MDI’s Chelsea Schroeder competes during a 2016 meet against Brewer. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Trojan divers thriving as 2019-20 season takes shape

BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School always puts forth a dominant swim team in the pool. This year, the Trojans have another weapon at their disposal: a solid group of divers.

MDI has a multitude of divers on this year’s team with nine competing as Trojans and two representing Ellsworth but competing and practicing with MDI head dive coach Chris Schleif. The MDI divers are Oakley Bench, Gaia Daul, Susanna Davis, Zoe Horton, Lily James, Sam Mitchell, Claire Moore, Nina Rozeff and Sam Schleif. The two divers from Ellsworth High School are Elena Springer and Eliyah Washburn.

That group has been a big boost in the pool for the Trojans, who have established a new culture within an already successful program.

“We’ve had divers in the past, but we have more this year than I can remember,” MDI head swim coach David Blaney said. “We’ve had divers off and on, but this year, we have a nice group.”

The MDI girls’ divers showcased that with an excellent meet Dec 12 against Belfast with Lily James posting an impressive score of 136.15. Fellow Trojan Zoe Horton wasn’t far behind with a final score 107.00.

In that same meet, MDI’s Sam Mitchell finished second to Belfast’s Gary Moline by a mere 0.05 points. In a meet that pitted swimmers from both schools against one another in a tight head-to-head matchup, every position and point made all the difference in an MDI win.

Ellsworth’s Springer, who scored a 176 in MDI’s meet against Belfast, has qualified for the state championships. James and Mitchell (144.55 against Belfast) have also surpassed the 135-point threshold required for states.

“Our divers have been diving at MDI swim meets since we do not have a board,” Ellsworth head coach Jim Goodman said. “They practice at MDI three times a week, which shows the dedication and desire to excel in the sport to travel to MDI for practice.”

MDI does have a successful history in diving with Will Greene, a state champion diver who graduated in 2015. Greene won the 2015 state title with a school-record score of 448.7 points.

“Will owns most of our program records,” said Blaney, who was MDI’s assistant coach behind Tony DeMuro during Greene’s time as a Trojan. “He was competing [at the state championships] almost every year.”

The state championship meet for the girls will be held at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 17 at Bowdoin College. The boys’ meet will be held at that same time and location the following day.

The next diving meet will be held at Old Town High School at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3.

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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