Training trip helps Black Bear swimmers

Posted Jan. 21, 2009, at 9:58 p.m.

“The men swam great. They did not want to lose this meet,” Skip Nitardy, coach of the University of Maine men’s and women’s swim team, commented following the Black Bears’ convincing 179-115 win over Providence College Saturday. A year ago, the Friars defeated the men by six points.

“We had a great semester break training trip. The kids trained very hard,” Nitardy said.

The hard training resulted in immediate speed gains for sophomore Ryan Wonsor, who won the 50 free Saturday in a best time (22.5).

“Ryan just made the team last year,” Nitardy explained when noting Wonsor’s development. Actually, the Vermont native was voted Most Improved a year ago and has continued his progress this season.

The women, as expected, swam past Providence 168-106.

In a 5 p.m. meet on Friday, the Black Bears will race a strong University of New Hampshire team.

“We will use our full lineup and challenge them in some areas,” Nitardy explained.

Nitardy said the Wildcats’ depth and fast relays in both the freestyle and the medley make the Wildcats a particularly challenging opponent.

Saturday, both the men and the women swim Bowdoin College, coached by former Black Bear swimmer Brad Burnham. As Nitardy explained, the event list for Saturday’s racing has been adjusted and will include “off” distances such as the 100-yard individual medley.

In fact, Nitardy noted that some of the Maine women racing in the 100 IM will be attempting to break the existing record of 1:01.3 established in 1979 by Hall of Fame swimmer Julie Woodcock.

Husson hosts meet Saturday

Husson University hosts Wheelock College and St. Joseph’s College Saturday in the Eagles’ second home meet of the season under first-year Husson coach Jeff Wren.

“We are going to swim an ambitious program,” Wren declared, including 200-yard races in back, breaststroke and fly.

Wren’s young squad has not raced in six weeks.

“We hope another year to have a plan to address the semester break period. We are transitioning to intense training since returning from the break. We seem to be finding our stroke rhythms. I am pleased with our recent workouts and with our daily team atmosphere.”

Despite the challenges of the longer distances for Wren’s inexperienced team, he expects his swimmers, in some instances, to add to their New England qualifying times or, at least, achieve the performance standard for the remaining dual meets.

Lane lines

Maine Principal’s Association statistician Ritchie Palmer noted the fast dual-meet season swims of Morse High of Bath junior James Wells. Wells led off the 200 free relay with a 21.1 split in the 50 free during a recent meet with Gardiner High and the Hyde School of Bath.

The junior also has recorded a sub 2-minute 200 individual medley (1:58.3), the only swimmer to break the 2-minute mark to this point in the season. In addition, Wells’ race card carries a 50.9 100 back, a 51.7 100 butterfly and a 46.9 100 free, all the fastest times in the interscholastic league regardless of class.

After the eight-length 200 IM, eight hundredths of a second was the margin of victory for Tara Nitardy of John Bapst in an exciting race with Bangor’s talented frosh Mariah Reading on Friday. Nitardy, a senior, hit a 2:01.91 while Reading finished at 2:01.99, both fast dual-meet season times.

Colby’s Kelsey Potdevin set a school record in the 100 backstroke (58.7) in Colby’s recent meet with MIT and qualified for the NCAA Division III Nationals.

The Foxcroft Academy team is displaying freestyle sprint capabilities as the 200 free relay team comprised of Marley Clark, Ashley Murray, Julia Kurzius and Erin Boyer is ranked third in the state in Class B at 1:51.9.

While Wells leads the interscholastic male swimmers in several events, Falmouth’s Kristan Jackson leads the females with very impressive dual meet times: 200 free, 1:56.1; 200IM, 2:10.7; 50 free, 24.7; 100 fly, 59.1; 100 free, 54.2; 500 free, 5:10; 100 back, 1:01.5; and 100 breaststroke, 1:09.9.

Brandeis University captain Mike Rubin, a graduate of Bangor High, helped his team defeat Wheaton College Saturday as the senior anchored the 400 medley relay.

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