Black Bears eager to compete in league finals

Posted Feb. 18, 2009, at 10:04 p.m.

“They all look good. They are excited and ready to swim. We are looking for best times. Best times and fast swimming are what it is all about,” explained UMaine’s Skip Nitardy, coach of the Black Bear men and women.

Maine competes at Boston University Thursday through Sunday in the America East swimming and diving championship.

The BU facility is a 10-lane pool with a separate area for swimmers to warm up and to cool down.

“Our kids have swum fast there. It is exciting for them,” Nitardy commented.

The meet opens Thursday evening with two relays, the 800 free and the 200 medley relay.

“We want to kick the meet off with fast swims in the relays. Last year the relays set us off to a great start and we want to start this year’s meet the same way,” Nitardy said.

Day two of the meet includes the 200 individual medley, 50 free, and the 500 free. The 400 individual medley, the 100-yard stroke events and the 200 free are contested on day three and the meet concludes with the 1,650- and the 200-yard stroke events.

Nitardy explained the Black Bears will approach the competition with a balanced lineup in the women’s racing, particularly. Although, Nitardy said he expects the fourth day to be a strong day for the women given the Black Bears depth in the 200 stroke events and the mile.

While five women will be closing their swim careers for the Black Bears, only two men are seniors, Brian Smith and John Quinn.

“Brian has done well for us and John has had some phenomenal swims during the dual- meet season. We have some great young men swimmers who are ready to race, too,” Nitardy remarked.

” I tell the kids we swim fast and look at the scoreboard when the meet is over,” he added.

Husson set for New Englands

Husson University’s swimmers will compete in the New England Championships beginning Thursday at UMass Dartmouth.

“Our central mission doesn’t change. Do something you haven’t done in terms of performance,” coach Jeff Wren said as he reflected on his young team, relatively inexperienced in the level of competition at the New Englands.

Competing for the Eagles in the meet are Erin Doucette, Kelly Bernier, Nicole Nadeau, Anna Marceau, Kaitlyn Theriault and Renee Dufrense Dixon.

The Eagles during the season have rewritten numerous Husson records. In fact, Wren admitted that depending on relay composition all Eagle relay records are within reach as are team records in the 200 back and 200 fly at the New Englands.

Lane lines …

- When Ellsworth’s Brian Batson swam a 1:44.4 200 free at the Class B state Meet, he nipped one of the longest standing meet records. The previous record of 1:44.7 was established in 1997 by Steve Cartwright who swam for John Bapst. Cartwright coaches swimming at Georgetown University.

- Not all the Maine February record-setting belongs to interscholastic swimmers as at a master’s meet held recently in Camden, a national record was set in the 800-free relay of 7:26 in the 45 and over age group. Relay members were Mike Schmidt (1:49), Doug Pride (1:50.6), who as a college swimmer swam at UMaine, Hodding Carter (1:56), coach of the Pen Bay Y team of Camden, and Fritz Homans (1:50), a Bangor native who swam at the University of North Carolina.

- The four state swimming and diving interscholastic championships were dedicated to Duffy Ackerly. A high school swim official since 1966, Ackerly was a founding member of the Maine Swim Officials’ Association. He has officiated NCAA meets and he has served as starter at the YMCA nationals. Ackerly becomes the fourth swim official who has been recognized exclusively for contributions as an official by the MPA. Other officials who have received recognition by the MPA include Betty Solorzano in 1982, the late Norm Palmer in 1988 and Larry Finkelman in 1995.

- In the Class A boys’ championship, the 200 individual medley meet record of 1:58.1, set 29 years ago by Rob Sommer of Greely, was challenged by Brunswick’s Phil Jacques. Jacques narrowly missed the state’s oldest swim record with a 1:58.4.

- Orono High School’s Blaise Collett touched a cord with the spectators and competitors with her musical talents. The swimmer for Orono High sang the National Anthem at both championships at the University.

- Bangor’s Jenny Dickson, competing in her first state meet, never considered the possibility when she stepped to the blocks in the 50 free of racing to a tie, not once but twice. After her race in the trials of the 50 free, Dickson tied for alternate for the evening’s racing. So, she and her competitor participated in a swim-off. Again, they finished in a tie. However, following consultation, officials determined there would not be another swim-off unless an alternate was required for the evening’s finals.

- The Donald Richards pool in Cape Elizabeth will host the USS Senior Bronze Classic and 8 and under championship this weekend. Among the participating teams is the Hurricane Swim Club of Bangor.

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