LEWISTON — Ryan Robitaille tackles such a brutal schedule and demonstrates such depth and versatility in the swimming pool that it seems the St. Dominic Academy junior must have a secret twin.

Next month’s Class B state championship meet could put that theory to the test, come to think of it.

Robitaille has posted times this season that rank him among the top 10 racers in the state in four different events; the top 15 in three others.

In other words, if it were physically possible, practical or allowable to compete in every individual race for which he has qualified, Robitaille could expect to swim in the final or consolation final seven times at the state competition.

“Anywhere I can fit in,” he said.

That is never a problem for Robitaille, arguably the most accomplished and decorated swimmer in the brief history of the St. Dom’s boys’ program.

Robitaille already owns two top-eight medals from previous state meets, in the 100-yard backstroke and 200 individual medley.

He owns the school record in all but two individual events and has lowered his own record clip in three different disciplines this winter.

“The swimmers that are versatile, that have been swimming for some time, we try to qualify them in every single event,” said Marc Robitaille, St. Dom’s coach and Ryan’s father. “It’s still kind of up in the air, because he’s kind of all across the board.”

That makes finding the younger Robitaille at a meet difficult enough.

Trying to keep tabs on him at a random hour of any given school day? Good luck.

St. Dom’s meets at Lewiston YWCA three days a week for a 5:30 a.m. practice. Most afternoons there is another 90-minute block in Tarbell Pool at Bates College.

From there, Robitaille squeezes in a few bites of supper and a little homework before diving into a 7 to 9 p.m. practice at the Y with the Twin Cities Swim Team.

“It’s a very demanding balance,“ Marc Robitaille said. “It teaches them time management skills. It’s not just about developing them as swimmers but developing them as students and developing them as good people as they get older. It teaches them responsibility early on.”

Robitaille joined the Y’s summer program at age 9 and was hooked. Tom Manduca, his original coach at the Y, remains a mentor for both the swimmer and his dad.

Training year-round for high school and club competition, Robitaille long ago abandoned other team sports.

“It’s something that took a while,” he said. “I tried all different sports. Then I started swimming and I liked it. As I got older I started to get a lot better at it and focused more on it.”

His immediate goals, like the times intertwined with them, are tangible.

Robitaille, who said he prefers the freestyle and butterfly events, wants to reach the podium again in the Class B state meet at the University of Maine.

With three regular-season meets remaining, he is ranked fifth in the 100 freestyle; seventh in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.

There are relays and team strategies to consider, as well. Jake Nowinski also is qualified for individual competition with the boys. Multi-time state medalist Allie Lewandowski, Sarah Small and Ciara Ferguson have earned invitations on the girls’ side.

“As of right now we’re looking at a lot of top 10 (times),” Marc Robitaille said. “He’s kind of right in that phase right now in terms of trying to decide where do you place him strategically?”

When he’s wearing his Twin Cities cap, Robitaille is attempting to clear the benchmark that would qualify him for April’s U.S. national competition in Florida.

He is within about one second in the 50 freestyle and three seconds off in 100 free and 100 fly.

“It’s crazy (how close that is). You focus on things like how many breaths you take and just working on the timing of everything,” Robitaille said. “I have all throughout March to make the time.”

Spring and summer don’t promise a vacation from the pool, either.

When his training and meet schedule slow down slightly, Robitaille works part-time at the Y. He teaches swimming lessons there and at the public pool in Kennedy Park.

“It’s a skill he can pass on to the younger generation and mold new swimmers,” said Marc Robitaille, a Lewiston police officer. “It’s a great experience to teach them that they have to be mentors and role models.”

Robitaille also is juggling the academic side of life, including SATs and researching colleges with swim programs.

The University of Maine is one of his early targets.

“It’s just a careful balance. You have to really time your schedule,” he said. “Sometimes even sleep a few hours here and there.”

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