BATH, Maine — James Wells, a 17-year-old junior from Morse High School in Bath, has returned from the 2009 National YMCA Short Course Swimming and Diving Championships with three national championships and a second-place effort in individual competition.

Wells, representing the Bath Area Family YMCA, won the 50 freestyle, the 100 backstroke and the 200 backstroke during the four-day event, held last Monday through Thursday at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

He won the 50 freestyle in a time of 20.60 seconds to edge second-place Dan Sweeney of New Canaan, Conn. (20.77). Ironically, Wells was the last swimmer to qualify for the final, with his preliminary-round time of 21.13 just good enough to get into the eight-man final.

Wells won both his preliminary-round heat and the final in the 100 backstroke, winning the prelim in 49.88 seconds before winning the final in 47.70, more than a second ahead of runnerup Mitchell Friedmann (48.74).

Wells earned his final victory in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:46.94, nearly a second ahead of Steven Zimmerman (1:47.89).

He added a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly, with his time of 48.84 seconds trailing only Tim Phillips of Marietta, Ga., who won the event in 46.96 seconds.

Wells also teammed with Wo Ho Chang, Ian Nichols and Phillip Jacques to place seventh in the team relay with a time of 1:24.95.