LEWISTON — Starved for swimming drama since the end of the Summer Olympics? You should have been at YWCA of Central Maine on Friday night.
The script couldn’t have been penned any better if the incentive were a Wheaties box photo shoot. Edward Little entered the final event of the girls’ meet against Cony with a one-point lead.
Cony’s quartet in the 400-yard freestyle relay included its three strongest swimmers. EL’s lineup was equally loaded, with steady-as-she-goes senior Sam Goulette out of the chute and sensational sophomore Olivia Paione anchoring.
“I had my second-fastest swimmer first and my fastest swimmer at the end, so as I watched it play out, I felt pretty confident that we would win,” EL coach Scott Morrison.
Win, the Red Eddies did, with Paione swimming a sweltering leg of 56.77 seconds to leave the Rams in the mist.
EL (81) edged Cony (74) for its second dual meet victory of the season.
“The difference was I think we stayed confident, and Olivia obviously when she went in, she knew she could do it,” Goulette said. “We all had confidence and it all came down to that.”
Goulette’s time of 1:04.06 set the tone for EL’s eventual winning margin of more than seven seconds.
Freshman Emma Paradie and senior Rachel Gagne also shared in the triumph. The foursome’s aggregate time was 4:21.85.
Minus seven swimmers who are either sick or injured, the Eddies overcame that lack of depth with a flurry of race wins.
Goulette and Paione each went 4-for-4 on the night.
In addition to teaming up with Paradie and Gagne to rule the 200 medley relay, Goulette dominated the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley and Paione swept the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
“Breaststroke is my main stroke but that’s been put on the back burner right now,” said Paione, whose older sister, Melissa, set the EL school record in the 100 breaststroke as a senior in 2012.
Gagne (1:22.01) and Paradie went one-two in that race in Olivia Paione’s absence.
Paradie also pocketed runner-up points in the 100 freestyle, with Gagne snagging second in the 200 IM.
“We’re a really hard-working team, the hardest-working team I’ve been on in all four years,” Goulette said. “We’ve improved with the motivation. There’s way more motivation. We come here to practice and not just talk.”
Morrison said that Friday’s number of scratches actually was the Eddies’ lowest total of the winter. They averaged a total of 10 missing swimmers through the first four meets.
“But it’s a great group of kids, attitude-wise,” he added. “That makes the team.”
Melisa Petersen was a triple event winner (50 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay) for Cony.
The Rams dominated the boys’ meet, winning by a 103-42 count.
Cony swept the relays. Noah Aube led the individual charge with wins in the 200 IM and 500 freestyle.
EL had its share of winners, however, paced by Andrew Paione in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Michal Cwik topped the 100 breaststroke and finished second to teammate Jordan Stubbs in the 50 freestyle.
“It was great. We had a lot of teamwork there,” Andrew Paione said. “(We swam) good times and everything.”