This weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, March 6 and 7, youngsters from around the state will gather to compete in the Maine YMCA state meet at the University of Maine.

The event will include young swimmers from the Penobscot bay YMCA and Waldo County YMCA.

On Saturday, March 6 the competition will start at 8:30 a.m. and last until the final event, the 10-and-younger and 11-12 boys finish later that night. Sunday will start with the 12-and-younger girls at 8:40 a.m. and end with the 14-and-younger and senior boys later that night.

The Waldo County and Penobscot Bay swimmers should challenge for top places, with the Sailfish looking close the gap between themselves and the rest of the field.

Sailfish coach Hodding Carter is hopeful about the competition and remains confident.

“It looks like we’ll have many state champions in nearly all the age groups,” said Carter. “In other words, we’re going to have our best state meet ever and will finish much closer to first than anyone expects us to.”

“It is sort of amazing how dedicated they got as the year went on,” Carter said about his team. “They were, just two years ago, the last placed team and now they have been training harder than I ever expected them to and it looks like they are going to be in the top five.”

“It’s not like [placing high] is the most important thing but it is fun to see kids their age, from ages 6-18, committing to something, which is unusual I think, and then getting the reward for it,” he said.

Aaron Winslow, the Bluefish coach hopes his team will get strong times. “We know, being a fairly small team, that we are not going to be at the top,” he said. He continued to say that he hopes the team will rank around the eighth place but more importantly “we are just hoping that the kids all have some personal bests come the weekend,” he said.

He said his team has a strong group of boys and girls with some high-seeded individual racers and relay teams that may contend for state titles.

Right now he said he is pushing them and he hopes “that they finish strong and put us up there to gain as many points as we can,” he said.

The age divisions and times for this weekend’s competitions include:

March 6

8 and younger girls — 8:30 a.m.

8 and younger boys — 11:30 a.m.

10 and younger girls — 2:00 p.m.

10 and younger and 11-12 boys — 6:10 p.m.

March 7

12 and younger girls — 8:40 a.m.

14 and younger and senior girls — 12:10 p.m.

14 and younger and senior boys — 5:25 p.m.

Click for photos of the Bluefish and Sailfish from this season.

Click for photos of the Bluefish and Sailfish from this season.

Click for more photos of the Bluefish from this season.

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.