Waterville/Winslow’s Eric Booth, left, and Cony’s Gabe Biasuz clasp hands after competing in the 100-meter butterfly during a meet Friday at the Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

WATERVILLE — Eric Booth sits in a hallway inside the Alfond Youth and Community Center, just a few feet from the pools where he spent a good chunk of his childhood.

Booth, one of the top swimmers for the Waterville/Winslow co-operative program, has just two meets remaining in his high school career, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships Monday in Bath followed by states about a week later.

The KVAC B meet was postponed due to weather from Friday to Monday.

Booth, a Winslow senior, is equal parts reflective and excited when discussing his high school swimming career.

Waterville/Winslow senior Eric Booth won the 50-meter freestyle during a Jan. 17 meet against Cony at theKennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Ph Buy this Photo

“At the beginning of the season, I started off slow,” he said. “But I’m getting back into it now. Hopefully by the end, when we’re cutting down our yardage, it’ll come right back to me and put up some best times at KVACs and, hopefully, states.”

Waterville/Winslow coach Justin Giroux said earlier this season that Booth has been consistent throughout the season.

“He has multiple school records,” Giroux said. “He’s just trying to finish out the year strong, break some of his old records and try to get his name up on the (record) board more than it already is. He’s doing a great job there.”

Booth finished last season with a strong showing at the Class A championships (Waterville/Winslow dropped to Class B this season). He finished sixth in the 200-meter individual medley and eighth in the 100 breaststroke. He said he’ll compete in the breaststroke again in the postseason, but has added another event to his arsenal.

“Definitely the 100 breaststroke still,” Booth said. “But I’ve been doing the 50 freestyle a lot, so I might do that during states. I’m doing that during KVACs. I might do it at states, too, it all depends on how people are ranked.”

There’s every reason to believe Booth can do as well — if not better — this postseason. Booth led the Waterville/Winslow boys to a dual meet win over Cony on Jan. 17, leading the team with wins in the 50 free (24.08 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (1:01.67). He was part of a winning 200 IM team that finished with a time of 1:58.38.

“He’s coming toward his own at the end of the season here,” Giroux said after that meet. “He’s been doing really well in the 50 free. He had a really great performance, going 23 (seconds during a meet the week before). He’s been doing well in the 100 fly. He’s a really good breaststroker, and it’ll be interesting to see if (his times continue into the postseason).”

Booth will enter the postseason meets with a different strategy than that of regular season meets.

“For larger meets, like KVACs and states for example, I think more about strategy,” Booth said. “During normal meets during the season, like dual meets, I don’t put as much mental effort in. But during bigger meets, I always try to gauge how I feel during warm-ups. I’m thinking to myself now that we’re doing less yardage and I’m more rested, I can try a little bit harder and maintain a faster pace, things like that.”

Booth started competing in swimming at 10 years old. He was a wrestler from kindergarten until second grade, but made the switch in sports while taking swim lessons.

“What I really about swimming, it’s individual,” Booth said. “I like team sports, too, because I play soccer. But I really like the individual aspect where it’s just you, and you alone, that determine how well you do, or how well you don’t do. You can try as hard as you want in practice, but it all just shows at the end of the season.”

Booth has plans to swim in college — likely with a Division III program.

“I’m pretty excited,” Booth said. “I really like swimming, so I’m excited for another four years of it.”

But before that, he has some final business to attend to.

 

Dave Dyer – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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