The 2020 Mount Desert Island YMCA Sharks swim team. NED JOHNSTON PHOTO

Sharks celebrate achievements with virtual awards banquet, Blaney joins Wall of Fame


BAR HARBOR — David Blaney was inducted into the Wall of Fame for the Mount Desert Island YMCA Sharks swim team last week at a team awards banquet held via video conference. 

The 2019-2020 season was Blaney’s first as head coach of the Mount Desert Island High School, and first time the Trojan boys and girls both brought home state championship trophies in the same year. 

Blaney had served as an assistant coach of the high school team since 2002. In that role, he made a huge impact on the program by working with the freshmen who were new to the sportSharks coach Jim Willis told the Islander. 

“It’s usually the YMCA swimming kids or the USA Swimming kids who dominate high school swimming,” Willis said. It’s rare that kids who come in as freshmen are able to contribute significantly to team scores. But “every year you can see one or two or three kids who came in as freshmen with Dave, they were scoring points” for the team. 

To have an assistant coach feeding the program from within,” he said, “makes the program even hugeer.” 

Blaney swam as a member of the Sharks from 1985 to 1997, when he graduated from Mount Desert Island High School. He attended Bates College and graduated in 2001. 

One of his Sharks team records still stands, in the 400-meter freestyle relay. “It was set his senior year at Bates,” Willis remembers. “He came back and swam with the team.” 

The Sharks Winter Championship Team were the winners of Willis’ Coach Award this year. The whole team participated in the YMCA state meet at the end of February, but the members of the championship team still had their big meet ahead of them when the pandemic cancellations began. It would have been March 19-22. 

On March 12, we were kinda told that was it,” Willis said. “The high school kids, they had already swam in their big meet. But for the younger kids, they were really shooting for this one meet and they hadn’t hit it yet.” 

The Sharks were able to participate in a virtual meet March 14 with a few other Maine YMCAs. It was just the Sharks and officials, but it “gave our kids a chance to get one last meet in.” 

In the weeks that the Y has been closed, Willis has been sharing selfie videos of hikes he goes on to maintain a connection to the team. There’s also a team challenge for members to keep track of how many miles they hike or bike or walk. 

The goal, Willis said, “is to keep everybody active over this time.” He said we’re lucky to be living here, where trails are everywhere. 


2020 MDI Y Sharks Award Winners 

Most Outstanding 

8 & under: Parker RichardsSam Neel 

9-10: Kemy CistoneWyatt Braun 

11-12: Peighton SkeateJJ Cistone 

13-14: Lily JamesCecilia SatlysiakBrendan Graves 

Senior: Ruby BrownAmos Price 

Most Improved 

8 & under: Antonia BurnsRankin Moore 

9-10: Kitty SaltysiakJack Mourino 

11-12: Angela ZhangHenry Sprague 

13-14: Denali WagstaffElle YarboroughMcCadden Morris 

Senior: Olivia Underwood, Cody Parker 

Team Record Breakers 

Peighton Skeate   11-12.  100 Back  1:06.49 

Finley Smith       13-14  50 Breast  32.42 

Pool Record Breakers 

Lily James   200 Breast  2:31.72 

TJ Willis   200 Fly   2:02.00 

Aquathon: Most money raised 

Charlotte Stanley 

Eliza Sprague 

Riley Donahue 

Aquathon: Most pledges 

Claire Dow 

Rankin Moore 

Riley Donahue 

Jayden Samson 

Aquathon: Team winners 

Green TeamEliza Sprague 

Gold TeamCharlotte Stanley 

Senior TeamSam Schlief 


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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