March 18, 2012

Girls' Swimming: Greely's Easterling a twin who stands out as an individual

By Glenn Jordan
Staff Writer

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.

click image to enlarge

Sarah Easterling was involved in four record-setting performances at the Class B state championships, including her wins in the 200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Sarah Easterling


Amelia Deady, Waynflete sophomore

Class B state champion in both the 200 (1:58.12) and 500 freestyle (5:24.50). She also posted the eighth-fastest time in the 100 free and was among the top 16 in the 100 butterfly.

Sarah Easterling, Greely junior

Three-time Class B champion in both the 100 backstroke (57.32) and 200 individual medley (2:06.11). Both times are meet records. Posted top-10 times in seven events and led Greely to state title.

Colby Harvey, Waynflete sophomore

Class B champion in both the 100 butterfly (55.72) and 100 breast (1:08.58, tied with Ellsworth's Cece McEachern). The fly title was her second and broke a two-year-old state record set by Jenni Roberts.

Nicola Mancini, Falmouth senior

Three-time Class B diving champion whose total score (448.60) at the state meet far surpassed that of any diver in either meet. Not since Katie Mailman in 1998 has another diver broken 400 points in states.

Celia Ouellette, Mt. Ararat junior

Class A champion in both the 50 (24.33) and 100 freestyle (53.84). Her 50 time was the fastest in the state, and she placed among the top 20 in the backstroke, 200 free and 200 IM.

Lindsey Prelgovisk, Messalonskee senior

Class A champion in the 200 freestyle with a time (1:55.98) two seconds faster than anyone else in either class meet. Also placed third in the 100 backstroke and anchored Messalonskee's winning 400 free relay.

Jessica Russell, Brunswick junior

Returning to high school competition after a year's absence, won both the 100 backstroke (58.67) and 500 freestyle (5:06.90) in Class A. Posted times among the top three in five events and was fifth in the 200 IM.

Sara Schad, Greely senior

Three-time Class B champion in the 100 freestyle (53.73) who also won the 50 free (24.66) and swam on two winning relays for the Rangers, who won the state title. Achieved top-15 times in five events.

Emma Waddell, Bangor sophomore

Two-time Class A champion in the 100 butterfly (57.32) who also placed second to Worthley in the 200 individual medley and swam on Bangor's winning 200 medley and 200 free relays. Posted top-six times in seven events.

Genevieve Worthley, Deering junior

Three-time Class A champion in the 100 breast (1:04.97) who also won her second 200 individual medley title (2:09.30). Her time in the breast lowered the state record she set a year ago.

Coach of the Year

Rob Hale, Greely

The Rangers swept Class B titles for the second time in three years, marking Hale's eighth for girls (including two at Westbrook in 1990 and 1991) and fourth for boys. With a mix of humor, (mostly) gentle sarcasm and genuine caring about his athletes, Hale coaxes them to realize their potential. After losing the Class B state meet to Mt. Desert Island last year, Greely opened the season slowly before catching fire in February. "They swam really well at Southwesterns," he said, "and I can't believe how much time they dropped for the state meet."

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:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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