2017-12-06 / Sports

Local swimmers hit the pools

HIGH SCHOOL SWIM PREVIEW
BY ERIC MAXIM
Times Record Staff

BATH

As the temperatures dip outside, area swim and dive teams head inside to the local pools to compete in the 2017/18 high school swim season.

The Morse boys and girls are poised to compete once again at the top of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, but may see some competition from its neighboring schools.

Brunswick again looks to be a top contender, looking to another KVAC title. The Dragons lost Caitlin Tycz, a four-year All American and multiple event state record holder. Tycz now competes as a freshman for the University of Southern California Trojans. However, they return a large core of swimmers. And on the boys side, sophomore Nicco Bartone looks to build on a successful freshman year as they Dragons figure to be near the top as well.

Mt. Ararat’s program continues to grow in numbers, and both coaches Steve Butts and Tracy Boucher expect a competitive, fun and successful season in the pool.

Morse

The girls team at Morse

has high hopes for another good season and will be looking to defend its KVAC championship as well as finishing near the top once again in the state meet this February.

Losing only two swimmers from last year’s state qualifiers, the Shipbuilders return sophomore Olivia Harper (100 backstroke), co-captains junior Ella Martin (50 and 100 freestyle), and senior Leah Totman (100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley).

Haily Harper (100 breaststroke and individual medley), Delaney Young, Emma Warner and Jac Robata also return, each with sights on qualifying for the state meet once again.

Other seniors this year are Courtney Boden, Halley Gellatly, Aubrey Martin, Zenaide McCarthy and Madeline Skroski.

In 2016/17, the Morse girls placed second in the State Class B swim championship behind Cape Elizabeth. Olivia Harper set the state mark in the 100 backstroke with a time of :56.25. The 200 freestyle relay team (Olivia Harper, Haily Harper, Ella Martin and Ann Tolan (who graduated last spring), also placed first, while the same relay quartet raced a time that beat the previous state record in the 200 medley relay. However, the Shipbuilders fell short to Cape by four one-hundredths of a second to finish runner-up.

“We do have a few girls that will place very high at the state level,” stated Morse coach Todd Marco. “We have a very good group of swimmers and we look forward to another successful year.”

On the boys side, returning state qualifiers are senior co-captain Ben Willertz, junior Dominic Marco, sophomore Alex Gurney, senior Nic Hennin, junior Brandon Johnson and senior Braden Olsen.

Seniors Ethan Gagnon, Sebastion Halekrull and Alex Martin will also compete on this year’s squad.

“We do have a few boys that will place high at the state level, Ben Willertz in the 200 and 500 freestyle, Dominic Marco (individual medley and 100 fly), and Brandon Johnson (50 and 100 freestyle),” states coach Marco.

The coach adds freshman Evan Willertz will also be looked upon to place high in multiple events.

The Shipbuilders open their season with a home meet at the Bath YMCA on Tuesday against Brunswick at 7 p.m. They will then host Maine Central Institute and Messalonskee in a duel meet on Dec. 15.

Brunswick

The Brunswick boys swim team has been to the KVAC Class A championships the last six years, and in the top three in Class A States the last four years.

Despite losing top eight state swimming finalists Henry Raker and Eddie Capoldo, along with school record setting diver Chris Roderick, the Dragons return a solid core to be right back in the mix.

Returning state finalists include senior co-captain Brian Hess, junior Matt Yost, and sophomore Nicco Bartone. Hess set a KVAC record in the breaststroke last year and Yost won a pair events at the conference meet. Bartone had an impressive freshman year with two top three finishes and hopes to do the same again this season. The trio are established competitors and look to lead the Dragons.

Dual meet records and championships will depend on developing depth through the line-up. Senior co-captain Jeremy Vuong, along with classmates Sam Washington, Nolan Deck and Adam Thacker are among the group poised to round out a strong line-up for the Dragons.

The girls team has a fiveyear win streak at the KVAC Championships. And during that time, they have captured two State Class A team championships and three runners-up finishes.

Brunswick lost some key contributors to graduation. Along with Tycz, the Dragons also lost state meet scorers Emily Cowan and Hannah Escoe, along with two of the top five divers at the meet — Dina Murphy and Sabina Smith.

However, the Dragons do have depth to replace some of the graduates. Junior Alex Morse has a state top three finish in the 500 freestyle to her credit, and has been a part of the championship and record- setting relay team. Along with Morse, she is joined by tri- captains Sophie Blair, Anna Rider and Elina Woolever, who will bring depth and versatility to the team.

Sophomores Ella Tycz and Mallory Palmer have big meet experience and will be counted on for scoring. Senior diver Emily Coffin looks to be able to add valuable points in team scoring.

The swimmers will compete in their first meet on Tuesday, against Morse at the Bath YMCA at 7 p.m., before traveling to Lewiston later that week for a 3:30 p.m. meet on Dec. 15.

Mt. Ararat

With increased numbers on the boys team, and roughly the same number of swimmers on the girls side, coaches Steve Butts and Tracy Boucher are looking forward to a successful season for the Mt. Ararat swimming and diving teams.

“ From what we have observed from the first two weeks of practice, we have a very hard working group of student-athletes and are excited about the potential of both teams,” said Butts.

The boys finished sixth in the KVAC last year, while placing 13th in the State Class A meet. The girls placed fourth in the conference championships and earned a 16th- place finish in the State Class A meet.

While the coaches don’t view any one swimmer to lead them, they look to their collection of swimmers to score team points.

“We have a great group of swimmers, with a wide range or abilities, regardless, we are looking forward to a fun and successful season,” added Boucher.

The Eagles open their season in the pool with a meet against Hyde in Bath on Friday at 5:30 p.m., and a home meet at LeRoy Greason Pool at Bowdoin College against Waterville at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15.

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