Entering his final season of high school swimming, Brunswick senior Nate Samson rid himself of college pressure by accepting a scholarship offer from Florida State. The decision took a weight off his mind but did nothing to relax his standards in the pool.

“It seemed like every meet there was something that was either a school record or a state ranking or something,” said Brunswick Coach David Bright. “He’s someone who’s great at setting ambitious goals for himself and working toward them.”

Even if it meant battling flu-like symptoms this winter at the Class A state meet.

“I was violently sick at states,” Samson said. “I was sweating and shaking, wearing as many layers as I could. I didn’t have quite the meet I wanted. But that last race… .”

Not quite the meet he wanted meant tying the meet record of 21.41 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle, winning the 100 butterfly by two seconds in 51.04, leading off the 200-free relay that finished second … and, yes, that last swim.

In his final high school race, Samson opened the 400 freestyle relay with a 46.24 split to reclaim the state record in the 100 free from Ellsworth senior Talor Hamilton, who set it nine days earlier.

“It was a good swim,” Samson said.

For the second year in a row, Samson is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram boys’ Swimmer of the Year.

Nearly five seconds separated Samson’s 200 individual medley time of 1:52.03 and everyone else in the state. It came at the KVAC championships (won by Brunswick for a fifth straight year) and lopped a second off the state record set by Scarborough’s Jerry Gravel in 2013.

Samson also posted the state’s fastest times this winter in the 50 and 100 free, the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke. He was second in the 100 breast, third in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free.

He owns every Brunswick individual record except the 500 free – “I swam it six times over the last two years and missed the record by less than a second each time” – and contributed to all three relay marks, including a state record 200 medley time of 1:38.18 set in 2015.

A member of the Long Reach Swim Club at the Bath Area YMCA, Samson also gave credit to a personal trainer, Ida Messerman from Maine Pines, who has worked with him since his sophomore year.

Despite all his records, his favorite memory of his senior year came in his last dual meet, against Cony, which held a huge lead through two legs of the 400 free relay.

“My brother (Andrew, a sophomore) was third and I was fourth,” Samson said. “We came from ridiculously far behind to win the relay. That was cool.”


Kyle Adams, Bangor senior: Won his second straight Class A diving title with 449.5 points, 98 more than anyone else. During the season, he turned in the state’s highest scores for both six dives (333.60) and 11 dives (540.60).

Sam Alvarado, Ellsworth junior: Won the Class B 500 freestyle in 4:53.88, placed second in the 200 free and led off the meet record-tying 400 free relay (3:17.13) to help the Eagles win their first state championship, by a large margin over runner-up Cape Elizabeth.

Kyle Crans, Camden Hills senior: Won the Class B 200 freestyle in 1:47.88, placed second in the 100 free, anchored the winning 200 free relay and led off the third-place 400 free relay. Holds four individual and two relay school records. Plans to continue swimming career at Bates.

Talor Hamilton, Ellsworth senior: A two-time Performer of the Meet in Class B who set meet records in the 50 free (21.19), 100 free (46.42) and 400 free relay (3:17.13) and led off the state record-setting 200 medley relay (1:38.02) to help the Eagles capture their first swimming state title.

Cooper Holmes, Ellsworth senior: Won the Class B 100 backstroke by three seconds in 52.51 and placed second in the 200 individual medley. Also swam on the meet record-setting 400 free relay (3:17.13) and state record-setting 200 medley relay (1:38.02).

Shane Moore, Cheverus junior: Won the Class A 100 freestyle in 47.19, placed third in the 50 free and anchored the meet record-setting 200 free relay (1:28.21) to help the Stags win a fourth straight state title. Also anchored the 200 medley relay that finished third.

Michael O’Donovan, Cheverus senior: Won the Class A 200 freestyle by five seconds in 1:43.50 and the 500 free by nearly seven seconds in 4:41.42 to lead Cheverus to a fourth consecutive title. Also swam on the winning 200 and 400 free relays. Will continue his career at Marist.

Colby Prouty, Bangor sophomore: Won the Class A 200 individual medley in 1:56.90 and set a state record of 57.31 in the 100 breast stroke. Also swam on the winning 200 medley relay and anchored the 400 free relay that placed third, helping the Rams finish third in the team standings behind Cheverus and Brunswick.

Nate Samson, Brunswick senior: Posted the fastest times in the state in five individual events and ranked among the top five in the other three. In the Class A state meet, he won the 50 free in 21.41 (tied meet record), the 100 butterfly in 51.04 and set the 100 free state record of 46.24 on the opening leg of the 400 free relay.

Liam Sullivan, Mt. Desert Island freshman: Doubled up at the Class B state meet by winning the 200 individual medley in 1:57.08 and the 100 breast stroke in 58.77. Also swam on the 200 medley and 400 free relays that finished second to record-setting Ellsworth quartets, leading MDI to third overall.

Coach of the Year

Jim Goodman, Ellsworth: In his 13th season at the helm, the retired Naval commander guided the Eagles from a fourth-place finish a year ago to their first Class B state title, by a 90.5-point margin over defending champion Cape Elizabeth. Other firsts this season including beating Bangor in a dual meet and winning the Penobscot Valley Championship meet. “We’ve always had the talent, but never had the depth until this year,” Goodman said.