“I told myself there was no way I was going to let this training go wasted. It was my time and I was ready to do it.”
— Katie Hoff, 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympian
Regardless of the level of competition, championship swim meets held in February and March offer opportunities to draw on the thousands of yards swum during the training season and to swim fast, the goal of every swimmer.
This highlights the achievements of swimmers with Maine associations and notes national achievements of interest.
The 2008-09 PAC-10 women’s championship swamped the record books, producing four American records, seven NCAA records, 10 PAC-10 records and 10 PAC-10 meet records in one of the fastest conference meets in the USA.
American records were set in the 200 free (1:41.5) by California’s Dana Vollman; in the 200 IM (1:53.1) by Stanford’s Julie Smith; in the 200 butterfly (1:49.9) by Elaine Bradeen of Stanford and in the 200 breaststroke (2:04.7) by USC’s Rebecca Sori.
Colby College’s Sam Wampler became the second swimmer in Maine this year to hit 20 seconds for the 50 free.
Wampler’s 20.72 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference meet set a Colby record and earned him fourth place in one of the nation’s fastest Division III conference meets.
Morse High of Bath’s James Wells broke the 21-second barrier earlier this year.
Ryan Trafton, a Colby freshman and former John Bapst High of Bangor swimmer, competed in the NESCAC meet with Wampler and the Mules and swam a quick 52.4 100 fly, a three-second drop from his dual-meet season time.
After a successful interscholastic season, Bangor High freshman Mariah Reading continued her hot swimming, qualifying for the YMCA Nationals in the 100 butterfly and setting a state YMCA record (59.2) at the recent state meet.
Reading also won the 200 IM in an interscholastic meet with high school swimmers from Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire sponsored by the New England Council.
The Penn State Nittany Lions finished third in the Big Ten Championship, a meet won by Indiana University.
Erin Thomas, a former age-group swimmer in the Bangor area and a member of the 2008 swim team at Bangor High, competed as a freshman for Penn State at the Big Ten Championships and recorded several impressive times, including a 1:50.3 200 free, a 51.3 100 free and a 23.5 50 free.
Other former area local swimmers competed successfully in their college conference championships.
Kallie Pottle of Brewer, swimming for Springfield College, won two silver medals at the New England Women’s Athletic Championship.
Pottle’s 59.9 100 back and her 2:05.4 200 back earned her second places for meet winner Springfield. The senior won gold medals in the 800 (1:55.0) and the 400 free relays (54.1).
Also in the NEWAC meet, Ellsworth’s Iris Meehan raced a 1:00.8 100 back to finish sixth and swam a backstroke leg on the 200 medley relay (28.1) for Wheaton College, which finished third (1:51) in the relay.
At the University of Chicago, the site of the University Athletic Association Conference meet, Michael Rubin, captain of Brandeis University swimming and a Bangor High graduate, recorded quality swims in the 500 free (4:52.3), 200 free (1:47.9) and 49.6 in the 100 free.
Colby’s Kelsey Potdevin set a meet record in the 50 back (26.5) at the NESCAC championships. Williams won and the Mules finished fifth.
Morse’s Wells broke Ian Crocker’s Class A record with his 49.8 100 backstroke win.
Crocker, a Portland native, has raced for the USA in the Olympic Games where he medaled. Wells also set a Bowdoin College pool record of 23.0 in the 50 back leading off the medley relay.
In Texas, Cole Cragin broke one of the oldest national interscholastic records when he finished in 46.7 in the 100 backstroke. The previous mark had been untouched since 1994…….
The University of Maine in Orono will be the host site for the Maine swimming Winter Combined Championships Thursday through Sunday. The meet, which will attract 565 swimmers from 21 teams including both YMCA teams and USS clubs, offers competition in 10 and under, 11 and 12, 13 and 14 and senior age groups………
The American Swim Coaches Association will induct five coaches into the ASCA Hall of Fame in September: former UCLA coach Ron Ballatore, Dick Shoulberg of Germantown Academy, Bob Gillett of the Arizona Desert Fox, Pete Malone of the Kansas City Blaze and Jack Nelson of the Fort Lauderdale Swim Team.
As a young coach, this reporter worked with Nelson for a summer and recalls his enthusiasm for swimming and the confidence he displayed in his swimmers which fed them as they approached national and international competition……
Five swimmers from the Eastern Maine have received academic recognition from the UMaine athletic department.
Erica Simpson of Bangor, a junior backstroker and individual medley swimmer for the Black Bears, received a scholar-athlete silver medallion, her second time honored for maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Simpson is studying nursing.
Also honored with a silver medallion was Kevin Staples of Mount Desert, the speedy freestyler for Skip Nitardy’s team.
Brewer’s Andrew Meehan, Old Town’s Nicole Bladow and Bangor’s Grace Barnett received the Rising Star achievement award for maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher during their first semester.