The Mt. Ararat swim team competes in its portion of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet on Feb. 27 at the Wiscasset Community Center. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

In a season unlike any other, high school swimmers had to adjust to a bevy of modifications this winter.

Although swimming and diving teams could compete in meets, they were all done virtually because of coronavirus safety measures.

Swim meets this season featured almost empty pools because no spectators permitted and a limited amount of judges present.

The virtual competitions had the biggest impact on the swimmers.

“While it was a little bit of a struggle in the beginning, our swimmers totally adapted as the season rolled along,” said Mt. Ararat head coach Steve Butts, whose boys team won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title. “Given the circumstances, I truly don’t think we could’ve asked for a better season; we had a blast.”

For the virtual meets, teams would schedule a time frame in which they could complete their portion of the meet. Results would be tallied after all the teams submitted their times.

Butts acknowledged he wasn’t sure what to expect going in.

“I really didn’t know how the season would go or how the swimmers would react to this new type of competition,” he said. “They certainly exceeded my expectations.”

The Eagles saved their best meet of the season for last, with the boys edging out second place Edward Little by just four points (171-167) for the KVAC crown.

The Eagles won the title with just four swimmers — Keegan Rowe, Aidan Saunders, Caleb Williams and Sam Wright. The four won the 200 medley relay (1:50.41) and the 200 free relay (1:36.95).

The boys also received first-place finishes from Rowe in the 200 individual medley (2:07.93) and Williams in the 50 freestyle (23.37).

On the girls side, Mt. Ararat standout Cora Spelke also saved her best for last.

Mt. Ararat swimmer Cora Spelke swims during a virtual race earlier this season at the Wiscasset Community Center in Wiscasset. Photo provided by Candice Wright

Spelke, who will swim at Amherst College in Massachusetts next year, took home first place in the 200 freestyle (1:57.71) and the 100 backstroke (57.33) at the KVAC meet.

“We walked out of the pool that day knowing that we had swam the best we possibly could,” Butts said. “To see the results come in a few weeks later was just some icing on top of the cake for us.”

Spelke owns school records in the 200 free, 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, the 500 free and 100 backstroke.

Just like the Eagles, Brunswick competed at the Wiscasset Community Center.

“Our numbers were down, and we were unsure of where we would be swimming,” said Brunswick head coach Amie Howard. “With that being said this team really remained upbeat and pivoted with all the changes this season brought. I couldn’t be prouder of how well they did.”

The Dragons placed second in the KVAC meet on the girls side, with a second-place finish from Sarah Palmer in the 100 backstroke (1:09.50). Palmer also placed third in the 200 individual medley (2:26.52). The relay team comprised of Margaret Chingos, Ella Gustafson, Gwen Thom and Palmer also took home a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay (2:14.04), and a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle (2:00.36).

On the boys side, the Dragons finished fourth in the KVAC meet. The relay team of Kip Butts, Nathan Levy, Bradley Vuong and Leo Venegas finished fourth in the 200 medley relay at 2:06.39. Levy also placed fourth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:57.99.

“The swimmers were just so thankful to have some sort of postseason,” added Howard. “We’re already counting the days until next season.”

The Morse girls, meanwhile, won a KVAC title while the boys place second.

“We had the luxury of staying at our home pool this season,” said head coach Todd Marco. “I would say that gave us an advantage along the way, just one less thing that we didn’t have to adapt to.”

The Shipbuilders left no doubt on the girls side, as they outscored runnerup Belfast by 23 points (304-281).

The girls were led by their relay team of Colleen Cashman, Olivia Cunningham, Grace Tetreault, and Lillian Wright. The group won both the 200 freestyle (1:49.74) and the 400 freestyle (3:59.55). They also placed second in the 200 medley relay (2:08.64).

Evan Willertz paced the boys, with victories in the 100 backstroke (53:30) and 200 freestyle (1:47.76).

“The feeling of success never gets old,” Marco said. “This one feels a little extra special given the circumstances.”

 

 

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