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.

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:

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