Emma Hefty, Addi Dostie, Samantha Poirier and Izzy Bellefleur chat before EL swim practice at the Lewiston YWCA pool. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

LEWISTON — The Class A state swim championships could be a springboard for the Edward Little girls’ swim team.

Four of the five swimmers who qualified for states are sophomores — Emma Hefty, Sam Poirier, Addi Dostie and Izzy Bellefleur. The future is bright in the pool because they are willing to work and be coachable.

“One of the real nice things about this group of girls is there aren’t any egos,” EL coach Scott Morrison said. “Listen, I have coached for 20 years and I have had kids with egos. Not with this group of four girls, they check the ego at the door and they are all about helping each other and their teammates.

“Yes, they want to compete at the highest level, but there’s no drama with these girls.”

The sophomores say that they simply like being around each other and their other teammates.

“It’s really nice having a small, tight group because we are all really close friends,” Bellefleur said. “We all hang out at school and out of school. It’s really nice to have that small, tight group. It would be better if we had more girls going to states to be more of a competitive team, but it’s nice to to know we are all friends no matter what happens in swimming.”

The four sophomores each have had a different path to get to states, which will be held Tuesday at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

Take Hefty, who has dropped seven seconds in the 500-meter freestyle since the start of the season.

“I am pretty excited to swim against pretty fast swimmers, considering my times are faster than last year,” Hefty said.

Morrison said Hefty’s strength is that she paces herself through the full 500-meters and her splits are even.

Hefty also will be competing in the 200-meter freestyle. She believes her hard work over the past year has contributed to the decrease in time.

Bellefleur, who will be competing in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter breaststroke, has been more focused on fine-tuning this season after her times dropped as a freshman, particularly in the breaststroke, in which she started out at 1 minute, 24 seconds and dropped down to 1:14.5 in high school competition.

She said it’s more difficult this season shaving a couple tenths of a second off for her time than it is ten seconds.

“It’s harder as your technique gets to the point where you have to find the little things to perfect so you are able to drop that time,” Bellefleur said.

Bellefleur is trying to control her breathing more by taking less breaths, because breathing slows a swimmer down, and she’s also been working on her pullouts. Her goal on Tuesday is to hit the 1:12 mark — which is ambitious, trying to shave two-and-a-half seconds off her time.

She achieved that mark while swimming with the Twin City Swim Club in a trial run a few weeks ago when she clocked in at a time under 1:10. Bellefleur was also quick to point out the different conditions that will exist Tuesday compared to a practice run — for instance, she’ll have less time in between swims at states, so she might not have the same energy as she would have in a practice.

Poirier’s journey this year has been trying to get healthy. She pulled some muscles in her back during fall playing field hockey. She hasn’t been 100 percent throughout the swim season. Unlike Hefty and Bellefleur, who have shaving times from last year, Poirier has been just trying to get the times that she put up a as a freshman.

She qualified for the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1:18.76, just under the 1:19.00 state-qualifying time. She barely missed qualifying for the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing 17 hundredths of a second off the 1:24 qualifying time.

Poirier is proud of the progress she’s made this season.

“I was really excited that the work I slowly put in and build up to paid off and to qualify (for the butterfly),” Poirier said. “I really disappointed (not qualifying for the breaststroke), but it was also the best time for this year.”

Morrison monitored Poirier time in the pool and limited the amount of times she made flip turns at the beginning of the season, and she followed her doctor’s orders in order to allow herself to heal while continuing to swim.

Dostie is a newcomer to the team, having moved to Auburn this school year from outside of Wilmington, North Carolina. She just started swimming competitively last year in the Tar Heel State.

She will be competing in two freestyle races, the 100 and 200 meters. While it will be her first state meet in Maine, she thinks the competitive environment she faced last year will help.

“Last year, I went to states, and this year I was trying to get into the top 16,” Dostie said. “I am close to that, but I am not 100 percent sure about that. It was definitely a goal from the very beginning to get to states.”