Carlisle Swimming: A Two-Part Series

Published: Dec. 20, 2018 at 8:06 PM EST
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The Carlisle swim team generally is comprised of swimmers from Presque Isle, Caribou, and MSSM. Presque Isle and MSSM decided not to participate in the team this year, so they added another county town into the mix.

"This year they, Fort Fairfield finally agreed to let them be part of the team," coach Erica Hemphill said.

Fort Fairfield practiced with the Carlisle team in past years, now, they can compete, something which coach Erica Hemphill is excited to see this year.

Now that they're a part of the fold, the Tigers are fitting right in, which doesn't surprise the Presque Isle graduate Hemphill, who witnessed the original formation of the Carlisle team in 2014.

"That was a lot easier than I thought it would be because you know there's this big Presque Isle Caribou rivalry that I was so used to in school," Hemphill said. "But coming into a Fort Fairfield and Caribou team it hasn't been all that much different from the Carlisle team before now."

Fort Fairfield swimmer Jason Bernaiche likes being on the team, but knows it can be a bit weird going from teammates to foes all in a season's time.

"It's a lot weirder being friends with them on Carlisle and then baseball season we'd be enemies," Bernaiche said. "It is a little bit of a change but I think it's a good change."

And for Caribou senior Riley McNeal, she's really already considered swimmers from Fort teammates.

"I mean they've always been here, we've always practiced together, traveled together," McNeal said. "Now that it's official it just feels a little bit different, like we're actually working more together rather than people who are just practicing together."

Another aspect of the season Hemphill is happy about, is the team's move from Class A to Class B.

"I didn't really think it was necessarily fair that we swam with class A teams before because we were still a tiny team compared to all those other teams," Hemphill said. "But I'm happy that we're back to Class B because our team sizes are comparable."