CAPE ELIZABETH — There was no celebration for Sydney Wight at the end of her victorious 100-yard freestyle race Saturday night.
Gulping for air, she put a hand on either side of her black-and-maroon swim cap before finally reaching for a metal bar beneath the Lane 3 starting block and slowly pulling herself onto the tiled deck of Donald Richards Pool.
“Great job,” offered Cape Elizabeth Coach Ben Raymond, who entered Wight in back-to-back events and watched her place a close second to Deering senior Emma Pontius in the 100 butterfly only 11 minutes earlier.
“Never again,” Wight replied, managing a wan smile before staggering off to find a chair beneath the scoreboard that showed her winning time of 55.23, as well as the 55.42 of runner-up Abby Longstaff, a Cheverus freshman.
Wight’s almost-double in those two mid-meet races led Cape Elizabeth to a come-from-behind victory over Greely and a successful defense of the girls’ North Southwesterns Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday night.
Cape Elizabeth, which trailed by 12 points with only two events remaining, went 1-3-4 in the 100 breast stroke with junior Sadie Stiles, senior Caroline Herriman and freshman Rose Baillie to take an 11-point lead entering the 400 free relay.
The victory wasn’t secure until a pair of Cape Elizabeth seniors – Jane Vaughan and Shannon Howard – successfully anchored Cape’s B and A 400 freestyle relays. Cape edged Greely by nearly two seconds to win the best of the B relays (good for eighth place despite a time beaten by only five A teams), and its A team placed third behind Deering and Greely.
“I like to have seniors in those situations,” Raymond said. “Big moment, and it makes it a little bit more special for them.”
The final score: Cape Elizabeth 290, Greely 279. Cheverus was third at 223, followed by Deering (178), Falmouth (135), South Portland (75), Westbrook (73), McAuley (58), Scarborough (40) and North Yarmouth Academy (34).
Cheverus senior Sarah Nappo was named Performer of the Meet after her record-breaking time of 56.69 in the 100 backstroke. Sarah Easterling of Greely set the standard of 57.37 last year.
Greely sophomore Hwanhee Park was the meet’s only double winner. She took the 200 free in 1:58.17 and the 500 free in 5:24.52.
In the 500 free, Greely sophomores Camilla Civiello and Katie Bacall came out of the penultimate heat to steal fourth and fifth place, just ahead of three Cape Elizabeth swimmers, two of whom were swimming the final heat.
“We’re swimming out of our minds,” said Greely Coach Rob Hale, who also saw junior Meagan Currie and Katie Dransfield similarly move into fourth (200 IM) and fifth (50 free) despite not being seeded among the top six.
In the opening event, Cape Elizabeth’s B medley relay team was disqualified for “underwater recovery” on the butterfly stroke, resulting in an eight-point swing between the Capers and Greely.
“That was obviously a downfall for us,” said Wight, whose butterfly leg helped Cape Elizabeth overcome a two-second deficit against Cheverus and set the stage for Herriman’s clinching freestyle anchor in the opening 200 medley relay. “I think it drove us more.”
Taylor Herrera (backstroke) and Stiles (breast stroke) also contributed to that relay victory, the first of two for the Capers. Baillie, junior Arden Wing, sophomore Katie Connolly and junior Sierra Bates beat Greely by a second in the 200 free relay. Cape Elizabeth also beat Greely in both of the freestyle B relays.
“It was such a group effort,” Raymond said. “With the addition of the B relays, you can get a lot of kids involved in the meet and the atmosphere is great.”
Other individual winners were Longstaff (25.22 in the 50 free), McAuley freshman Ana Neff-Jendrasko (2:13.94 in the 200 IM), Falmouth sophomore Charlotte Janelle (348.35 in diving) and Deering’s Pontius (58.58 in the 100 fly).
Pontius also anchored a winning 400 free relay that included Wyeth Spike, Kate Pontius and Sofie deOliveira. In the race for third, Cape Elizabeth’s quartet of Sarah Loring, Gabby Lawrence, Morgan Connell and Howard (with an anchor leg of 1:00.92) overcame Falmouth to effectively clinch the meet.
“They all swam best times,” Raymond said of the eight swimmers in the 400 free relay. “Shannon Howard has never been close to a minute before. I think that’s the beauty of meets like this, when kids get more excited and it just takes over. She had swum the 200 free and 500 free and still had something left at the end.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: