Morse High of Bath’s James Wells, who became the first Maine interscholastic swimmer to break 21 seconds in the 50 free and 50 seconds in the 100 backstroke, retains the No. 1 seed for the 100-yard backstroke (49.8) at the YMCA Nationals.
The YMCA Nationals, scheduled April 6-9 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the Hall of Fame pool, yearly attracts one of the nation’s largest field of swimmers. Wells, who will swim for the Bath YMCA in the national meet, is less than a tenth of a second ahead of the No. 2 seed in the 100 backstroke field of 159 racers.
Brian Batson of the Downeast YMCA in Ellsworth and Mariah Reading of the Bangor YMCA also qualified for the national competition and will be swimming.
“The quality of swimming was so good it was almost overwhelming,” commented Bangor High boys coach Phil Emery after returning from the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s swimming and diving championships held at Texas A&M University. Emery served as a turn judge at the men’s meet last week after having offici-ated the previous week at the women’s meet.
Adding to the excitement of the men’s meet was the presence of former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara Bush. The President awarded the medals in the 400 medley relay.
“It was wonderful to see. They were very cordial and the President was reaching out to everyone to shake hands,” remarked Emery, who conversed with the President and his wife while they were on the pool deck.
Auburn coach honored
The College Swim Coaches Association announced that Richard Quick, head coach of the Auburn Tigers, winners of the 2009 NCAA men’s title, has been named recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. CSCA President George Kennedy described Quick’s credentials as “unassailable.”
Quick has guided teams to 13 national titles and the 66-year-old is the first coach to win national titles at three schools: Auburn, Stanford and Texas.
During this season, Quick took a leave of absence from Auburn after being diagnosed with brain cancer. Assistant coach Brett Hawke assumed coaching duties in Quick’s absence.
The Wright way
Kevin Wright, Texas A&M diving coach and Bangor native, coached Aggie diver Eric Sehn to a third-place finish in the NCAA 1-meter diving competition. In the 3-meter diving, two of Wright’s divers scored in the finals.