard breast stroke during the boys’ Class A swim championship in Orono on Saturday. (Kevin Bennett photo)