CAPE ELIZABETH — Two swimmers won two individual events Friday night at the North Southwestern championship meet, and each was proudest of a relay that came up just short.

Cheverus won for the second straight year. The promise of a three-way battle between the Stags, Cape Elizabeth and South Portland evaporated Thursday when the MPA swim committee suspended two competitors each from Cape and South Portland for prioritizing club teams over high school teams.

“There was a lot of turmoil before the meet,” said Cheverus sophomore Brim Peabody, named Performer of the Meet after winning the 200- and 500-yard freestyle. “We just chose to swim like we always would as a team, to stay humble and keep it classy.”

Owen McLaughlin of Deering launches off the starting blocks while competing in the 100-yard freestyle.

Cheverus won five individual events and two of the three relays, but got nipped in a raucous finale when Gavin McLeod of Scarborough made up a body-length deficit in the last leg of the 400 free relay after Peabody staked the Stags to a substantial early lead.

Cheverus finished with 294 points to 186 for runner-up Greely. South Portland was third at 175, followed by Scarborough (172), Cape Elizabeth (167), Westbrook (124), Falmouth (115) and Deering (110).

“The last relay was really fun, a really close one,” said Peabody, who saw the Stags nipped by .32 to the Scarborough quartet of Sam Curtis, Andrew Pillsbury, Finn Davis and McLeod, who finished in 3 minutes, 30.14 seconds. “It doesn’t always matter if you win or lose. It’s the process.”

“That was crazy,” McLeod said. “Even when I touched the wall, I couldn’t tell.”

Owen McLaughlin of Deering competes in the 200-yard individual medley.

Owen McLaughlin of Deering, who won the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle, opened an early lead in the 200 free relay, only to see Cheverus come back and win by a little more than a second in 1:33.33.

“Nothing made me more happy than that relay,” McLaughlin said. “The (other three) swimmers we had in there, they were having trouble getting under 30 (seconds in the 50 free) at the beginning of the season. (Cheverus is) the defending state champ and that’s a stacked relay, and we came up (close) to them.”

Cheverus also won the opening 200 medley relay, and got individual wins from Quinton Hastings in the 50 free, Jack Martin in the 100 backstroke and John Hight in the 100 breast.

Cape Elizabeth freshman Ethan Smith takes charge Friday night in the 100-yard butterfly at the North Southwesterns, winning in 52.80 seconds.

The other two individual winners were Jakob Lynham of Westbrook in diving (366.85 points) and Ethan Smith of Cape Elizabeth in the 100 butterfly (52.80 seconds).

As for the suspensions, Cape Elizabeth senior Rohan Freedman and freshman Keegan McKenney and South Portland seniors Momchil Dagorov and Mitchell Amadei did not compete, although the three seniors were recognized before the meet, and Freedman was awarded the Randy Comeau Scholarship by the Southwestern Maine Swim Officials Association.

Greely Coach Rob Hale, who had figured his team would be competing for fourth, instead walked away with runner-up hardware, thanks to a late surge past South Portland.

“We took advantage of a situation,” he said. “My (11) seniors are ecstatic. They haven’t seen any kind of team swag or trophy in their four years. They started as pretty poor swimmers and finished up as pretty good swimmers. It’s a good reward for some great leadership.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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