CAPE ELIZABETH — The stuff after the ampersand matters.

The annual North Southwesterns Swimming & Diving Championships kicked off a day early Wednesday night with the boys’ meet, moved up to avoid Thursday’s sloppy forecast, and included the usual assortment of bad haircuts, inspiring outfits and tightly-contested races.

In the end, it was host Cape Elizabeth clutching the big trophy and giving it sloppy kisses amid triumphant cheers. The Capers ended a two-year reign for Cheverus, thanks in large part to three novice divers who made up half the field in that event and scored 30 points in a meet in which the top four teams finished inside that margin.

Sophomore Ethan Smith broke a meet record with his 100-yard butterfly time of 52.02 seconds. He was one of two first-place finishers for Cape Elizabeth, along with classmate Keegan McKenney in the 500 freestyle (4:42.76).

Although the Capers didn’t win any of the three relays, they were fastest among all “B” relays in the 200 medley and 200 freestyle, and that depth contributed another 32 points to the team total, more than any other school.

“Diving was a big help, but overall the kids swam well,” said Cape Coach Ben Raymond. “This is such a great meet because everybody counts. Those “B” relays end up being huge. It’s just more of a team meet than your state meet.”

Cape Elizabeth finished with 258.5 points, to 242 for runner-up Cheverus. Scarborough was third at 233.5, followed by Greely (229), Falmouth (194), South Portland (135), Westbrook (61) and Deering (14).

Cheverus senior Quinton Hastings won the 50 and 100 freestyle and helped the Stags to victory in the 200 free relay. He was named Performer of the Meet and also took home the coveted Randy Comeau Memorial Scholarship Award.

“Obviously, we wanted to win Southwesterns, but congratulations to Cape,” he said while clutching the individual trophy. “This is an added bonus.”

Among other individual winners, Scarborough freshman Ethan Schulz came from third place early in the 200 free to edge McKenney and Cheverus junior Brim Peabody, who won the 2018 and 2019 Performer of the Meet awards, in a school-record time of 1:44.86.

Schultz, who was runner-up to Hastings in the 100 free (48.12 to 48.25), said he didn’t realize he had won the 200 until looking up at the scoreboard.

“I was honestly kind of shocked,” he said. “Keegan is a great finisher. At the halfway mark, I just put my head down and hoped I could do it.”

Another Southwesterns newcomer, Greely junior Brady Fluet, won the 200 individual medley and was runner-up to Peabody in the 100 breast stroke.

“It was really loud,” he said of the atmosphere at Donald Richards Pool. “I was really hyped up, and it led to a pretty good race.”

The other individual swimming winner was Falmouth freshman Will Porter in the 100 backstroke, with a time of 56.44. Teammate Milo Smith, a sophomore, ran away with the diving title by accumulating an 11-dive total of 350.50 points.

Nobody else among the six divers broke 270. However, Cape Elizabeth junior Gus Huffard and senior teammates Hajan Carr and Ryan McKean all managed enough legal dives to finish 4-5-6 and provide the winning margin of victory.

All three began diving this winter.

“We were playing water polo, and during a break I did a backflip off the board,” said Huffard, who was immediately dispatched to diving practice by Raymond. “It’s pretty fun. It works well with how my brain works. I make good mental models of things.”

Carr and McKean attended the season’s first meet and figured they could learn to dive, Raymond said. “They’re good athletes, good kids, and they listen to Mike (Bartley, who coaches divers).”

As the meet’s fifth event, diving sent Cape Elizabeth into a commanding lead that dwindled to a single point after the 100 free, but McKenney led a 1-8-9 finish in the 500 free, and the Capers maintained their cushion the rest of the way.

Falmouth won the 200 medley relay and Greely took the 400 free relay. The South Southwesterns and girls’ North Southwesterns are scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Cape Elizabeth.

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