CUMBERLAND – The question is posed to Sidney Easterling as she leans against a table in the computer room at Greely High School and considers her fraternal twin sister.
Why is she such a fast swimmer?
“I have no idea,” Sidney says.
“We both work just as hard,” Sarah adds quickly. “That’s for sure.”
Greely Coach Rob Hale also scratches his head.
“She has very good technique, but she’s not (an imposing) physical specimen,” he says. “I think it’s between the ears. She’s just mentally tough. And she likes to race.”
With Sarah Easterling, it could be genetics, or style, or competitiveness, or a willingness to practice three times a day (on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the season, there’s a preschool club workout, an after-school team session and then a return to the pool for evening training).
More likely, it’s all of the above.
She never lost a race all season, and won two individual events (200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke) and two freestyle relays at the Class B state championships. All four swims resulted in meet record times as Greely reclaimed the state title.
For the second year in a row, Easterling is our choice for Maine Sunday Telegram girls’ swimmer of the year.
A junior, Easterling gets the nod over an outstanding candidate pool that includes Falmouth senior Nicola Mancini, a three-time state champion diver who never lost a high school meet; and Deering junior Genevieve Worthley and Waynflete sophomore Colby Harvey, each of whom broke state records last month.
Easterling’s favorite moments of the season involve her sister and all the other Greely swimmers, male and female, who she describes as family. After a slow start to the season, winning Southwesterns and Class B and “seeing everyone around me doing well, it just reflected all the hard work we put in,” she said.
“I remember getting so emotional at those meets. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”
Of the eight individual swimming events, Easterling owns six school records and stands third (100 butterfly) and fourth (500 free) in the other two. Her 200 individual medley time of 2 minutes, 6.11 seconds was not only three seconds faster than any other girl this season, it was eight seconds faster than anyone in Greely history and would rank eighth on the school’s all-time boys’ list.
This weekend, with her Westbrook Seals, she is continuing her season at the club state championships in Orono. Next weekend, she’ll swim at sectionals in Buffalo, N.Y. Next month, she and Sidney will visit Texas as they begin exploring college options.
Sidney, an outstanding student involved in Greely’s International Baccalaureate program, will look at Texas Christian, and Sarah at Texas A&M and the University of Texas.
Competing at the Division I level in college is another Easterling goal.
“I definitely want to challenge myself,” she said.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: