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 sport, Sharks 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 huge–er.”
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
8 & under: Parker Richards, Sam Neel
9-10: Kemy Cistone, Wyatt Braun
11-12: Peighton Skeate, JJ Cistone
13-14: Lily James, Cecilia Satlysiak, Brendan Graves
Senior: Ruby Brown, Amos Price
8 & under: Antonia Burns, Rankin Moore
9-10: Kitty Saltysiak, Jack Mourino
11-12: Angela Zhang, Henry Sprague
13-14: Denali Wagstaff, Elle Yarborough, McCadden 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
Aquathon: Most pledges
Aquathon: Team winners
Green Team: Eliza Sprague
Gold Team: Charlotte Stanley
Senior Team: Sam Schlief