ELLSWORTH — The 2018-19 high school swim season was an outstanding one locally, and it was Hancock County’s standout athletes who made it happen.
Between championship wins and other remarkable performances, the area’s two biggest schools boasted some of the top individual and team efforts from the first meet to the last. The Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island swimmers who delivered many of those performances were honored with numerous awards Sunday at the Maine Interscholastic Swim League banquet at the Augusta Civic Center.
Ellsworth senior Ellie Clarke took home one of the event’s biggest awards when she was named Penobscot Valley Conference Girls’ Swimmer of the Year. Clarke was PVC runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle, PVC and state runner-up in the 100-yard backstroke and PVC champion and state runner-up as part of the Eagles’ school record-setting 200-yard freestyle relay unit.
“It was kind of a shock to me [to win it], but it feels good to have your achievements recognized,” Clarke said. “I knew I could have a really good year this year, and I think that happened both personally and for us as a team.”
Kristy Barry, Caitlin MacPherson and Miriam Nelson joined Clarke as PVC All Stars on the 200 freestyle and medley relay teams. Clarke (50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke), Barry (200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly) and MacPherson (100-yard breaststroke) also earned individual honors for the Eagles, who placed a program-best fifth at last month’s Class B championships.
“I knew we would do well this year, but I didn’t know how well,” said Clarke, who added that the team surprised even itself with its strong performances throughout the season. “We added a few swimmers and brought a lot of people back from last year. We had a lot of confidence.”
For the MDI girls, Adria Horton was an individual PVC All-Star selection in the 500-yard freestyle, and the team of Horton, Maria Saltysiak, Addy Smith and Ruby Brown was chosen in the 400 freestyle relay. The Trojans placed third as a team in both the PVC and state championships.
On the boys’ side, Ellsworth senior Camden Holmes (50- and 100-yard freestyles and 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays) and sophomore Sean Hill (200 and 400 freestyle relays) were named to the All-State team. Liam Sullivan (100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and 200 and 400 freestyle relays) and Tyler Woodworth (200 and 400 freestyle relays) were All-State picks for MDI.
On the PVC All-Star team, the Ellsworth and MDI boys combined for 12 individual and relay selections. Those honors followed a season in which Ellsworth won the PVC crown before MDI won its second consecutive state championship in Class B.
“Just overall with Ellsworth and MDI, you have two great feeder programs with and two great swim cultures,” MDI head coach Tony DeMuro said following the state championship meets last month. “With both groups, you have kids who are motivated and expect to do well and succeed.”
With the season now over, Clarke and many of the other top Hancock County seniors have swam their final races for their schools. Clarke has turned her focus to the Maine Winter Junior Olympics, which will be held next weekend at the University of Maine, as well as a possible place at the YMCA national championships April 1-5 in Greensboro, N.C.
As for the future of Ellsworth swimming, Clarke knows it’s in good hands.
“The group we have coming in as freshmen next year is insanely ready,” Clarke said. “I’m going to warn other teams because those kids are going to be fast.”