BANGOR, Maine — Jeff Wren was very pleased with his Husson University women’s swim team after one of its first practices last week.
“We worked a dry land set today which was every bit as good as any other groups’ with which I have worked,” said Wren, Husson’s new aquatics director and women’s swim coach.
Wren assumed the responsibilities at Husson earlier this month. He retired from coaching at the University of Maine after the 2006 season. During his more than 30-year tenure at UMaine, his swimmers consistently demonstrated an ability to maintain stroke technique during the demands of a race and to race smartly regardless of the distance or the opponent.
In his first season at Husson, Wren has opened the practices with a focus on teaching.
“From a teaching view there are three levels with the team,” Wren said. “There will be an emphasis with a group on timing, breathing and body position while another group needs refinement and the more advanced group can benefit from individual stroke work.”
The training emphasis will be on developing a solid foundation and building the stroke rhythm to keep going. “We want to build the endurance necessary to keep swimming,” Wren explained.
Highlighting the early practices has been the number of swimmers in the water.
“This first year we want numbers up and we want to cover all the events not necessarily with fast people. The big thing is to get people in the water. I am cautiously encouraged with the viable numbers.,” Wren said.
The 17 swimmers represent the largest number of swimmers in the water in the three-year history of the program.
Wren suggested the roster could expand following the completion of the fall sport sports.
“We have a spot for those who like to swim and who want to get better,” he said.
The racing schedule for the Eagles continues to develop and Wren is encouraged with the competition schedule.
“I am pretty happy,” he said. “There were three meets on the schedule when we first took over and now there are nine countable meets including Husson’s first competitive racing Oct. 25 at St. Joesph’s in West Hartford (Conn.).”
SPLASHES: In his role as aquatics director Wren plans to expand offerings at the pool. A lifeguarding course has been added this fall and Wren is working with Maine Master’s to host a Master’s meet in December. … USA swimming reports Olympic years produce bumps of 5 to 10 percent in participation in competitive swimming. After the 2004 games, there was a 7 percent jump in participation. With Michael Phelps record-setting performance this summer in the Olympics, USA swimming expects the 2004 numbers to be surpassed. … Phelps donated his million dollar bonus from Speedo to a charity group which supports age group swimming and youth activities.