LEWISTON — It has been a year of adjustments for Lewiston High School’s Matt Charest. 

Charest entered his junior season with a new coach, a new relay team and the added responsibility of being a team captain. 

Despite the adjustments he’s had to make, Charest hasn’t missed a beat and continues to improve his craft. According to first-year head coach Troy Boutin, Charest likes a good challenge. 

“Matt’s so experienced that the adjustment for him has been pretty smooth,” Boutin said. “He wanted to be challenged, to be pushed. I’m not his only coach. He swims for his Twin Cities team as well. I don’t think there’s been any hesitation when it comes to transitioning from Dustin Carrier to myself.” 

Carrier coached Charest his freshman and sophomore seasons. He led the Blue Devils for three seasons before Boutin took over at the start of this year.

While coaching changes are tough on most athletes at first, Charest was able to make the adjustment. 


“I was a little nervous at the beginning of the year, but once I got to know him, he was awesome,” Charest said. “He knows what he’s doing.” 

The new coach wasn’t the only adjustment for Charest. The remainder of his relay team, which included Alex Mills, Jakub Suransky and Peter Tirabassi, graduated. In their final state meet together, the 400-yard freestyle relay team finished fifth in 3 minutes, 34.59 seconds, and the 200 freestyle relay took seventh in 1:37.68. 

Charest’s new relay team, which will swim the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley at the state meet, consists of senior Alex Miles, junior Caleb Lebrun and sophomore Matt Forgues. Both relays finished second at last weekend’s KVAC Championships. The 200 freestyle finished in 1:41.43, while the 200 IM finished in 1:55.19. 

Developing chemistry with his new relay team didn’t take long at all. 

“It was actually pretty fast,” Charest said. “We got along great. They’re guys I had already known. We were excited to see what we could do this year.” 

Of all the adjustments he’s had to make this year, the biggest one in Charest’s mind was the transition from being just a member of the swim team to being a leader.


Swimming has come naturally to him since he took up the sport when he was five, but being a leader in and out of the pool was new to him.

“I actually became captain this year and I’ve been trying to interact with the whole team,” Charest said.  I’ve improved on that. I just think it’s awesome to have some people that look up to me. It’s great to give advice to some people.” 

Boutin has seen Charest grow over the course of the season. 

“He’s taken it upon himself to really become a leader among his peers and model what it is to be a competitive swimmer and a good teammate and a good sportsman,” Boutin said. “As much of a good swimmer as he is, he’s also a cheerleader for his peers. It’s been a transition to taking on that role, but he’s done a great job.” 

Charest leads by example in the pool as he consistently finishes toward the top in his events. At last year’s state meet, Charest took third in the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.59 and finished fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:02.41. He will swim those events along with the two relays at this year’s state meet. 

Charest swam the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle during the KVAC Championships, taking first and second place, respectively. He broke the school record for the 100 backstroke, 200 IM and 400 freestyle relay at the 2014 conference championships. 


The junior said his best event is the 100 breaststroke. Last month he proved why. He qualified for the YMCA Short Course Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.48. The qualifying standard for that event is 1:01.09.

Qualifying for the YMCA Short Course Nationals stands as one of his best swimming memories. 

“It was just a relief,” Charest said. “I was thinking about it all year. ‘I need to make Y nationals.’ Once I got it, it was amazing.” 

All of Charest’s accomplishments in the pool almost didn’t happen.

Charest said he stopped swimming for a year when he was six. After attending all his sister’s meets, he decided that if he was going to be attending swim meets, he’d rather participate in them instead of just watch them from the stands.

Today, he swims for both Boutin at Lewiston and for Tom Manduca as part of Twin Cities Swim Team in Auburn. 


Charest has one final meet left for Lewiston: the Class A state championship. As he has all season, Charest is setting the bar high. He hopes to finish in the top three in both the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM. 

“I just try my hardest,” Charest said. “I do kind of put some pressure on myself to get better, but I know I tried all year during practice. I know it will show in my swims.”

Boutin expectations for Charest are right up there, as well.

“I’d rather not get too specific, because any number of things can impact a given race,” Boutin said. “I don’t question that Matt will swim races that he’s pleased with, that we’re all really pleased to witness, and I’ll be very excited to see what his final times are.” 

While the focus is on the state meet as well as his senior season next year, Charest said he hopes to swim in college. He is interested in Bates and Connecticut College. 


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