Wednesday, March 12, 2014
ORONO — Bangor bolted ahead with its divers. Cheverus rallied with its depth.
Michael O’Donovan of Cheverus heads toward a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle at the Class A boys’ swimming and diving championships Monday at the University of Maine. O’Donovan anchored Cheverus to victory in the final event – the 400 freestyle relay – to enable the Stags to clinch the team championship.
Michael C. York/Special to the Press Herald
After 11 of 12 events: Cheverus had 328 points, Bangor 324.
The Class A boys’ swimming and diving championship came down to a winner-take-all 400-yard freestyle relay. The University of Maine’s Stanley M. Wallace Pool erupted in deafening cheers and shouts Monday night.
Cheverus got it, by all of 0.27 seconds. With the relay win, anchored by Michael O’Donovan, the Stags won their second straight state championship.
It made for an enjoyable weekend for Cheverus, which won its first girls’ title Saturday.
The Cheverus boys totaled 368 points to Bangor’s 358. Brunswick (180) finished third and Massabesic (162) was fourth.
“Our kids had an incredible meet and their kids had an incredible meet,” Bangor Coach Phil Emery said. “It just came down to that last relay.”
Deering senior Eric Delmonte was named performer of the meet after winning the 200 individual medley (1:54.58) and setting a state record in the 100 breast stroke (57.61).
“It felt smooth. Then I saw the time and I thought, “I think that’s a record,’” Delmonte said. “Then I saw everyone jumping up and down.”
Delmonte was one of four double-winners. Falmouth junior Jake Perron won the 50 freestyle (22.35) and 500 free (4:43.77). Brunswick sophomore Nate Samson won the 100 free (48.52) and 100 backstroke (53:06)
Bangor senior David Smallwood placed first in the 200 freestyle (1:42.38) and 100 butterfly (50.94) while also taking part in the winning 200 medley relay (1:39.64).
Smallwood’s performance, along with the Rams’ dominant divers, had Bangor leading by 34 points after five events.
“It didn’t look too great, but we knew we could move up,” said Cheverus senior co-captain John Devine.
Cheverus did not have any individual victories but won both freestyle relays. And the Stags brought lots of bodies. They qualified 11 swimmers in the championship finals and 11 more in the consolations (Bangor qualified 10 and five).
“The balance and the depth,” Cheverus Coach Kevin Haley said. “Everyone contributed, from the consolations to the finals.”
Bangor scored with four divers, including winner Grant Lufkin (366.5 points), who topped Stags senior Nick Jensen (324.15). Bangor led 191-157.
Cheverus closed the gap after the 100 and 500 free (including a second-place finish by O’Donovan in the 500), but the Stags knew they needed to come up big in the relays.
In the 200 free relay, the Cheverus foursome of Jacob Griffin, Walker Church, Tim Jerome and O’Donovan never trailed, although O’Donovan dove in with a 0.01 lead over Massabesic. Cheverus won in 1:32.90, with the Mustangs (Caleb Fushillo, Mason Darling, Cameron Mayhew and Collin Chamberlain) second in 1:33.36. Bangor finished fourth, its team lead cut to three points, 280-277.
Cheverus had no swimmers in the 100 back final but swam three in the consolations and scored enough for a one-point lead. That advantage stretched to four points after the breast stroke.
The difference between first and second place in the 400 free relay is six points.
Haley went with his best, including Devine, who had just swam the breast stroke, and O’Donovan, who was puffing after the 500 free and 200 free relay.
With noise coming from the stands, pool deck and everywhere else, Griffin dove in and gave the Stags a two-second lead. Kevin Kane made it 2.5 seconds after the second leg. Devine held on, keeping a 2-second edge.
“That was key,” Haley said of Devine’s effort.
O’Donovan dove in, with Smallwood following in the next lane. Smallwood had a great final turn and closed to O’Donovan’s shoulder.
“I saw Smallwood right behind me and I just went for it,” O’Donovan said.
The sophomore held on. Cheverus won in 3:18.30. Bangor touched at 3:18.57.
Soon the Stags were hoisting another trophy.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: