Zoli Nagy didn’t have high expectations when he returned to swimming.

The last time the Lawrence senior swam competitively in a pool, he was in seventh grade. He left at the time to focus on other sports, tired of the commitment it takes to swim on a regular basis.

He returned this winter simply to participate in a winter sport and see how well he’d do.

The answer? Record breaking.

Nagy — one of four Lawrence swimmers competing with the Messalonskee swim team — finished the 50 free with a time of 23.71 seconds during a meet against Lewiston on Dec. 16.

Not only did that time surpass Alex Bevier to set the new school record, but it was a time that would have been the ninth-best in the state last year.

“I was really surprised and really didn’t know I was going to break it,” Nagy said. “Right before the race, I told myself that I was just going to break it — and that I knew I could — and just ended up doing it.”

The record even surprised Messalonskee coach Beth Prelgovisk, who had previously mentored Nagy in his younger years as a member of the Mid Maine Dolphin swim team.

“When he did 24 (seconds) in the first meet, I was surprised at that,” Prelgovisk said. “For him to come back and drop to a 23, that’s like top-10 in the state last year, that’s a top time. It’s just fun to see that he’s held on to his stroke technique over the years. He’s just an amazing athlete. He’s in great athletic shape, and he’s just an amazing kid.”

Prelgovisk noted that Nagy had much potential to be a great swimmer during his younger days.

“He was a champion swimmer when he was younger,” Prelgovisk said. “We would go to swim meets and he would have the top points in his age group, so he did really well.”

Even through his success, Nagy said he was growing tired of the day-in, day-out commitment and routine of swimming. After seventh grade, he focused on playing other sports.

“I hated being cold,” Nagy said. “I was always cold, whenever I got (to the pool), whenever I was leaving. The commitment was just leaving my house, working hard and accomplishing something. I just lost the passion for it.”

The love and effort returned this season, and it’s already paying off for Nagy. Now it’s simply a matter of refining his swim game.

“We’ve been having a crash course on some of the technical aspects of the sport,” Prelgovisk said. “Working on his starts, working on his turns. He has very similar strokes to when he was younger. It’s exciting to see that.”

Nagy won’t hang his hat on just one record. He has bigger plans on the horizon as the season moves along.

“Ultimately, my goal is to get to states in the 50 free and just do as best as I can, as best as I can,” Nagy said. “I think I can swim faster than the last meet.”

• • •

It’s no secret that the Cony girls swim team has been chasing Brunswick in the Class A ranks for some time.

So needless to say, picking up a 101-75 win over the two-time defending state champions — which the Rams accomplished back on Dec. 16 — is a big deal.

Cony coach Jon Millett said the win is a great way to start the season.

“It was a feel-good moment for the team, espcially those who have been on the team for a while,” Millett said.

Two standout performances came from juniors Tara Jorgensen and Haley Gagne. Both set personal records in their respective events. Gagne set a time of 1:00.82 in the 100 free, while Jorgensen blew away her competition with a time of 6:19.74 in the 500 free, besting Brunswick’s Elina Woolever by 20 seconds.

“Not only were these PR’s but they were close races and would have been big point swings had they not swam well,” Millett said.

While Millett is proud of the win, he — as well as the team — know there is still an entire regular season to go before even thinking about states. The work put in at practice, Millett says, is what makes the Rams better.

“What we do in practice directly impacts our meet performances,” Millett said. “Many of the athletes compete against each other every day. This makes us better.”

• • •

The Waterville/Winslow swim team is hosting their annual alumni swim meet Monday at the Waterville Boys & Girls Club. Warm-ups begin at 5 p.m. and the meet begins at 5:45. The event is open to all swimmers, not just current or former members of the Warterville or Winslow swim teams. The only entry fee is a non-perishable food item that will be donated to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter.

“The meet is something the kids love to host,” Waterville/Winslow coach Justin Giroux said. “At our first team meeting this season, it was one of the first things our swimmers wanted to ensure we would do this year.”

Not only does the annual event — which has been going on for over 10 years — help a good cause, but Giroux said it gives generations of local swimmers a chance to mingle.

“(The high school swimmers) love it because they get to see some older swimmers who they were on the team with before they graduated from high school,” Giroux said. “Alumni love it because they get to see their old coaches and old swimming friends.”

The Waterville Boys & Girls Club is located on 126 North Street in Waterville.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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