CUMBERLAND — Greta Van Curan and Maggie McCormick will compete for Greely High in the Class B swimming and diving state championship meet Monday at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.

It won’t be their only state meet of the week.

On Saturday at Bates College in Lewiston, McCormick, a junior, placed second in the pole vault – at 9 feet – to help Greely win the Class B indoor track title.

On Thursday and Friday at Mt. Abram in Greenwood, Van Curan, a senior, will race in giant slalom and slalom at the Class A Alpine ski meet.

In age of increasingly younger sport specialization, Van Curan and McCormick are throwbacks. They’re not just multisport athletes, they’re in-season multisport athletes.

“It’s unusual,” said Rob Hale, the Greely swim coach in his third decade leading the Rangers. “They’re both outstanding students with great time management. I haven’t had a male be able to do this. They’re not as good at time management, for the most part.”

Twice before Hale had a dual-sport athlete on his team, most recently five years ago when Gwen Sawyer won an indoor track state title in the shot put and also qualified for the swimming state meet. He’s never had two on the same team and never had a dual athlete who scored in both the swimming state meet, and medaled or scored in her other winter sport.

McCormick is seeded 16th in the 50-yard freestyle and 23rd in the 100 free. Swimmers with the fastest 16 times earn points for their team.

Van Curan is seeded fifth in the 50 free and 100 backstroke. At last week’s Western Maine Conference Alpine meet at Shawnee Peak, she was fifth in giant slalom and 10th in slalom.

“I knew Greta swam previously,” Hale said. “I’ve been bugging her for three years but she’s turned me down. Skiing is in the family blood. So I gave up and then she showed up on her own this year.”

Van Curan, who swam in middle school and for a club team before that, said she thought two sports in the same season would be too much. But as a senior she decided to give it a whirl.

“I said if it’s too much, I’ll just stop,” she said. “But it didn’t end up being too much and I loved it, so I continued to do it.”

A typical day for Van Curan is catching the bus after school to Lost Valley in Auburn, running gates with the ski team until 6 p.m., returning to Cumberland, grabbing her swim gear from her car and hopping in the pool for practice. Hale holds afternoon and night practices.

“It’s the right way to go,” Van Curan said, “being cold and then jumping in the warm pool. I feel like skiing’s more of a leg sport and swimming’s more upper body so it doesn’t transfer a lot, but it can’t hurt to do both. Getting in shape is getting in shape.”

Van Curan was accepted in an early decision to Tufts University, where she plans to major in engineering. McCormick, who has another year of high school, is in Greely’s International Baccalaureate program.

“Which is a very, very heavy course load for academics,” said John Lane, the pole vault coach at Greely.

Not every school embraces the concept of multiple sports within the same season. Greely’s policy requires both coaches to agree.

McCormick said she joined at the behest of friends. She also plays field hockey in the fall and Van Curan plays lacrosse in the spring.

“There were some stressful parts,” McCormick said, “but there’s been really great support from coaches and family, and the teams. It’s almost at the end and I’ve survived it.”

The rest of this week’s school vacation will allow McCormick to explore possible college options. Until this week, her plate has been rather full.

Dual-sport athletes for the first time in the same season on the same team surely traded tips about scheduling and time management, right?

“Actually,” McCormick said, “we haven’t talked about it.”

Of course. They’ve been too busy.


Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


CORRECTION: This story was updated at 8:04 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2018, to correct the name of Greely’s indoor track coach. It was updated at 12:38 p.m. to correct the attribution on a quote by John Lane, the pole vault coach at Greely.

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