BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island swim team’s final meet of 2021 left it with a different feeling.
MDI’s Dec. 29 road meet against Greely resulted in rare defeats for both the boys’ and girls’ teams. It marked the first defeats for both squads in more than a calendar after the Trojans swept every meet of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
“That was something that they noticed, and I asked them, ‘What does that feel like?” MDI head coach David Blaney said. “They answered, ‘Not very good,’ so I said, ‘Well, let’s run on that.’”
Blaney’s Trojans did so last week in their first meet of the new year. Looking to rinse the taste of defeat from their mouths, both MDI squads got back on track to ring in 2022.
MDI got back in the win column last Thursday with a pair of victories over John Bapst at the MDI YMCA. The Trojans defeated the Crusaders 124-55 on the girls’ side and posted a 120-43 win in the boys’ competition.
MDI’s girls’ team claimed sweeps of John Bapst in all three relay competitions. The Trojans won the 200-yard medley relay in 2:05.42 (Maria Saltysiak, Denali Wagstaff, Callan Eason, Susanna Davis), the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:54.63 (Wagstaff, Lily James, Addy Smith, Elle Yarborough) and the 400-yard freestyle relay in 4:08.67 (Yarborough, Saltysiak, Eason, Addy Smith).
Individually, MDI won three freestyle races with Wagstaff winning the 100 (1:02.46), Saltysiak winning the 200 (2:19.34) and Lillian Beckwith winning the 500 (6:28.62). The Trojans also got wins from James (200-yard individual medley, 2:27.88), Eason (100-yard backstroke, 1:08.57) and Yarborough (100-yard breaststroke, 1:16.83).
Blaney also praised the efforts of Judith Baasch, who was faced with the difficult task of swimming the 100 freestyle in her own lane. Yet the exchange student from Germany wasn’t fazed by the challenge and ultimately finished in 1:39.14, a time that impressed her coach.
“It was the first time she swam it in a race, and she went to the feet, as we say in swimming, with almost her best time,” Blaney said. “I told her, ‘Look, you can not swim this if you don’t want to; I understand if you don’t want to be up there by yourself,’ but she said, ‘No, I want to do it.’”
The MDI boys’ team also posted a sweep of all three relay competitions. Liam McKernan, Brendan Graves, Julian Walls and Ryan Davis won the 200 medley relay in 1:52.53, Walls, Sam Schleif, Riley Donahue and Sam York won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:43.83, and McKernan, Davis, York and Tucker James won the 400 freestyle relay in 4:00.37.
Walls (200 freestyle, 1:57.37; 100-yard butterfly, 1:00.80), Graves (200 IM, 2:21.21; 100 backstroke, 1:08.35) and Jesse Lower (50-yard freestyle, 23.07; 500 freestyle, 5:24.14) won two individual events each for the Trojans. The MDI boys also got wins from McKernan (100 freestyle, 55.75) and Oakley Bench (1-meter dive, 121.60).
The meet was the third home meet of the season for MDI, which is welcoming visiting teams again after all competitions were held virtually a year ago. That’s added some extra spirit to pool decks, both at the MDI Y and others around the state.
“It’s been great to have in-person meets again,” Blaney said. “Even though we lost that meet against Greely, it was great to be able to get on a bus together as a team and go down there and swim. Those are great bonding experiences, and you obviously have both teams in the pool area together, which makes the atmosphere better.”
MDI’s next meet will be against Brewer at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14. That meet will be held at the Bangor Region YMCA, and spectators, which have not been allowed to attend meets at the MDI Y, will be allowed to attend.
“They have a big space there, so it’ll be great for people to be able to watch with all the protocols,” Blaney said. “We’re looking forward to some good races up there.”