A technical glitch with the scoreboard at Bowdoin College’s Greason Pool caused a lengthy delay at the start of the Class B girls’ swimming and diving state championship meet in February.

Instead of pacing about the deck fretting about upcoming races, Olivia Tighe and her Cape Elizabeth teammates took advantage of upbeat music piping through loudspeakers for an impromptu poolside dance party, and beckoned other teams to join in.

“She really loves swimming,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Ben Raymond, “and she wants everyone else on the team to love swimming as much as she does. She puts a lot of effort into creating that environment. Everybody working together makes for a fun group to be around.”

Tighe, a junior captain, stood out from her teammates during the dancing because she wore a tie-dyed T-shirt and a knit cap. Because all her races were scheduled for the second half of the meet, she could wait to warm up until after diving, the fifth of 12 events.

Of course, once she made it into the water, she stood out for other reasons.

Tighe set a state record of 50.23 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle. She immediately returned to the pool and won the 500 free in a time – 5:03.21 – nine seconds faster than that of any other girl in the state this winter.

Another state record fell in the next race as Tighe anchored Cape’s 200 free relay to a 1:36.20 clocking. She capped her day with yet another victorious anchor leg as the Capers came within three tenths of a second of the 400 free relay state record (3:32.67) that Tighe helped set a year earlier.

A disqualification in the opening 200 medley relay turned out to be more speed bump than obstacle for Cape Elizabeth, which won the state title over Greely, 351-335. Tighe was named Performer of the Meet.

She is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram female Swimmer of the Year.

In four of the eight individual events – the 100, 200 and 500 free and 200 individual medley – Tighe posted the state’s fastest time. She was fourth fastest in the 100 butterfly, fifth in the 50 free, seventh in the 100 breast and eighth in the 100 back.

Tighe started swimming at age 8 but never made it her sole focus. She played field hockey prior to high school, soccer and lacrosse as a freshman, and tennis as a sophomore. She joined band in fifth grade and continues to play bass clarinet. She was involved in every middle school play, and portrayed Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” in eighth grade. In high school, she set theater aside in favor of mock trial.

In the summer, she can be found surfing at Higgins Beach with good friend and teammate Madeleine McCormick or sailing a used 14-foot Phantom on Sebago Lake with her dad. “He relies on me if we get stuck out in the middle of nowhere,” Tighe said with a laugh.

College coaches have been texting and emailing since school began in the fall. An honors student, she has a wide range of college options and plans to compete at the Division I level.

“I want to make sure I find myself in a situation where, if swimming doesn’t work out or I just want to focus on studies, I’m somewhere that I’m still going to be happy,” Tighe said.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

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Twitter: GlennJordanPPH