Arthur Conover is no stranger to pressure or nerves.
The Messalonskee senior swimmer felt them — and subsequently overcame them — in each of the last two years to win the 500-yard freestyle at the Class A championships.
He hopes to make it three for his last three today at Bowdoin College, site of the Class A meet.
“It’s nerve-racking,” said Conover, who is seeded first in the 500 free. “There is a lot of pressure, but I know I just have to go out and swim my own race. I can’t think about what other people are going to do. But it would be nice to get the 500 in my senior year.”
Bowdoin College will host the Class A championship meets, beginning with the boys at 10:30 a.m. today followed by the girls meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. The finals on both days will begin at 7 p.m.
The University of Maine at Orono will host the Class B meets, with the boys going today and the girls Tuesday. The trials begin at 10:30 a.m. while the finals are scheduled for 5 p.m.
Conover, the two-time defending 500 free champ, is also seeded third in the 200 free. He comes in with a personal best time of 4 minutes, 45.11 seconds in the 500 free.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “I’d like to move up in the 200, but we’ll see. In the 500, it sort of feels like I’m leading the way but there are a lot of people pushing to keep up. It won’t be easy.”
Messalonskee sophomore Kristy Prelgovisk also in position for a big meet. She is seeded first in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 100 butterfly.
“The breaststroke is going to be a good race,” she said. “I’ve swam against a lot of those girls before at (YMCA) meets. It would be awesome to win it.”
Prelgovisk features a seed time of 1:06.94 in the breaststroke. Her closest pursuer, Olivia Paione of Edward Little, checks in at 1:08.33.
“I’ll be ready,” Prelgovisk said. “I won’t get nervous before the event until I get up on the blocks. But once I hit the water, I feel fine. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Messalonskee teammate Ally Fischang is seeded fourth in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free.
She’ll be pushed in both events by Cony junior Kaylee McNeff, who is seeded fifth in the 500 free and eighth in the 200 free.
Cony senior Adam McNeff is seeded eighth in the 100 butterfly and ninth in the 200 individual medley. Cony freshman Noah Aube is sixth in the 500 free as well.
Brunswick, Cape Elizabeth and Bangor should be in the hunt for team titles.
In Class B, Waterville senior Sam Zarfos is seeded second in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.
“He’s our strongest hope,” Waterville coach Bob Johnston said. “Sam is our big gun.”
Winslow senior Gabe Smith is seeded eighth in the 100 breaststroke.
On the girls side, Winslow foreign exchange student Vika Arkhipova is in line for a big meet. She is seeded second in the 200 free and 100 backstroke. Teammate Sierra Hopkins is fourth in the 100 breaststroke. Waterville senior Sarah Ringer is fifth in that event. Mount Desert Island and Greely will contend for team titles.
Bill Stewart — 621-5640