Cheverus swimmer Phineas Underwood starts the first leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay in which Cheverus placed first at the Class A boy’ swimming state championships at Bowdoin College on Monday. (Portland Press Herald photo by Brianna Soukup)

 

BRUNSWICK — Heavily favored in the Class A boys’ swimming and diving state championships, Cheverus received a simple pre-meet speech from Coach Kevin Haley.

“Coach said to just swim hard. We’re going in with zero (points),” Cheverus junior Quinton Hastings said.

That zero turned into a dominating 318 points as the Stags won their seventh straight state title Monday afternoon at Bowdoin College’s Greason Pool. Runner-up South Portland finished with 227.

Cheverus is the first Class A boys’ team to win seven consecutive championships. Bangor preceded Cheverus with six straight from 2007-2012.

“Everyone stepped up and did their role,” Haley said. “We just needed to stay focused … South Portland is an excellent team and back on the map. We had a job to do.”

The Stags’ title came without any individuals victories — but had five second-places showings, and wins in all three relays.

Cony senior Nathaniel Berry was named the Outstanding Performer of the Meet. He set a state record (20.70 seconds) in the 50-yard freestyle and won the 100 freestyle (47.43).

Bangor junior Carson Prouty set two state records — 1:51.19 in the 200 individual medley, and 45.99 for the 100 freestyle while leading off the 400 freestyle relay. Prouty’s second individual win was in the 200 backstroke (51.03).

Deering junior Owen McLaughlin was another double winner, taking the 200 freestyle (1:43.01) and 100 butterfly (51.65).

Other top individuals included Scarborough’s Gavin McLeod, who edged Cheverus sophomore Brim Peabody in the 500 free by .04 seconds (4:45.51), and Hampden’s Cameron LaBree, who won the 100 breaststroke (1:00.64)

Mt. Ararat freshmen Anibal Berry-Gaviria (352.35 points) and Nathaniel Smith (337.35) placed 1-3 in diving. Westbrook senior Jakob Lynham (344.55) was second.

Cheverus received second-place finishes from Peabody (200 and 500 freestyle), Hastings (50 and 100 freestyle) and junior Jack Martin (200 individual medley). Martin also placed fourth in the 100 backstroke. All three swam on two of the relays, as did senior Phineas Underwood and sophomore John Hight. Senior Jeremy Baker and sophomore Owen Gallo-Wagoner also scored in individual races and a relay.

“We had the depth with all those kids,” Haley said. “We had 11 guys qualify, with seven scoring. Not too shabby.”

South Portland, paced by senior Momchil Dagorov’s two third places (200 IM, 500 freestyle), enjoyed its best finish since 1998, when the Red Riots also finished second.

“We had a great group of seniors come through and a great group of (underclassmen) come in at the same time,” South Portland coach Ryan Green said. “Every now and then, a program like ours has it come together like this.”

Cony’s Berry had his senior season fall into place. His record came in the 50 freestyle, but Berry was just as pleased with his victory in the 100, holding off Hastings for a second time (by 0.78 seconds).

“I’ve really become more of a 100 free person,” said Berry, who will swim for Bates next year. “I had to get over my fear and go out (strong). I started doing that and I became a lot better.

“That was a fun race. Hastings is a great swimmer to go against.”

The meet’s best race came in the 500 freestyle, with defending champion Peabody and Scarborough’s McLeod breaking from the pack, swimming side-by-side.

“It was pretty even the whole time,” McLeod said. “The last turn is when I got a little bit ahead. I didn’t know who won until I looked up at the clock.”

McLeod dropped 14 seconds from his best time this year.

Peabody was also the defending champ in the 200 freestyle, which McLaughlin won by 4.14 seconds. Peabody, who bettered his times from last year, helped the Stags collect 114 points, counting the relay wins.

“It’s really good to be part of the team,” Peabody said. “It’s different than club swimming because it’s not just about me and trying to get my best times. (I’m just) trying to get points for my team.”

Bangor finished third in the team standings (168 points), followed by Scarborough (157), Portland (155) and Kennebunk (153.5).

The Stags’ seven straight titles is still dwarfed by the Old Town boys’ 14 straight championships in Class B (1985-98). Cheverus may already be the early favorite in 2020, as only two of its scorers are seniors.

 

Bangor’s Carson Prouty competes in the 100-yard backstroke, in which he finished first, at the Class A boys’ swimming state championships at Bowdoin College on Monday. (Portland Press Herald photo by Brianna Soukup)

Cheveruss swimmers cheers on their teammates who placed first in boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay at the Class A swimming state championships at Bowdoin College on Monday. (Portland Press Herald photo by Brianna Soukup)

Deering’s Owen McLaughlin, far lane, gets out ahead of the competition on his way to winning the 200-yard freestyle at the Class A boys’ swimming state championships at Bowdoin College on Monday. (Portland Press Herald photo by Brianna Soukup)

Bangor’s Carson Prouty reacts after setting a state record in the 200-yard individual medley at the Class A boys’ swimming state championships at Bowdoin College on Monday. (Portland Press Herald photo by Brianna Soukup)