A year ago, Arthur Conover prepared for his collegiate swimming career by winning his third straight state title in the 500-yard freestyle for Messalonskee High School. This past week, Conover was about 10 seconds faster as he finished third in the 500 at the NCAA Division III National Swimming and Diving Championship in Indianapolis, Ind.

Conover also placed third in the 1,650 freestyle and 16th in the 400 individual medley to make a significant contribution toward the second national title in a row and 33rd overall for his school, Kenyon College.

“It’s really amazing for to swim for a team with so much history and so much tradition,” Conover said.

The Lords edged runner-up Dennison 480 points to 472 on Saturday after finishing third in meet’s final event, the 400 IM.

“I was pretty happy,” Conover said. “I improved in all of my races and was able to help the team out.”

Conover was seeded 13th in the 500 but moved up to third in the finals with a time of four minutes, 27.4 seconds.

“The 500 was a much bigger improvement,” he said.”I dropped about three and a half seconds from my best time. A lot of it has been improved training and more specialized training. I’m probably doing twice as much distance training as I did in high school.”

Conover has competed at the club level in the 1,650 since his freshman year in high school. At the nationals, he knocked two seconds off his best time, finishing in 15:19.3. And he made a contribution in the 400 IM, which he calls “by far my weakest event,” by making the consolation finals and finishing 16th overall in 4:01.60.

“I was not seeded to score any points,” he said. “But I made the consolation finals and picked up a point for the team.”

Conover, who plans a double major in physics and mathematics, will take two or three weeks off and concentrate on his studies.

“I made some really big improvements this year and I’m still trying to figure out where it can lead me,” he said. “I’ll take it a lap at a time.”

Prelgovisk wins NE YMCA titles

MELROSE, Mass. — Messalonskee High School junior Kristy Prelgovisk won a pair of events over the weekend at the New England YMCA Swimming Championships. Representing the Waterville YMCA and competing in the girls 15-18 division, Prelgovisk won the 100 yard breaststroke by more than two seconds as well as the 200 yard individual medley. Messalonskee teammate Ally Fischang finished ninth in the 200 freestyle and 18th in the 50 free in the same division. Mary Erb also swam for Waterville and placed ninth in the 100 butterfly.

Waterville’s Ben Wehry finished fourth in the 15-18 boys 50-yard freestyle, seventh in the 200 freestyle and 17th in the 100 freestyle. Teammate Adrian Rivas placed eighth in the 100 breaststroke and 14th in the 50 free. Erskine’s Brandon Smith was 21st in the 100 butterfly, 29th in the 100 free and 34th in the 50 free.

Cony sophomore Noah Aube competed for the Kennebec Valley YMCA and finished fifth in the 200 freestyle and sixth in the 500 free.

Also in the boys 15-18 division, Monmouth junior Joe Manduca competed for the Auburn-Lewiston and finished seventh in the 100 butterfly, 14th in the breaststroke and was a member of the fourth place 400 freestyle relay team. Messalonskee’s Ben Thibert finished ninth in the 100 yard backstroke while Lawrence’s Alex Bevier was eighth in the 500 free and 15th in the 200 IM. Both Thibert and Bevier swam for Waterville.

Also for Waterville in the girls 11-12 division, Edin Sisson finished 11th in the 50 fly and 15th in the 50 breast. In the 13-14 girls division. Kenz Burton placed 16th in the butterfly.

Talia Jorgensen, competing for the KV Y in the girls 11-12 division, finished second in the 50 and 100 yard butterfly and the 200 IM. Last week at the championships, the KV YMCA’s Scott Turney placed sixth in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638[email protected]Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ