MDI sweeps Ellsworth in regular season finale

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island swim team closed out the 2021 regular season last week with a dual meet sweep of Ellsworth.

Competing in its tightest meet of the year, the MDI girls’ team claimed a 95-91 win over the Eagles. The MDI boys’ team racked up 125 points to Ellsworth’s 42 to finish a perfect regular season.

Cecilia Saltysiak (200 freestyle, 2:10.65), Maria Saltysiak (200 IM, 2:26.34) and Elle Yarborough (100 freestyle, 1:01.04) claimed individual wins for the MDI girls. Cecilia Saltysiak, Gaia Daul, Sadie Sullivan and Callan Eason won the 400-yard freestyle relay in 4:13.86 for the Trojans, who rode team depth to their fourth win of the season.

On the boys’ side, MDI got wins from Jesse Lower (200 freestyle, 1:59.40; 100 freestyle, 53.34), Ponce Saltysiak (50 freestyle, 24.93 seconds), Sam Mitchell (1-meter dive, 131.45), Brendan Graves (500 freestyle, 6:08.40) and Cody Parker (100 backstroke, 1:03.27). The Trojans also won the 200 medley relay (Parker, Lower, Saltysiak, Riley Donahue; 1:54.30) and 200 freestyle relay (Donahue, Mitchell, Lower, Walls; 1:44.01).

Lower, a junior, is new to the MDI team after transferring from Clayton High School in North Carolina. Yet even though the newcomer lived nearly 1,000 miles away at this time last year, he has already established himself as a leader for David Blaney’s squad.

“It’s like he was on the team all along,” Blaney said. “You have a kid here who’s new to the team and new to the community, and he’s just fit right in and is always encouraging his teammates and pushing them to be better. He’s been a great asset for us.”

Lower’s wins came in extremely close finishes as the junior beat out teammates Brendan Graves by 0.16 seconds in the 200 freestyle and T.J. Willis by 0.03 seconds in the 100 freestyle. The MDI boys also had a photo finish in the 50 freestyle as Saltysiak edged Graves by 0.12 seconds for first place.

On the girls’ side, Yarborough’s 100 freestyle win came as the freshman beat out Ellsworth’s Kiera Springer by 0.16 seconds. In the 100 backstroke, Eason finished a mere 0.15 seconds behind the Eagles’ Caroline Mazgaj.

“If it would have been us and Ellsworth in the same pool like in past years, those girls’ races would have been some fun ones,” Blaney said. “That’s the tough part about this year because you don’t know that those races are so close until you compare the results.”

The next meet for MDI is the Penobscot Valley Conference championships. The Trojans will conduct their PVC championship swim at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, though results will not be available until at least the following weekends as other teams hold their events.

With teams across the state at different stages in their respective seasons as a result of delays and issues regarding pool availability, a state championship meet in the weeks to follow might not materialize. With that in mind, the Trojans are preparing as if the PVC meet will be their last.

“With everybody in different places, you’re just not sure if the [state meet] is going to happen right now,” Blaney said. “We do know we have PVCs ahead of us because that’s been a plan for a long time, so we’re going to keep our focus on that and finish the year strong.”

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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