Versatile Bears will pool talent

Posted Oct. 16, 2009, at 12:37 a.m.

The University of Maine women swimmers and divers travel to Northeastern Saturday for their opening racing of the 2009-10 season in competition against Northeastern and Central Connecticut.

“I am excited to bring the girls to swim against NU and CCSU,” said Susan Lizzotte, who assumed all coaching duties associated with both the men’s and the women’s teams at the school following the resignation last week of Walter “Skip” Nitardy, who was in his third year as the Black Bears coach.

Lizzotte had served as an assistant with both teams.

“We are sticking together as a team and we are excited for the debut,” Lizzotte said.

While Lizzotte indicated she has not made any changes in the training regimen set by Nitardy, she expressed her optimism in the ability to cross strokes she has seen in the squad.

“I am excited about our versatility,” Lizzotte said, explaining that Maine’s versatility allows her to move swimmers not only into races of various distances but also into different strokes.

In Saturday’s meet, the Bears will race the “long program” with stroke events at both the 100- and 200-yard distances and freestyle events in 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 distances. The individual medley is 200 yards and the relays are 400 free and 200-yard medley.

It will be a young Maine team racing Saturday as 17 of the 26 team members are first- and second-year college swimmers. Central Connecticut was voted unanimously as the premier team in the Northeast Conference preseason poll. And, Northeastern, coached by veteran Ray Coates and assistant Jodie Norton, announced earlier this week three additions to their coaching staff.

Both CCSU and Northeastern have Maine representation on their rosters. Shauna Lynch from Ellsworth swims breaststroke for CCSU and Jennyfer Roberts, a diver for NU and a captain, dived for Massabesic High.

Splashes

• Dara Torres, the 42-year-old U.S. sprinter who has won medals in five Olympic Games, underwent knee surgery recently. At this point, her plans for 2012 London Olympic Games are uncertain.

• Tara Nitardy, the daughter of Maine’s former coach, is a freshman swimmer at the University of Rhode Island. Nitardy was a standout competitor for John Bapst of Bangor in both the butterfly and in the 200 individual medley.

Another former area swimmer, Lindsey Snyder, continues to hold records at Central Connecticut. Snyder, a 2007 graduate of CCSU, is the school record holder in the 200 back (2:00.8) and 200 IM (2:08.3).

• U.S. Master’s Swimming established a record registration for the 2009 season, enrolling 50,000 swimmers for the first time. As of September, enrollment had jumped 11 percent over 2008 registrations. U.S. Master’s swimming, in addition to offering meets for competitive swimmers, offers open-water swims, triathlon training and fitness swimming.

• Husson University swimming coach Jeff Wren will offer a stroke technique clinic Sunday at 4 p.m. at Husson’s Webber Pool for master’s swimmers interested in developing their butterfly and breaststroke skills. More information is available by contacting Wren at 973-1098 or swimming@fc.husson.edu.

• Penn State opened the swim season with a convincing win over St. Bonaventure this week. Erin Thomas, a former area age group swimmer and a Bangor High standout swimmer, contributed the Nittany Lions sweep in the 200 backstroke with a 2:14.2 for third place. And, the second-year Penn State swimmer finished at 1:59 in the 200 freestyle.

bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

990-8275

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