Trojans revel in first boys’ swim title in nine years



BAR HARBOR — Nine years after rattling off six consecutive boys’ state championships, from 2004 to 2009, the Mount Desert Island High School swim team finally reached the mountaintop once again in 2018.

The team won its seventh state title at last month’s championships at Bowdoin College. Yet it was the way in which the Trojans battled their way to the top of Class B that made the team’s run to the title this year such a memorable one.

The team started the season with key swimmers missing as a result of sicknesses, vacations and other absences. MDI lost to rival Ellsworth in its second meet of the season and didn’t have a chance to redeem itself for more than two weeks as a result of weather postponements.

Tony DeMuro, though, knew his team would find a way to persevere. The Trojans’ head coach of many years has always stressed the season’s boys’ and girls’ state championship meets as the “singular goal” for his team, and although the Trojans might not have been in championship form in December, they had the wherewithal to be in contention in February.

As swimmers returned and got healthy in the new year, the team posted wins over Brewer, Orono, Washington Academy, George Stevens Academy, Bangor and John Bapst in the buildup to the postseason.

“You could see it because we were improving with every meet,” DeMuro said after the boys’ team’s state championship win on Feb. 20. “We set that Bangor meet as the point where we really want to be in gear and swimming closer to our best. That’s always a meet we have circled.”

On Feb. 9, the Trojans fought Ellsworth to the wire at the Penobscot Valley Conference championships. The Eagles claimed the win, but the Trojans finished just one point short of tying them for the win.

That result left DeMuro confident his team his team could come away with the biggest prize of all at Bowdoin. After coming as close as possible to victory — in a meet to which the Trojans didn’t even bring their fast suits no less — such confidence was warranted.

“We knew it was going to be close, but we obviously had a great shot,” DeMuro said. “It was going to be between us and them for first.”

Each team pushed the other throughout the meet, but in the end, it was the Trojans who came out on top. The near-decadelong wait for another boys’ championship was over.

“It didn’t feel like nine years because we won a bunch of girls’ titles in between,” DeMuro said. “Between the boys and girls, everybody left everything in the pool. It’s everything you could want at a state meet.”

 

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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