BANGOR – It hasn’t taken long for Tara Nitardy to make an impression in her first season on the John Bapst swimming and diving team.
It didn’t take her long Friday evening to continue that strong season. The sophomore set a school record in the 200-yard individual medley, breaking her own record set just last week, to help lead the Crusaders to a sweep of Presque Isle at the Bangor Y’s Aloupis Pool.
Nitardy also won the 100 butterfly and swam on two winning relays as the Bapst girls scored 144 points to Presque Isle’s 12.
The Crusaders beat the Wildcats 95-17 in the boys meet.
Even though the team numbers were unbalanced – Bapst’s girls team alone has around 60 members while Presque Isle had only four girls and three boys because of illness and family vacations – both squads liked their results.
“We wanted to go for our personal bests,” said Jeanne Yestramski, a Bapst senior captain. “You’re racing the girls on that team, but you’re also racing yourself, trying to improve.”
In the girls meet, Nitardy scalded the field with a time of 27.80 seconds for her butterfly split in the 200 medley relay. Two events later she posted an IM time of 2:17.18.
She also won the 100 fly, in which she set another school record last week, and anchored the winning 400 free relay.
“They’re pretty good times,” Nitardy said of the IM and fly. “I’m about two seconds off my best times in those events, so I’m pretty happy with it because it’s so early in the season.”
Both of Nitardy’s records were most recently held by Jessica Schwartz, who had set the IM mark (2:23.61) in 1998 and the fly mark (1:02.50) in 2000.
Nitardy, who transferred to John Bapst from Old Town this year, didn’t swim for the Coyotes last winter. She decided to come out for the Bapst team this year in part to make more friends at the school.
“The team’s really friendly, so I figured I’d try it out,” said the sophomore, who also swims for the Bangor Y Barracudas.
The Barracudas are a club team coached by her father, Skip Nitardy.
Tara Nitardy is just one new addition to a team that has steadily grown in the last few years and added 10 girls this season.
“A lot of the new swimmers swim for [club teams], so they’re swimming year-round and they have more training. That boosts our team in general,” said Yestramski, who won both the 50 and 100 free races as well as swimming the backstroke leg of the medley relay.
The younger swimmers had good meets. Freshman Meri Isherwood won the 200 free Friday night, sophomore twin sisters Sally and Phoebe Peckenham both helped on Bapst’s three winning relays, freshman Bri Illingworth came in second in both the 50 and 100, and sophomore Victoria Borth placed second to Nitardy in the IM and fly.
Juniors Carolyn Ryder and Emily Bousfield posted wins in the breaststroke and backstroke, respectively. Junior Kim Barrows won the diving, and senior Danielle Richard took the 500 free.
Yestramski doesn’t swim outside of the high school season, but that hasn’t hurt her this year. Weight training and good coaching, she said, have helped.
“Right now I’m kind of astonished,” she said of her times. “It’s been a big improvement from last year. I’m really psyched to see how I do.”
The Wildcats, who have a total of 11 swimmers on their roster, didn’t post any finishes higher than third place and took third in the two relays in which they competed.
In the boys meet, Drew Desrosiers, Corey Isherwood, Ryan Trafton, and Ian Grover each picked up two individual wins for the Crusaders.
However, with so few Presque Isle swimmers, several Bapst competitors were either alone or swimming against just one other person for their races.
“I look at it as a chance to beat my own times,” said Isherwood, who won the 200 and 500 free and swam on the medley relay and 400 free relay teams. “It’s just basically me chasing myself.”
Trafton was alone in the pool to take the IM and butterfly. Grover didn’t have any competition in the backstroke and also picked up a win in the 100 free. Justin Bergeron won the diving, while Drew Desrosiers easily won the 50 free and breaststroke.
The Wildcat boys had some personal triumphs of their own. Coach Joyce Price said Jacob Brawn sliced eight seconds from his breaststroke time, and Cameron Winter completed the 500 free on his first attempt.
“The kids are doing well,” PI coach Joyce Price said. “They’re doing faster times than they were doing this time last year. … When you see those eight seconds in the breaststroke, you know it’s finally coming around.”