Nathan Berry set a goal at the onset of the swimming season, then spent the months that followed working toward achieving them.

The Cony sophomore wanted to break 22 seconds in the 50 free. He did that, finishing with a time of 21.79 at the Class A state swimming and diving championships, finishing in second.

He wanted to break 56 seconds in the 100 backstroke. He did that, too, finishing in 55.44, good enough for third at the state meet.

For his accomplishments this season, Berry is the Morning Sentinel/Kennebec Journal Boys Swimmer of the Year.

Berry’s success certainly did not come out of nowhere. As a freshman last season, he finished first in the 50 free and third in the 100 back at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championships.

Berry set the tone of his championship season at the KVACs again this season. He won the 50 free with a time of 22.31, edging Henry Raker of Brunswick by 0.01 seconds. He finished second in the 100 back with a time of 55.49.

“I just tried to go in with a calm, relaxed mindset,” Berry said. “Obviously, it’s pretty hard considering it’s a championship meet, there’s a lot of pressure. I just try to stay relaxed and chill, and just kind of go for it and see what I can do.”

While Berry keeps his mind calm, his body is the exact opposite in the pool.

“(Berry) is a tornado of arms and legs in the water,” Cony coach John Millett said.

Berry said his swimming evolved over this season alone, as he continuously worked on his stroke.

“Coming into the year, I was swimming more smoothly, trying to catch the water with every stroke,” Berry said. “But I realized later in the season — especially with sprinting races — tempo is what matters. Speed, arms and legs, just going as fast as you can, going all out.”

Berry saved his best work for the state meet at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. His times at states are now new program records. And he has two more seasons of swimming ahead of him.

“As a team, we did better than we expected to. We finished sixth out of the teams that finished there,” Berry said. “I think that’s pretty good, since we only had five or six boys that went to states. Me personally, I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out.”

As a team, Berry believes the Rams will only get better over the next couple of years.

“We’re losing a couple of good seniors, but the majority of the swim team for boys are sophomores like me,” Berry said. “In two years, I think the team will be really strong. I think we have a lot of potential.”

Berry said he plans on continuing to work in the 50 free and 100 backstroke in the future, but would like to add the 200 back to his repertoire.

“You don’t get too many opportunities for 200 back during the regular season, you only get them at championship meets,” Berry said. “I think if I trained specifically for the 200 back, that’s another event I think I can do well in.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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