After a a couple of meets trying to find the right combination, Lewiston coach Troy Boutin settled on those three along with senior Elizabeth Small on the 200-yard medley relay team, and they ended up 10th at the Class A State meet in that event.

It was their time competing with the Twin Cities team that helped them get ready for their first high school season. The chemistry also clicked because all three had been swimming together for the past five seasons.

“I think we were very comfortable with each other so we could form a good team,” Cronkhite said. “We are all really good friends.”

Boutin didn’t have to do much teaching last season because they had the basics what they learned at Twin Cities.

“Certainly all three girls had cut their teeth and learned their strokes well from the Twin Cities swim team and their coaches Tom Manduca and Louise Tirabassi,” Boutin said. “They were strong swimmers to start with. Brooke, for instance, to use as an example, finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time that would be competitive at most college meets in northern New England. All three swimmers were in good level of preparation from the beginning.”

Cloutier’s time in the 100-yard breaststroke at the state championship was 1:10.92


The four girls came together for the first time on Dec. 17 when they faced Mt. Ararat. They won the 200-yard medley by nearly 23 seconds over teammates Bailey Charest, Hannah Dickerson, Kaitlyn Reny and Sophia Turgeron.

Howe’s portion of the relay was the backstroke, Cloutier had the breaststroke, Small had the butterfly and Cronkhite was the anchor of the team with the freestyle.

They knew to do well at the relay events, the goal wasn’t battling with each other for the fastest times, but using each other’s strengths to record the fastest time possible.

“I feel like we knew each other, it’s not like we didn’t have to compete with each other, we are a family,” Howe said. “We knew this is what we have to do to accomplish this and we got along together. It made everything easier.”

Just like any family, there needs to be that authoritative figure or the head of the household. Howe, Cloutier and Cronkhite had a nickname for the elder statesman on the medley relay team: She was known as “Mom.”

“We respected her so much much because she had been doing this (three) years before us,” Cronkhite said. “She was like our role model.”


They liked how Small was around to talk when they ever needed to talk.

“Liz first and foremost was just a very good person and a good teammate; who helped them teach sportsmanship and helped them get them through their first season as high school swimmers,” Boutin said. “Liz, as a swimmer, was somewhat of Sherman Tank and she would go after anything you put in front of her with everything she had to give. “

Small also swam with the Twin Cities swim team, but with the age gap, the three younger girls didn’t know her well before getting onto the high school swim team.

“I knew her but I was close with her because she was so much older than me, but now that we were both in high school, the age difference didn’t really matter,” Cloutier said.

The four bonded in their one season together and made their last two races count.

At the KVAC Championship, they finished fourth with their best time of the season at 2:07.42. The 200-yard medley relay is usually the first event of any meet and the freshmen wanted to make Small’s last state championship appearance a memorable one.


“I don’t remember if it was our best time or not, I think it was the most fun relay we had,” Cronkhite said.

They were swimming pretty well heading into the two championship meets.

“When you get to championship meets either it be at the conference level and the state level, it’s another whole level of anxiety and anticipation added onto on a swim that you have done a number of times in your life,” Boutin said. “It makes it that much harder to perform and I think the fact the girls did as well as they did at KVACs and states speaks volumes on who they are as swimmers.

Going into this season, Boutin will add another Twin Cities swimmer to round out this year’s medley team.

“Yes the three girls will be competing in that medley relay this year as well as other relays,” Boutin said. “Joining them is going to be our new freshmen Melina Masselli, who will be taking (Elizabeth’s) role in the butterfly.”

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