BRUNSWICK — Each year the state championship meets are dedicated to a person with a long history of dedication to the Maine swimming community.

The accomplishments of this year’s honoree, Brunswick High Coach Dave Bright, are many. About the only line missing from his resume was a state title.

On Tuesday, nine girls from Brunswick corrected that.

After a slow start, the Dragons surged past defending champ Cheverus in the second half of the Class A girls’ swimming and diving championships at Bowdoin College’s Leroy Greason Pool.

Nursing a six-point lead entering the concluding 400-yard freestyle relay, Brunswick wrapped up the title with a two-second victory, thanks to juniors Lynsie Russell and Emma Blair, and sophomores Hannah Escoe and Caitlin Tycz.

“This is such a good feeling,” said Tycz, who also won the 100 butterfly and anchored the winning 200 free relay. “We knew our team was really strong in the second half and that we could only stack two relays.”

The final score: Brunswick 246, Cheverus 230. Surprising Kennebunk edged Bangor for third, 217-216, followed by Deering (183), Falmouth and Westbrook (tied at 143), Massabesic (137), Gorham (135), South Portland (100) and 14 other schools.

The meet opened inauspiciously for Brunswick with an eighth-place finish in the 200 medley relay, won by Bangor. Three events later, during a nearly two-hour break for diving, Brunswick was still looking up at four teams.

“We tried not to panic,” Bright said. “You still get nervous if you’re expecting to contend and you’re in fifth or sixth place.”

Not until Russell, as the second seed, won the 500 freestyle (5:20.78) in the meet’s eighth event did Brunswick vault into first place. Once there, the Dragons never relinquished the lead.

“That turned a corner,” Bright said. “From then on we were doing really well.”

Blair, Russell, Tycz and freshman Sophie Blair won the 200 freestyle relay by nearly two seconds over Westbrook. Tycz took second in a thrilling 100 backstroke to Kennebunk junior Marshall Lowery that saw four girls (sophomores Abby Longstaff of Cheverus and Anne Guadalupi of Cony) break one minute and Lowery set a meet record of 57.12. Senior Laurel Margerum got two points in the 100 breast stroke to set up the final 400 relay.

Tycz, the anchor for the final relay, entered the water in second place but took the lead by the first turn.

The title is Brunswick’s first since repeating as champion in 2001.

Biddeford senior Mariah Brady went into the meet as the top seed in the 50 free and second in the 100 free.

“I knew it’s my senior year,” she said. “I wanted to make sure I went out with a bang.”

Brady, named performer of the meet, won the 50 by two-tenths of a second over Deering junior Kate Pontius in 24.57 and the 100 by nearly a second in 53.67 over Longstaff, the top seed.

Not that Brady could tell until the clock came into focus.

“I don’t look (at nearby lanes) because it stresses me out,” she said. “You don’t want to think too much.”

Lowery, the only other double winner, took the 200 individual medley in 2:13.04.

“My goal was to get under 59,” said Lowery after the backstroke. “I blew it out of the water. I never expected that.”

Falmouth junior Charlotte Janelle had her eye on the meet record of 415 points in diving but settled for 395.25 to win her third straight title. Her first came in Class B two years ago before Falmouth moved up to Class A.

“This is my best states score,” said Janelle, who set a Southwesterns record of 405.15 earlier this month.

Like the other nine divers, Janelle performed all 11 of her dives during a session of nearly two hours. “I just like the whole atmosphere of diving,” she said. “Even though we’re from different teams, we’re all supportive of each other.”

No diver came within 50 points of Janelle. Cheverus sophomore Nina Greenwood, a first-year diver, was second at 341.60.

Other individual winners included Massabesic junior Elaine Dudley in the 200 free (1:56.73) and Edward Little senior Olivia Paione in the 100 breast (1:08.03).

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

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