Cony's Dufour swims through the pain


Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Cony's Dufour swims through the pain

Cony High School senior Cameron Dufour still jumps into the pool a few times a week, but his competitive swimming career is done.

It ended last month at the Class A state meet when he posted school records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, placing fourth in both events.

Dufour qualified for the New England meet, but a left shoulder that has grown progressively more painful throughout his career sealed his decision not to attend.

"After the state meet, the next two or three days I had a hard time moving my neck," Dufour said. "I was happy with myself. I said, 'This is the way I want to end it.' "

Dufour, who transferred from St. Dominic High School in Auburn after his sophomore year, ended a successful career at Cony that included being named outstanding swimmer at this season's Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet.

For his efforts, he's been selected Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel Boys Swimmer of the Year for the second year in a row.

Despite shoulder problems last season, Dufour didn't consider quitting the swim team. Diagnosed as tendinitis, the injury grew worse.

"His nerves were rubbing against his bones," Cony coach Jon Millett said. "Every time he moved his shoulders, he was in pain."

Dufour's doctor suggested an elastic tape than lifted the nerve away from the bone and for the most part it worked.

The pain still limited his practice time -- he took a day off before each meet -- as well as his goals for the season.

"The 200 freestyle was my race," said Dufour, who holds the school record in that event. "I was hoping to break 1:50. "And I wanted to beat the 500 school record."

Dufour was limited to the 50 and 100 freestyle events as well as the freestyle relays, but injury-free, he could have gone even further.

"He could have been a great backstroker," Millett said. "He's just solid muscle. There's not an ounce of fat on him."

Millett doesn't dwell too much on what Dufour might have done because he's satisfied with what he's been able to accomplish in and out of the pool.

"He's the best kid I've ever had," Millett said. "You won't find a nicer kid, a hard worker. He's a great role model for everybody."

Dufour, who was also a member of the KVAC All-Academic team, plans to attend the University of Fort Kent next fall and eventually become a state trooper, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Bill Harwood.

"The state police motto is, 'Fairness, compassion, integrity and honor,' " Dufour said. "Ever since I was 5 years old, that's what I've wanted to do in my life."

A lifeguard at the Kennebec Valley YMCA, Dufour is sure his competitive days are done. That doesn't mean he'll give up the sport, though.

"Swimming is just a good exercise for the overall body," he said.

Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638