March 17, 2013

Boys Swimming: Humble as they come, Lawton leads by example

Trebor Lawton, who led Cheverus to its first Class A title, is a repeat choice as Swimmer of the Year.

By Glenn Jordan
Staff Writer

There's a certain amount of chest-thumping inherent in swimming, particularly among adolescent boys. In no other sport is the athlete so exposed, so out there, so bereft of jersey or equipment or facemask to hide behind.

click image to enlarge

Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer


Arthur Conover, Messalonskee senior

Won the Class B 500 freestyle for the third straight year, in 4:37.94. Placed third in 200 free. Ranked among top 16 in the state in all eight individual swimming events.

Cameron Fadley, Foxcroft Academy senior

Set a Class B meet record of 1:55.77 in the 200 individual medley, which he won for the third straight year. Also won the 100 free in 47.49 to go along with 2012 breast stroke title. Undecided on college choice.

Jerry Gravel, Scarborough senior

Outstanding Performer of Class A state meet who broke state records in the 100 breast (57.83) and the 200 individual medley (1:53.07). He cut two seconds off the IM mark (set in 2010 by his brother). The breast stroke benchmark had stood since 1991. Will continue his career at LaSalle University in Philadelphia.

Will Green, Mt. Desert Island sophomore

Class B diving state champion who posted the season's highest scores for six dives (212.70) and 11 dives (398.40). Both marks are school records. Began diving in eighth grade but did not compete last winter.

Ross Johnston, Mt. Desert Island senior

Won Class B state titles in the 100 butterfly (52.31) and 200 freestyle (1:44.94). It was his second straight title in the 200 free, in which he holds the school record. Also led off MDI's victorious 200 medley relay.

Trebor Lawton, Cheverus senior

Won the 100 backstroke (52.12) and 100 butterfly (51.23) to lead Cheverus to the Class A state title, the first since the Stags won Class B in 1979. Repeat choice as Maine Sunday Telegram Swimmer of the Year. Will continue his career at Connecticut College.

Evan Long, Cape Elizabeth senior

Won the Class A state title in the 50 free for the third straight year, in a meet record time of 21.41 seconds. Also went under the meet record time in the 100 free (47.11) but finished second to Windham's Nick Sundquist. Plans to continue his career at Trinity College.

Jake Perron, Falmouth sophomore

Won his second straight Class B 500 freestyle state title in 4:43.88, a drop of nearly 13 seconds from last winter. Also placed third in the 200 free. Ranked among the top 25 in the state in five events.

Nick Sundquist, Windham senior

Set a Class A meet record of 47.00 in the 100 free and also won the 200 free (1:41.37), giving him three individual state titles. Holds South Southwestern records in the 200 IM and 100 and 200 free, and school records in six events and three relays.

Coach of the Year

Kevin Haley, Cheverus

A tumultuous season that started with great promise, then seemed derailed by illness, ended with the first Class A state title in Cheverus history. The Stags won the Class B crown in 1979. "It was the most traumatic year I've ever coached," said Haley, in his 25th season. "The two-week break between Southwesterns and the state meet was huge. They put it all together and got it done." Not insignificantly, Cheverus has won the Class A Sportsmanship Award two years in a row and five of the past six years.

It's you and your goggles and a clingy swimsuit, and good luck to you.

Which is what makes Trebor Lawton, a senior at Cheverus High, all the more unusual.

"By far, in my short 25-year career," said Cheverus Coach Kevin Haley, "he is the most humble kid I have ever met in any sport."

Lawton's quiet leadership, combined with his individual victories in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 backstroke and his legs on two runner-up relays, led the way to the first Class A swimming and diving state title in Cheverus history.

The Stags won the Class B crown in 1979.

"He's a great teacher, too," Haley said. "He goes out of his way to teach the younger kids, without my prodding him. He really, truly gets the team concept."

For the second year in a row, Lawton is our choice for Maine Sunday Telegram Swimmer of the Year.

He gets the nod over a strong pool of candidates that include Scarborough senior Jerry Gravel and Windham senior Nick Sundquist. All three swam the fastest time of the year in two individual events and doubled up at states.

Gravel set state records in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast stroke; the latter mark had stood since 1991. Sundquist set a state record in the 100 free and holds six individual school records. Both plan to continue their careers at Division I colleges, Gravel at LaSalle University and Sundquist at a school to be determined.

Head to head, Lawton beat Gravel in the 100 backstroke at the North Southwesterns, and Sundquist beat Lawton in a December dual meet in the 100 free. Gravel and Sundquist did not face each other.

"They're really good swimmers and I know they have a really good chance of beating me," Lawton said. "It's always fun racing them because you never really know what's going to happen."

Lawton plans to continue his career at Connecticut College, a Division III school. He applied to eight other schools, including a couple Division I programs (Michigan, Gettysburg).

"I went down at the end of January to see the team and the school for myself and fell in love with it," Lawton said. "I love swimming and I want to keep swimming, but I think I should have academics come first."

Lawton is leaning toward a biology major with perhaps a minor in business or economics.

Lawton (whose unusual first name is his father's name spelled backward) grew up swimming with Gravel as part of the Coastal Maine Aquatics club program, then switched last year to Sundquist's Westbrook Seals club because it cut 15 minutes off the drive to practice from Lawton's home in Gorham.

Shaving time. It's in a swimmer's DNA. The element lacking in Lawton's make-up is what was needed most for a Cheverus squad whose championship dreams almost faded when mononucleosis swept through nine members of the team, including the only other male captain, Reed Fernandez.

"I do not have the loudest personality, so it was a challenge to be a captain," Lawton said. "But it was a really good experience. I did come out of my shell a little bit but I'm still Trebor."

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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