This year's Midcoast masters delegation to the New England LMSC Short-Course Yards Championship in Blodgett Pool March 16 and March 22-24 at Harvard University was small, with only three — Kristi Panayotoff of Lincolnville, Reed Lowden of Rockland, both from Penobscot Bay YMCA, and Margot Hayes of Belfast and the Waldo County YMCA — able to carry the local flag.

And did the trio ever carry the flag, making significant contributions to Maine's team.

The area's veteran swimmers were plagued by injury and conflicts — Susan Rardin of the Waldo County YMCA had to drop out at the last minute, for example — developments that significantly reduced the usually high number of locals who attend the prestigious, talent-laden competition.

However, the Midcoast trio who participated helped Maine surge from fifth to second.

Maine Masters fielded 47 of the 853 swimmers from New England and beyond. The Maine Blue Lobsters finished seventh among 76 teams, losing only to the 101 swimmers from the home team Cambridge Masters.

Panayotoff, Lowden and Hayes proved strong contributors.

Lowden, 58, won the New England championship in the 200 breaststroke and was on three championship relays. He swam 12 individual events, amassing 89 individual points despite a disqualification in the 100 individual medley. He also swam all five possible relays for 40 points.

Panayotoff, 64, swam the maximum 13 individual events for 167 points (9th among the 375 women competitors) and also swam five relays for 35.5 points. She captured seconds in the three butterfly events and the 500 freestyle.

Hayes, 43, placed well in her five individual events in the highly-competitive 40-45 age bracket and helped complete three relays. She contributed 44 individual and 18.5 relay points.

In the mixed 55-plus 800 freestyle relay, Lowden's and Panayotoff's winning team also broke the Maine record previously held by a team that included Peter Giustra of Warren and Bill Jones of Hope.

A measure of the team spirit of the three is they "swam down" to complete relays in younger age groups for the sake of the team. Holt, Lowden and Panayotoff are above the mid-point of their age groups.

The individual results for the three local swimmers included:

Lowden — 200 breaststroke, first, 2:56.50; 50 breast, third, 33.91; 100 breast, fourth, 1:17.65; 200 butterfly, fourth, 3:08.85; 400 individual medley, seventh, 6:13.69; 200 IM, 10th, 2:55.71; 100 fly, 11th, 1:21.14; 50 fly, 13th, 34.12; 50 backstroke, 13th, 39.15; 50 freestyle, 16th, 30.44; 100 free, 18th, 1:09.50; men 55-plus 400 medley relay, first, 4:51.71; mixed 45-plus 200 medley relay, first, 2:09.36; mixed 55-plus 800y freestyle relay, first, 10:46.81; mixed 55-plus 400 freestyle relay, second, 5:54.24; and men 45-plus 200y freestyle relay, third, 2:08.55.

Panayotoff — 200 butterfly, second, 3:53.71; 50 fly, second, 49.18; 100 fly, second, 1:46.81; 500 freestyle, second, 9:13.21; 200 individual medley, third, 3:42.32; 400 IM, fourth, 7:50.45; 1,650 free, fifth, 31:45.69; 100 breaststroke, fifth, 1:54.69; 100 backstroke, fifth, 1:44.49; 200 back, fifth, 3:44.56; 50 breast, sixth, 51.03; 100 IM, sixth, 1:42.04; 50 back, seventh, 47.86; mixed 55-plus 800 freestyle relay, first, 10:46.81; mixed 55-plus 400 free relay, second, 5:54.24; mixed 55-plus 200 medley relay, third, 3:15.89; mixed 35-plus 400 medley relay, fourth, 6:16.50; and women 18-plus 200 free relay, fifth, 2:13.16.

Hayes — 50 butterfly, fourth, 32.26; 200 fly, fifth, 3:15.04; 200 freestyle, seventh, 2:30.04; 100 free, 10th, 1:06.20; mixed 25-plus 400 medley relay, fourth 4:34.42; mixed 18-plus 200 medley relay, fifth, 2:06.73; women 18-plus 400 free relay, fifth, 4:30.21; and 50 free, 15th, 29.78.

Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@courierpublicationsllc.com.