ORONO — Call it a corollary to that old bromide about not entering the water until at least half an hour after a meal. The advice from Kennebunk Coach Andrew Coulombe to the four swimmers before the concluding 400-yard freestyle relay late Monday afternoon was simple if not literal.

“Coach specifically told us to eat a sandwich on the blocks,” said senior Ella Yentsch, the Rams’ anchor, after emerging from a celebratory dip in Wallace Pool on the campus of the University of Maine, “which means basically to take your time.”

Kennebunk’s 400 relay team – Chloe Matthews, left, Ella Yentsch, Annalise Cowing and Grace Girard – clinched the state Class A championship by finishing second. Glenn Jordan photoNursing a lead of 1.5 points over a squad from Cony High in Augusta seeking a third title in four years, Kennebunk needed mostly to avoid disqualification but also to finish ahead of Cony.

Ever so cautiously, Yentsch followed freshmen Chloe Matthews and Annalise Cowing and fellow senior Grace Girard into the water and earned a second-place finish to a victorious South Portland quartet. It was enough to clinch the first Class A girls’ swimming & diving state championship for Kennebunk.

“It was extremely relieving,” Yentsch said. “On top of that, we broke a school record (3 minutes, 53.07 seconds in the 400 free relay), which added to the excitement.”

Kennebunk finished with 235.5 points. South Portland, with only four swimmers qualified in individual events, used its 400 free relay victory (3:50.45) to leapfrog Cony and defending champ Bangor and grab second at 218.

Scarborough junior Morgan Porter won two events, 100 back and 500 free. Glenn Jordan photo

 

Bangor was third at 213, a point ahead of Cony (which won both short relays but dropped to 11th in the 400 free relay) at 212. Gorham was fifth at 164 followed by Falmouth (163), Cheverus (153.5), Lewiston (137) and 15 other schools.

Cony senior Cecilia Guadalupi was named Performer of the Meet after winning her two individual events (100 breast in 1:04.53) and (200 individual medley in 2:05.45) as well as taking part in Cony’s victorious 200 medley relay (1:53.36) and 200 free relay (1:44.46).

Cony led through three events, then nearly overtook Kennebunk in the final individual event when Guadalupi and sophomore teammate Lunden Dinkel went 1-2 in the breaststroke and Kennebunk managed a single point from Maya Olin’s 16th.

Cony teammates Cecilia Guadalupi, left, and Lunden Dinkel of Cony went first and second in the 100 breaststroke. Portland Press Herald photo by Glenn Jordan

At the halfway point, it was Bangor in the lead. Kennebunk assumed control for good in the next race, the 100 freestyle, when sophomore Kaira Wirth won the fourth of six heats and zoomed from 18th seed to fifth. Coupled with a third from Matthews and a 14th from junior Nina Sharp, the southernmost Rams took a commanding lead.

“I have been recovering from mono recently,” Wirth said. “I know what I’m capable of and I wanted to put it all in the pool (Monday).”

Guadalupi wasn’t the only individual double winner. Scarborough junior Morgan Porter won the 100 backstroke (1:00.77) and the 500 free (5:20.05).

Other individual winners were Cony sophomore Emma Thomas in the 200 free (1:58.83), South Portland senior Margie Jones in the 100 butterfly (58.75), Biddeford sophomore Ella Leonard in the 100 free (55.89) and Falmouth seniors Mae Causey in the 50 free (24.87) and Lilly Smith in 1-meter diving (397.00 points).

It marked the second straight diving title for Smith, who plans to enroll in a college (Syracuse University) that doesn’t offer diving.

“I enjoy the sport but I feel like having a break would be nice,” Smith said. “It’s a big mental sport.”

Kennebunk sophomore Camilla Rawlings rose from seventh in preliminaries to fourth in the final diving standings. Yentsch was her school’s highest individual finisher, with second in both the 200 free (with Matthews fourth) and the 500 free.

Kennebunk celebrates its first Class A girls’ swimming championship. Glenn Jordan photo

Girard, who was seventh in the butterfly and eighth in the 200 individual medley, embraced Yentsch after the final results were announced, a triumphant moment for Kennebunk’s two seniors.

“Honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything more than to end my senior season this way,” Yentsch said. “I definitely couldn’t have predicted it at the beginning of the year.”

Back in the fall, searching for a slogan to the season, Coulombe stumbled across a Facebook meme showing a horizontal line separating WE (above) and ME (below). A junior high math teacher, Coulombe viewed it as an instructional fraction and slapped it on team T-shirts: We over Me.

On Monday, the sum of its parts amounted to the first state title in school history.

“This has been the hardest-working, most-dedicated group that I’ve had in six years,” Coulombe said. “I’m so proud of them. I’m having a hard time not getting emotional about this. They’re a special group.”

 

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