Edward Little’s Izzy Bellefleur is the 2019-20 Sun Journal All-Region Girls Swimmer of the Year. The junior earned a KVAC title and placed second in another event and then swam to two top-five finishes at the Class A state meet. Mitch Morrison photo

Izzy Bellefleur was surprised to find out she won the Chris Campbell Award at the annual Lewiston-Edward Little swim meet because the award is usually given to a male swimmer. 

Izzy Bellefleur of Edward Little is the 2019-20 Sun Journal All-Region Girls Swimmer of the Year. Mitch Morrison photo

The Edward Little junior’s performance in the pool that January night certainly indicated aaward-winning performance. She won the 200-yard individual medley with a time 2:20.56, finishing nearly three seconds ahead of the second-place swimmer. She also placed second to Lewiston’s Taylor Belanger in the 100-yard breaststroke and helped the Red Eddies take first in the 400-yard freestyle relay and second in the 200-yard medley relay. 

“That was really special,” Bellefleur said of winning the Chris Campbell Award. “I wasn’t expecting it. I was expecting it to go to a male swimmer, either from Lewiston or my team, Edward Little. I wasn’t expecting it at all. 

Edward Little coach Scott Morrison, Lewiston coach Troy Boutin, Bates College assistant coach Vanessa Williamson and the race officials all have input into who wins the Chris Campbell and Lesley Martin awards, the two honors presented at the end of the annual Twin Cities showdown.

The general consensus was that Bellefleur exemplifies what the Chris Campbell Award is all about. 

“Quite frankly, as we talked about the whole situation, what the swimmers were doing at the meet and how they were conducting themselves, Izzy was the perfect match for the Chris Campbell (Award),” Morrison said. “Chris was an amazing young man who would give the shirt off his back, who would cheer on every swimmer, no matter the ability, always supportive of his teammates, no matter what. That’s what Izzy did at that meet against Lewiston.” 

That regular season-concluding meet helped propel Bellefleur to strong postseason performances at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships and the Class A state meet. She also has been selected as the Sun Journal All-Region Girls Swimmer of the Year. 

At the KVAC meet, Bellefleur won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.67) and took second in the 200-yard individual medley (2:22.23). 

“I felt good, at the end of my high school season, I felt like I finished with some solid races and some best times for me,” Bellefleur said.  

Bellefleur said that racing against Lunden Dinkel of Cony pushed her in the breaststroke. In the 200 IM, though, Bellefleur focused on swimming her best possible race, knowing that another Cony swimmer, Cecilia Guadalupi (2:08.41), was going to have a dominating performance. 

At the Class A state meet, Bellefleur placed third in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing in 1:09.09, just behind her friendly rival Dunkel by six-one hundredths of a second (Guadalupi won the event). Bellefleur also took fifth in the 200 IM (2:21.90). 

Both times at the state meet are personal bests for Bellefleur. 

She said that sticking to the same events helped her confidence.

“I was swimming the same races, almost in every high school meet,” Bellefleur said. “It was getting really repetitive, but at each race I could focus on something new. So, when it came down to that last race, I knew I had put (everything I had) and done everything that I could have – I gave it my all.” 

Also at the state meet, Bellefleur helped the Red Eddies to a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard medley and a seventh-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Bellefleur is a member of the Kennebec Valley YMCA club team, and she said that helped her have success during the high school season because of all the practice time put in with both Edward Little and the club team.

Bellefleur was hoping to carry the momentum of her high school success to the YMCA Short Course Championships this spring, but the event was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. When the pools reopen, her focus will be on improving her times enough to qualify for the YMCA Long Course National Championship, which will be held July 28-Aug. 1 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“I am training really hard with my club team,” Bellefleur said. “Once the (YWCA) opens again, I am trying to (qualify for nationals). I am just keep on training so when I get into the pool, I haven’t lost anything. It’s all progress. 

Bellefleur is also looking forward to her senior season, and she thinks the Red Eddies can place higher at the KVAC meet (they were fifth this season) and the Class A meet (ninth) since the team isn’t losing too many swimmers to graduation. 

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