As a junior, Messalonskee High School swimmer Edmund Couture could not have come closer to the school record in the 100 butterfly. He was .1 second off the mark. Throughout the offseason, Couture wondered if he could have touched the wall an eye blink faster or maybe could he have had at least one kick a little stronger.

Rather than let that .1 haunt him, Couture used it as motivation.

Messalonskee’s Edmund Couture is the Morning Sentinel Boys Swimmer of the Year. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

“It made me really want to work hard to get that,” Couture said.

Couture got that Messalonskee 100 butterfly record, breaking Arthur Conover’s mark this winter. With it, he earned a pair of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, in the 100 butterfly (53.39 seconds) and 200 freestyle (1:50.99). Couture also earned top four finishes in each event at the Class A state meet.

For his efforts, Edmund Couture is the Morning Sentinel Boys Swimmer of the Year.

“He’s one focused swimmer,” Messalonskee coach Beth Prelgovisk said of Couture. “He’s just an all-around fantastic swimmer. He’s been working on these events the last three years.”

In the offseason, Couture focused on dry land training. When he got back in the pool, it was two practices a day, one with Messalonskee and one with his YMCA club team. Couture estimated at the height of his training, he swam 6,000 yards per day.

“Everything contributed (to a strong season),” he said.

Prelgovisk noticed the difference. The training was paying off.

“In December, before Christmas, you could tell his stroke was clicking. You could tell good things were going to happen for him,” Prelgovisk said.

Swimming is the sport that has always come naturally to Couture.

“I’ve never been a runner. I’ve always been a natural swimmer. After practice, even a hard practice, I feel better. It makes me happy,” Couture said.

Couture qualified for the national championships in the 100 butterfly, and will compete next week in Greensboro, North Carolina.

At the Class A state meet, Couture took fourth place in the 200 freestyle, shaving just over a second off his KVAC winning time to finish at 1:49.65. He also bettered his 100 butterfly time from KVAC to states, tying Hampden’s Cameron LaBree for third in 52.59 seconds.

Until this past season, Couture never considered continuing his swimming career in college. The improvement he felt and his love of the sport combined to pull him toward that option. Next year, Couture plans to join the swim team at St. Joseph’s College in Standish.

“This year I was faster in the water. I decided the best thing for me is to keep swimming,” Couture said.

Prelgovisk thinks Couture will thrive as a collegiate swimmer.

“I’m just excited he’s exploring the opportunity to swim in college, because he hasn’t blossomed yet,” Prelgovisk said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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