Lewiston swept Friday’s dual swim meet at YWCA of Central Maine, so naturally the Blue Devils were thrilled.
And St. Dom’s was pretty tickled, too, nearly running the table in the girls’ competition. Although ultimately undone by their shortage of racers, the Saints won eight of the nine events in which they had a swimmer entered.
“It is a numbers game when it comes to swimming,” St. Dom’s coach Marc Robitaille said. “The main thing with these kids is to focus on self-improvement. We have some kids that have been swimming for nine or 10 years and other kids that just picked up the sport.”
Lewiston (88 points) used wins by Jami Morissette in the 100-yard freestyle, Elizabeth Small in the 100-yard breaststroke and its 400-yard freestyle relay team to ward off St. Dom’s (65).
But Ciara Ferguson and Nicole Robitaille stole the individual show for the Saints, each going 4-for-4 on the night.
Ferguson, who entered the night ranked the state’s No. 4 Class B swimmer in the 500 freestyle, improved upon her previous best time by nearly five seconds. She finished in 5:40.84.
“I haven’t gone below a 5:45 in a while, so I’m hoping to drop my time again, but I was very happy with the race,” Ferguson said.
She also won the 50 freestyle and swam legs of the victorious 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays.
A junior from Oakland, nearly an hour to the north, Ferguson returned to the team after sitting out her sophomore year.
“Commuting issues. She got her driver’s license, so that comes into play,” Marc Robitaille said. “We don’t do the dreaded 5:30 a.m. practices anymore.”
Robitaille’s daughter, a sophomore, was the lone returnee on the girls’ side with state meet experience.
In addition to the relays, Nicole Robitaille lapped the field in the 200 IM (2:31.90) and won the 100 butterfly.
Emily Carney swam both winning relays and picked up the 200 freestyle victory. Kirsten Conner (200 medley relay, 100 backstroke) and Kadie Veinotte (200 freestyle relay) shared the winning feeling.
“I’m definitely proud of the first-year swimmers on the team. They did very well today,” Nicole Robitaille said.
For Lewiston — which cruised 112 to 30 in the boys’ meet — it was a night to shuffle the deck.
“We had a lot of fantastic swims. We swam a lot of people in a lot of new events. Basically we mixed it up to see how it went because St. Dom’s did have a smaller team,” Lewiston coach Dustin Carrier said. “We had a lot of people who had never swam different things surprise the heck out of us.”
Peter Tirabassi and Matt Charest each won three events for the Blue Devils.
Tirabassi was tops in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly and joined Dustin Morris, Cameron Boucher and Alexander Miles in the winning 200 medley relay quartet.
The freshman Charest, ranked in the top 20 in Class A in six individual events, won his bread-and-butter, the 100 breaststroke, and swam the anchor leg in two winning relays.
“He’ll be right up there at the state level coming in as a freshman. That’s huge,” Carrier said of Charest. “He’s one of those kids you can put him in anything and you know he’s going to do darn well. It’s nice to have a couple of those kids you can fill in spots and be versatile with. We’re happy to have him.”
One of Friday’s pleasant surprises was Blue Devils senior captain Alex Small.
Small won the 50 freestyle, his customary race, but he also finished second to Charest in the 100 breaststroke. He hadn’t competed in the event since his freshman season.
“I just told myself I wanted to make states and do something different,” Small said. “I was coming off a bad shoulder, only my second meet back. I just wanted to help the team.”
Morris was a winner in the 200 freestyle and Alex Mills broke the one-minute barrier to top the 100 freestyle.
Matt Dempski won the 500 freestyle for St. Dom’s, which has six girls and five boys on its team compared to Lewiston’s combined number of 36.
The Blue Devils have lost only one boys’ dual meet, against Brunswick.
“We have good kids coming in. We have a great feeder program. We have kids than come back every year that get better and better and better,” Small said. “We have a good core right now of four, five, six solid kids. The more depth we have, the better we’ll be.”
“The guys should pretty much win out, and if I did my math right we should be second at KVACs,” Carrier added. “We’ll see how things play out, but so far we’ve been ecstatic about our results.”