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Loaded Ellsworth swim team making waves in Class B

first_img Mike MandellMike 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] Bio ELLSWORTH — Jim Goodman stands at the edge of a packed pool deck at the Down East Family YMCA. Surrounded by swimmers, he stands perfectly still with a whistle in his mouth.As Goodman blows his whistle, members of the Ellsworth swim team jump into the pool in groups of four. When each group nears the other side of the ball, he blows the whistle again and shouts, “Go!” so loud it can be heard echoing throughout the entire building.In the past, Goodman wouldn’t have had to blow his whistle nearly this much. Yet with 44 swimmers on the team this season, Ellsworth’s coach of 15 seasons requires a bit longer.“I’ve never had this many before,” Goodman said. “There’s usually around 30 kids, but with more bodies this year, we have what it takes to win a lot of races.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textEllsworth certainly has won its fair share of races so far during the 2017-18 season, which has a chance to be the team’s best to date. Through five meets, the Eagles have emerged among the top teams in both the boys’ and girls’ fields.The school’s boys’ team, which followed up a state title in 2016 with a second-place finish last year, is in good shape to add another banner to the Katsiaficas Gymnasium walls. The Eagles have won each of their four dual meets this season and finished fourth among a Class A-laden field at the Dec. 26 Morse Invitational despite missing key competitors.Between Camden Holmes, Sam Pelletier, Austin Baron, Richie Matthews and more, the Ellsworth boys have a blend of experience, speed and endurance opponents find hard to replicate. Having done so in the past, the team’s leaders know what it takes to compete — and win — at the highest level.“We have numbers and a lot of fast swimmers, and that’s what you need,” Holmes said. “Not only that, but we also have some kids like me still here from team two years ago when we won [the state championship meet]. We’ve been there before, and we have that drive to get back.”(From left) Ellsworth swimmers Caitlin MacPherson, Abby Mazgaj, Miriam Nelson and Ellie Clarke pose for a photo after breaking the school record in the girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay against Foxcroft on Jan. 12 in Ellsworth. The group finished the relay in 1 minute, 48.96 seconds. KAREN BARON PHOTOOn the girls’ side, the Eagles seem to be making history on a weekly basis. In their first meet of the season, the Ellsworth girls defeated rival Mount Desert Island for the first time ever with an 88-80 win. Against Foxcroft on Friday, Caitlin MacPherson, Abby Mazgaj, Miriam Nelson and Ellie Clarke combined to break a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1 minute, 48.96 seconds.The Ellsworth girls are positioned to be a force in Class B for the nest few years with a young core of swimmers. MacPherson, Mazgaj, Nelson and Clarke will all return to the Eagles next year, and fellow underclassmen Lillian Frank, Lilja Hanson, Katie Hammer and Kristen Moseley will be among those joining them.Ellsworth only dual loss on the girls’ side came Jan. 9 against Class A and Penobscot Valley Conference powerhouse Bangor. The Eagles and Rams were neck and neck throughout the meet before the latter pulled out a 90-78 victory.“We swam really well and came so close,” Clarke said. “We’re hoping to get another chance at them when [the PVC championships] get here.”Coaches at other schools have taken notice of the Eagles as well. MDI head coach Tony DeMuro was in awe of both Ellsworth sides when the two teams met last month, after which he said the boys’ team was the strongest in either class.Ellsworth’s Austin Baron swims the 100-yard breaststroke during a high school swim meet against Bangor on Jan. 9 in Ellsworth. KAREN BARON PHOTO“They have one of the best feeder programs around,” DeMuro said. “When you have a group like the one they have come together with the speed and team size they have, you’re going to have a remarkable season.”As is the case with most teams statewide, the Eagles are still looking to get as many swimmers as possible qualified for February’s state championships. When that time comes, title contenders such as Old Town, MDI, Cape Elizabeth and Morse will be there to test them.Ellsworth will get its shot at Old Town, which beat the Eagles for the boys’ championship last season, when it hosts the Coyotes at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 19. After that, the Eagles will host Carlisle and GSA in a doubleheader dual meet before heading on the road against Hampden Academy and ending the year at home against Washington Academy.“They’re motivated and have been in this spot before,” Goodman said. “This team has been as fun to coach as any I’ve ever had, and they can do anything because they love what they do.” Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Postscenter_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020last_img read more