Lewiston’s Lennon LaBelle flies through the water on his way to winning Saturday’s 100 yard butterfly at the KVAC Championships at the Bath YMCA.

BATH — Momentum’s association with swimming is more physical than abstract. Yet there is something to be said for the mental and emotional momentum of a swim meet when it comes to sophomore swimmers Lennon LaBelle and Brooke Cloutier and the Lewiston Blue Devils.

Standout performances early propelled LaBelle and Cloutier to exceptional meets and helped provoke strong showings by the Lewiston boys’ and girls’ teams at the KVAC swimming championships at the Bath Area Family YMCA on Saturday.

Brunswick swept the team titles, while Lewiston’s boys finished fifth and the girls tied for fourth with Mt. Ararat.

“The girls surprised me a little bit, finishing that high, but we had a lot of good swims on both sides, girls and boys,” Lewiston coach Troy Boutin said. “We had a lot of swimmers that placed within the top 12 and either improved their finishes or maintained them.”

LaBelle earned boys’ swimmer of the meet honors after winning the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke titles.

Seeded first in the butterfly, he posted a winning time of 55.80 seconds. 

The second seed in the backstroke behind Cony’s Nathaniel Berry, LaBelle finished in 53.69, nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Berry. The time also qualified him for the short course YMCA nationals in April.

LaBelle said he got the spark he needed for his memorable day in the meet’s second event. He started his day as the first leg of the Blue Devils’ fourth-seeded 200 medley relay team, which along with Hayden Bavis, Elijah Escobar and Matt Forgues, finished third in 1:50.46. 

“We did really well, so I was excited throughout the whole day. It got rid of all of my nerves,” he said. “(The backstroke) was the first time I went under 57, so it got me pumped for the whole meet. It was a great way to start.”

“Lennon has a beautiful backstroke. He gets complimented every time he swims it because people just love to watch him swim backstroke,” Boutin said. “He’s been swimming a lot, and we rested him just a little bit to hopefully help him produce some of these faster times, and I think it paid off.”

Extra rest paid off for Cloutier, too. Like LaBelle, she helped lift Lewiston’s 200 medley relay team from a No. 4 seed to a third-place finish, along with Abbie Howe, Melina Masselli and Esther Eseka. That served as a springboard to a new school record in the 50 freestyle and first place in the 100 breaststroke.

Cloutier shaved a half-second off the school record with her 25.68 in the freestyle. She was runner-up to Cony’s Talia Jorgensen (25.24).

“She’s pretty much consistently dropped time across the board in all of the events,” Boutin said. “She’s tireless. She works really hard. She’s been fighting for that school 50 freestyle record all season and she smashed it.”

“I knew it was coming pretty soon because I’ve been very close to it all season, like a tenth or two-tenths off,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it by that much.”

Cloutier touched first in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:11.47, nearly 2.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Molly Silsby of Cony.

“It’s not my best time, but it’s my best time for my high school season,” Cloutier said. “I guess I’m pretty happy. I need to work on my turns these next couple of weeks leading up to states.”

Brunswick’s girls ramped up for its Class A title defense by holding off Cony, 297-287, to earn its fifth conference crown in a row.

Senior Caitlin Tycz led the Dragons to gold in the 200 IM and 100 freestyle individuals and the 200 freestyle relay. She was named the girls’ swimmer of the meet.

“I think our girls went in as underdogs and just won it because, up and down the lineup, everyone swam really well,” Brunswick coach David Bright said. “Caitlin sets the tone with a great work ethic.”

Dina Murphy won the 1-meter diving title for the Dragons.

Brunswick’s boys swept the relays and rode individual gold from Matt Yost (100 and 200 freestyle), Brian Hess (200 IM and a new conference record in 100 breaststroke) and Seth White (1M diving) to cruise to their sixth consecutive conference crown. The Dragons finished with 319 points, well ahead of runner-up Waterville/Winslow (190).

“It will be interesting to see how they line up for the state meet,” Bright said.

Edward Little’s boys finished seventh and the girls eighth overall. Senior Maggie Chirayath led the Red Eddies with runner-up finishes in both of her individual events, the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

The teams still have some time to peak for the state championship meets, which are Feb. 20 (boys) and 21 (girls) at Bowdoin College. Boutin hopes his swimmers can carry over the confidence and momentum gained Saturday.

“It’s a young team, a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” Boutin said. “We’ve got a few kids that inched closer towards qualifying for states. We’ve got one more dual meet on Friday against Brunswick at home and hopefully they’ll makes states times. We’re going to get back in the pool on Monday, pretend like we don’t have conference and states and work hard for a couple of days.”

Lewiston’s Brooke Cloutier celebrates after her second place finish in the 50 yard freestyle during Saturday’s KVAC Swimming Championship Meet at the YMCA in Bath. She broke a LHS school record for the event.Edward Little’s Maggie Chirayath competes in the 100 butterfly during Saturday’s KVAC Championships at the Bath YMCA.Lewiston’s Elijah Escobar competes in the final heat of Saturday’s KVAC Championships in Bath.Lewiston’s Sophia Turgeon competes in the 50 yard freestyle during Saturday’s KVAC Swimming Championship Meet at the YMCA in Bath.Lewiston’s Dalton Wing competes in Saturday’s 100 yard freestyle at the KVAC Championships at the Bath YMCA.Brunswick’s Matt Yost competes in the 100 yard freestyle during Saturday’s KVAC Championships at the Bath YMCA.Brunswick’s Caitlin Tycz churns through the water on her way to winning Saturday’s 100 yard freestyle at the KVAC Championships at the Bath YMCA.Mt Ararat’s Madigan Saunders competes in the 100 yard freestyle at Saturay’s KVAC Championships at the YMCA in Bath.Brunswick’s Brian Hess does the backstroke leg of the 200 yard Individual Medley en route to winning the event at Saturday’s KVAC Class A Championship race at the YMCA in Bath.

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