CAPE ELIZABETH — Eric Delmonte, a senior at Deering, lingered in the water after the last league swim of his high school career Friday night at Donald Richards Pool.
The time on the scoreboard – 59.67 seconds for his 100-yard breast stroke victory – didn’t mean much to him. His club swimming coach had challenged him to swim something in the 57 or 58 range.
When informed that he had just broken the oldest record of the boys’ North Southwesterns swimming and diving championships, one that had stood since 1982, Delmonte grinned.
“That definitely makes me a lot happier,” he said after lowering the mark of 59.83 set by Dewey Wyatt of Greely.
Delmonte wasn’t the only swimmer to break a meet record Friday night. Cheverus sophomore Michael O’Donovan rallied in the final two laps of the 500-yard freestyle to catch Falmouth junior Jake Perron and win by less than half a second in 4:45.23. Perron, who had set the standard last winter, also went under his old record (4:46.71) despite finishing second.
Delmonte and O’Donovan shared Performer of the Meet honors in a split vote by the eight participating coaches. Cheverus won the team title for the second year in a row, easily outdistancing Greely, 372.5 to 234.5.
The most competitive battle was for third place, and Scarborough took that honor with 176 points, followed by host Cape Elizabeth (159), Falmouth (131), Deering (128), South Portland (107) and Westbrook (56).
“Coming from a strong USA Swimming background, no meet has ever been as much fun as this one has,” said Delmonte, who also won the 200 individual medley in 1:58.13. “All the teams go crazy … you can hear screaming everywhere. Not knowing what everyone is saying, or your time while you’re swimming, makes it even better, in a way, because it’s just pure excitement.”
O’Donovan also doubled up, taking the 200 free by more than eight seconds in 1:46.87. He was one of three individual winners for Cheverus. Sophomore Jacob Griffin won the 100 free in 50.77, and senior Nick Jensen ran away with the diving competition, scoring 382 points on 11 dives to leave the rest of the five-diver field behind by more than 100 points.
“I like the last dive,” Jensen said of a well-executed front two-and-a-half somersault. “But my second dive, I wasn’t really happy with. That (inward double somersault) was one of my highest (degrees of difficulty, 2.8). If I had done well, I could have scored a lot higher, but I wasn’t completely vertical (upon entry). I kind of landed on my butt.”
Fellow senior Fred Baldenweck finished fourth for Cheverus, continuing a trend of multiple scorers in every event for the Stags, who received points from 16 individuals. They also won both the 200 and 400 free relays.
“That was a very good tune-up for the states for sure,” said Cheverus Coach Kevin Haley. “We still have a lot of kids who are not definitive in their roles in their relays, and we’re trying to figure out their splits. (Friday night) they really solidified and made me aware of some possible changes.”
Freshman Shane Moore (third in 50 free), sophomores Griffin (fourth, IM) and Kevin Kane (third, IM; fourth, fly), junior Tony Penk (second, 200 free; fourth, 500 free), and seniors John Devine (second, 50 free and 100 breast), Tim Jerome (tied for third, 100 breast) and Walker Church (fifth, 100 free) all placed among the top five.
Jerome, Griffin, Devine and freshman Gustav Anderson swam on the winning 200 free relay. Penk, Church, Moore and O’Donovan wrapped up the meet with a six-second victory in the 400 free.
Greely’s senior quartet of Jack Benoit, Griffin Fluet, Jonathan Dunnett and Connor Russell won the 200 medley relay.
Dunnett later came back to win the 100 butterfly in 53.50, shaving a hundredth of a second off the school record he set two years ago.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Dunnett said. “Kevin Kane (of Cheverus) and Lucas Adair (of Deering), they’re both very fast. I just wanted to give them a good race.”
The other individual winners were Perron (22.89 in 50 free) and Westbrook junior Greg Violette (54.96 in 100 backstroke).
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: