Cheverus gets ´pumped up,´ wins first title since 1979
BRUNSWICK — It wasn´t as if Trebor Lawton needed more motivation.
After all, the Cheverus senior was about to climb onto the starting blocks for the Class A 100-yard butterfly one lane over from David Smallwood, the top seed and fastest swimmer for six-time defending champion Bangor.
Then came the announcement of the team scores through five events of the Class A swimming and diving state championship meet, and Bangor´s four divers had pulled the Rams from behind into a 36-point lead over Cheverus.
"When I found out they were ahead," Lawton said, "that just pumped me up a little bit more."
Lawton raced to victory by more than half a second, cutting two seconds off his morning qualifying time, and returned momentum to the Stags. They regained the lead for good with four finalists in the following event -- the 100 freestyle -- and cruised to the Class A title, 372-298 over Bangor at Bowdoin´s Gleason Pool on Monday night.
Deering was third at 198 followed by Cape Elizabeth (182), Scarborough (171), Brunswick (169), Windham (1401/2), Massabesic (114) and 15 other schools.
The title is the first for Cheverus, whose only other swim crown came in 1979, in Class B.
Said Cheverus Coach Kevin Haley: "It´s nice to look at all the kids and see them smiling, and having a good time. We´ve always been bridesmaids to Bangor, so this is a very good feeling. (Bangor) certainly didn´t make it easy."
The Stags, who also won the meet´s sportsmanship award, set the stage with a dominant morning of trials, including jumps from seeds of 27th (freshman Thomas Nappo in backstroke) and 26th (senior Connor Pothier in 100 free) into the final field of 16.
Lawton said, "We tried to go all out in every single event so we could get the best seeds that we could."
Outstanding performer of the meet went to Jerry Gravel of Scarborough, who returned to high school competition after two years of club swimming and shattered state records in the 200 individual medley (1:53.07) and 100 breast stroke (57.83).
The breast stroke record had stood since 1991, the individual medley only three years, but it belonged to his older brother, Robby.
"He wanted me to smash it if I was going to get it," Jerry Gravel said. "So I knew I had to go fast for him. I started off sprinting the (first 50-yard leg of) butterfly."
If he could hold that pace, the record would be his.
"But usually if I try that," he said, "I die."
After completing his backstroke and breast stroke legs, Gravel discovered he still had some energy left for freestyle. He churned into the wall and saw his time -- two full seconds faster than Robby´s mark of 1:55.08 record.
Meet records in the 50 and 100 freestyle also fell. Cape Elizabeth senior Evan Long beat both of them, but wound up with only the 50 mark of 21.41, which surpassed the 21.65 time set by Sean McLellan of Hebron Academy in 1983.
Long also beat Ian Crocker´s 1997 record in the 100 free with a clocking of 47.11, but Windham senior Nick Sundquist beat Long to the wall, in 47 flat.
Sundquist also captured the 200 free (1:41.37) to join Gravel and Lawton (100 backstroke) as double winners.
Cape Elizabeth´s quartet of Long, Ian Riddell, Jordan Peterson and Griffin Thoreck won the 200 free relay. Messalonskee senior Arthur Conover won the 500 free, with Cheverus freshman Michael O´Donovan second in a time (4:49.40) that broke a Crocker school record.
Other championship finalists for Cheverus were seniors Reed Fernandez and Michael Gordon (third in diving to break up Bangor´s fab four), junior John Devine, sophomores Tony Penk and Spencer Lindsley, and freshmen Kevin Kane and Jacob Griffin.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: