Figure, these Dragon seniors have known nothing but winning the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Swimming Championships, both boys and girls, and on Saturday at the Bath Area Family YMCA, the question was, “Is this going to be the year Brunswick lost its grip on the conference prize?”

Behind those senior swimmers, the Dragons would not be denied, winning both KVAC titles for a fourth straight season. The boys racked up 328 points to out-distance runner-up Messalonskee by 108.5 points. The Brunswick girls turned a close meet early with Cony into a 45-point win, picking up 327 points to the Rams’ 282.

“They were our last meet, and it was a close meet,” Brunswick coach David Bright said. “We won the meet, but scoring is different here. We knew it would be a toss-up. When a team scores four people, it helps. That depth for us came through today and you need it in meets like this.”

Messalonskee claimed third in the girls’ meet with 182 points, followed by Lewiston (121) and Mt. Ararat (98). Edward Little was sixth with 92 points, with Leavitt just behind Gardiner/Hall-Dale (79) in eighth (69 points).

In the boys’ meet, Messalonskee earned 220.5 points for the runner-up spot, with Cony (196), Lewiston (184) and Mt. Ararat (127) rounding out the top five. Edward Little finished sixth (97).

Girls

Cony captured the first event, cruising to a win in the 200-yard medley relay. In all, the Rams won four events, two coming from Talia Jorgensen in the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle. Gabby Low also won the 100 butterfly for Cony.

But, Brunswick was tops in six events, led by Caitlin Tycz with two individual wins, including KVAC marks in both the 200 free (1:52.36) and 100 backstroke (57.90), earning her the “Female Swimmer of the Meet.” Tycz also swam a leg in the winning 4 x 200 relay and helped set a state mark in the 4 x 400 relay, with the Dragons breaking the mark in 3:39.91.

Also winning for Brunswick were Emma Blair, capturing the 50 free, and Lynsie Russell, cruising to an easy victory in the 500 free.

“Lynsie had a couple great swims,” said Bright. “Her butterfly time (59.90 to Low’s 58.45) would have won any other year. She ran away with the 500 (5:22.77), a race she was pushing herself. It is a tough long race and she controlled it from the start.”

“I have never been happier, and just a great way to end as a senior,” said University of Arizona-bound Russell, who remembers the words of her older sister, former Brunswick standout swimmer Jessica Russell. “She has always motivated me. We both swam the 500. This is so special, and I told the girls, ‘Thank you for everything.’”

Alex Morse gave Brunswick a 1-2 finish in the 500 free and also claimed third in the 200 IM, with Hannah Escoe fourth in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM. Lexi Stevenson claimed third in the 50 free, Dina Murphy was second and Sabina Smith third in 1-meter diving, Blair finished second in the 100 free, with Stevenson fourth.

For Mt. Ararat, Veronica Miller won the 1-meter diving competition with 263 points, with Molly Huey sixth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 200 IM. The Eagles claimed fifth place in both the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays.

“They have worked so hard, another group of new swimmers working their tails off and trying as hard as they can,” said Mt. Ararat coach Tracy Doviak. “A lot of kids were really nervous, first time in a big meet like this. They were amped up and glad to be here.”

Lewiston’s Brooke Cloutier took the top spot in the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.41 and finished second in the 50 free in 26.41. Ashley Cronkhite scored a fifth-place finish in the 500 free. In the 100 butterfly, Elizabeth Small, Kaitlyn Reny and Kelsey St. Cyr were eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively, with Small taking ninth in the 200 IM and Reny 10th.

Edward Little’s Maggie Chirayath had the top showings for the Red Eddies, finishing third in the 200 free and fourth in the 100 butterfly. Leila Chirayath was eighth in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 backstroke. The EL 4 x 400 relay team of Maggie Chirayath, Lily Russell, Sarah Legere and Leila Chirayath were fourth in 4:26.67.

Leavitt’s Kristen Morissette was fourth in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 100 free, while Hornet teammates Jenna Boucher (seventh, 200 IM and 500 free) and Amanda Poulin (10th, 100 breaststroke) also picked up points.

Boys

Nate Samson, who will attend Florida State University in the fall, raised the level of noise inside the Bath YMCA during the 200 IM, his first event on his way to the Male Swimmer of the Meet award. The senior touched in 1:52.03 for a state, KVAC, school and pool record.

“It was a good day,” said Samson. “Individually and as a team Brunswick has done a good job and has become the dominant team in the KVAC. It is just a great team mentality. I would have been pretty devastated to not win the KVAC this year after winning the last three. But, we put it all together.”

“He wasn’t pushed in his races, so that is all internal motivation for Nate, which is impressive to see,” Bright said.

Samson also laid claim to first place in the 100 back (49.91, KVAC record) and two relays (200 medley and 400 free).

Chris Roderick dominated the 1-meter dive to the tune of 348.45 points to give Brunswick a win as the Dragons claimed the top three spots (second, Seth White; third Finn Jacobs), and Brian Hess was tops in the 500 free in 5:09.67.

Another standout on the day was Lewiston’s Matthew Charest, who won the 100 butterfly (52.57) and 100 breaststroke (59.51), two events in which he was favored.

“There is always a bit of nerves, but always an exciting experience and the fans are crazy loud,” Charest said. “You just want to do well for everybody. It is so much more special doing it here, just a whole different experience. This meet is so much fun. I get to see my friends from the other schools along with my teammates. We just all wanted to have fun here and we did.”

“Swimmers need to relax as much as possible to swim a good race, and that helps you to quell the butterflies,” Lewiston coach Troy Boutin said. “It is special to see Matt, or any other swimmer, swim a good race. Matt swam a smart race and put up a time that he hasn’t put up this year. He was focused. He handled the pressure pretty well.”

Lewiston’s Lennon LaBelle finished right behind Charest in the 100 butterfly for second, and also claimed a runner-up spot in the 100 back. Hayden Bavis was fifth in both the 200 free and 100 breaststroke, Caleb Lebrun fifth in the 50 free and 100 free, while the Blue Devils claimed second in the 200 medley relay (LaBelle, Bavis, Charest, Lebrun) and third in the 200 freestyle relay (Charest, Bavis, LaBelle, Lebrun).

Cony’s Noah Aube won the 200 free and 100 free, and came from behind to help his 4 x 200 relay squad to a victory by just four-hundreths of a second.

Benjamin Thibert of Messalonskee was first in the 50 free.

Other standouts on the day for Brunswick were Andrew Samson (second, 500 free; fourth, 200 free), Matt Yost (third, 50 free and 100 free), Ben Farrell (fourth, 50 free), Eddie Capoldo (third, 200 free; fourth 100 butterfly), Henry Raker (fourth, 100 free and 100 back) and Hess (second, 100 breaststroke).

Mt. Ararat swimmer Devin Hoskins finished third in the 200 IM and claimed seventh in the 100 breaststroke, while Noah Brillant was fourth in diving, Jacob Burnette sixth in the 500 free and eighth in the 100 butterfly, and Max Bickford eighth in the 200 free. The Eagles also claimed fourth in the 400 freestyle relay.

Edward Little’s Michal Cwik was second in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 breaststroke to lead the Red Eddies. Also for EL, Brendan Whitman was fifth in the 200 IM.

The State Class A Swimming Championships will be held at the University of Maine in Orono, with the girls competing on Feb. 15, and the boys on Feb. 16.


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