Gardiner’s Jessie Willey heads down the pool during the 100-yard backstroke during Friday’s KVAC Championships at the Bath YMCA. Eric Maxim/Times Record

BATH – It’s a new year, but it’s the same tight win for the Morse boys swim team.

Tied 300-300 with Belfast entering the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Shipbuilders (3:58.29) cruised to victory in the event over the Lions (4:12.74) to repeat as Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B champions on Friday night at the Bath YMCA.

Morse finished with 332 points, while Belfast had 326. Waterville/Winslow finished third with 181 points.

“We got a great group of sophomores, and we’re going to win all four years, so this is going to be great for the next couple years,” said Morse sophomore Gaffney McDonough, who anchored the 400 relay team. “It’s awesome.”

“It was great (to win), we had our best times across the board,” Morse head coach Todd Marco said.

As it was a near-sequel to last year’s events, McDonough said there was a pressure for the team to perform.


“It came down to the same (event), same team, just like last year,” McDonough said. “Last relay, both times. This year, we were a little more separated. But it’s been awesome racing Belfast, it’s awesome competition. They all push us to our best times.”

It was reverse fortune in KVAC B girls, as the Lions (316) – in spite of scratching two swimmers due to illness – edged Morse (310) for the conference title. Gardiner/Hall-Dale was third with 192 points.

“It’s unbelievable,” Belfast girls head coach Betsy Bradley said. “We had to scratch two girls today, one was seeded second in her events. Two top kids scratched because they were sick. For us to pull off this win over Morse, they’re just so tough.”

Swimming in its home pool, the Shipbuilders won nearly every event, including the relays. Morse had seven different winners combined from both the boys and girls teams. Eliza Marco (200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke) and Elena Trundy (200 free, 100 butterfly) were standout winners for Morse. Eliza Marco was named the girls Swimmer of the Meet.

Todd Marco said he was proud of how his team performed.

“Everyone on the team had best times by multiple seconds,” Marco said. “We couldn’t have swam any faster.”


Despite the dominance by Morse, the Lions managed to rely on depth for team points.

“When I had to scratch kids, I had alternates,” Bradley said. “We have 23 (swimmers), 21 tonight, and without any one of them, we wouldn’t have won this.”

Likewise, Morse had multiple standouts on the boys side, with wins from Sawyer Wright (200 free, 500 free) and Brady Chubbuck (200 IM, 100 breaststroke).

Chubbuck was involved in the closest race of the night, going stroke for stroke with Waterville/Winslow’s Andrew Turlo. Chubbock got the edge, with a time of 1:04.17. Turlo finished at 1:04.20.

“It was such a neck-and-neck race, it was amazing to be able to race him,” Turlo said. “He’s a freshman this year. He’s a really good swimmer. That’s honestly the best thing I could ask for a senior year KVACs is just to have a really good race to end the night.”

Turlo, who also finished second in the 50 free (23.20), qualified for the Class B championships in both events.


“I was excited, they were good bases for sure,” Turlo said. “My 50 free was a (personal record) for an off-the-block 50 free, I was excited about that. My 100 breast was also a PR, but I’m just a little ticked off about that one because my goggles broke right before I got in the water, the heat before. I had to get a spare from one of my teammates.”

Gardiner/Hall-Dale had an impressive performance on the girls side. Addison Pollis won the 100 free (56.82). Amelia Knapik (6:00.26) edged Colleen Cashman of Morse (6:01.30) for the 500 free title.

“I thought we did really good,” Pollis said. “We had a lot of (top) times. It was overall fun, a good atmosphere.”

“I’m so excited about (winning the 500 free), I didn’t expect that,” Knapik said. “I had a good race though. (Cashman) pushed me to swim faster, and I’m thankful for that. I think our team did well on this night. Everyone did so well.”

Though Gardiner/Hall-Dale finished second to Morse (1:50.31) in the 200 free relay, the team of Pollis, Knapik, Livi Pekins and Jessie Willey finished at 1:52.17, which broke the program record of 1:53.03.

“That was really exciting,” Pekins said. “I thought we didn’t (break the record) at first. It was exciting to hear we broke that.”

Morse’s Andrew Leighton and Belfast’s Brigham Graf were named Co-Swimmers of the Meet for boys.

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