The Husson University women’s swim team opens its season Saturday in a meet at West Hartford, Conn., against St. Joseph College.
“It’s a good place to get a start to the season, set some season benchmarks, and get some early-season times,” said second-year Husson swim coach Jeff Wren.
The meet, which features 100-yard races in every event, also is expected to attract swimmers from teams including Regis, Norwich and Western Connecticut.
“It was great meet to open our season a year ago. It is a seeded meet, which is a good way to begin the competitive season. We are looking forward to getting started,” Wren said.
The Eagles have 21 swimmers and only one senior, Bangor’s Christy Ames, who serves as a co-captain along with junior Kaitlyn Theriault from Glen Allen, Va.
“Certainly, we are a bit bigger in squad size than a year ago and there is considerably less difference between our veterans and our new swimmers. Overall, we are a bit better already,” Wren said.
Included among the veterans are two returning New England Championship meet qualifiers from last year’s team, Erin Doucette, a sophomore from Hampden, and Theriault.
While Doucette and Theriault are experienced swimmers in several different events, not all of the Eagles have extensive competitive swimming backgrounds, Wren noted.
“That is the charm of this setting,” he said. “There is an opportunity for inexperienced swimmers to develop. It is obvious they appreciate the opportunity.
“Our basic instruction has been done. We have an understanding of the clock and relating the clock to effort. We have done a fair amount of teaching, particularly in the area of body streamlining . We have a group that wants to do more and wants to work,” he added.
Maine men open tonight
“I like to have our swimmers swim back-to-back days. That is what they have to do at the end of the year in the championship meets,” explained UMaine swim coach Susan Lizzotte, who is directing the Black Bears following the unexpected resignation earlier this month of head coach Walter Nitardy.
The Maine men open their season Friday night at Bryant University and then visit Boston University Saturday. The Black Bear women opened their season last week with a win against Central Connecticut and a loss to Northeastern. They also compete at Bryant and BU this week.
“Our swimmers must stay focused and remain open to lineup changes,” Lizzotte said, explaining the challenge presented by early-season, back-to-back competitions. “We have stayed with our training patterns and have not adjusted them for this weekend.
“The men cannot wait to race. They are very, very excited. As a coach, I am always excited to see the first swims of the season. I will be looking for leadership from the upperclassmen and will be anxious to see our first-year swimmers in a college race,” Lizzotte said.
Bangor’s Eliza Woodcock made her college debut last week for the Black Bears, swimming the 200 butterfly.
Based on early training, a strength of the Black Bear men projects to be the ability of the swimmers to change events and distances, according to Lizzotte.
Leading the BU men is Deering High graduate Matt Rickett, who last year became the first NCAA Division I qualifier from BU in 27 years. He recorded a time of 46.4 seconds in the l00-yard butterfly for the 27th fastest time in the nation last season. Another Deering graduate, Konrad Lech, swims for Bryant.
The Maine women can be expected to swim with more confidence in their second weekend of competition, Lizzotte said. She also noted that there were encouraging swims from the Black Bears last weekend.
In fact, sophomore Grace Barnett of Bangor, “swam some of the best races she has done in her college career,” Lizzotte said.
Lizzotte also mentioned the quality of Samantha Graham’s diving on both the 1- and 3-meter boards last week as a measure of her continued development.
· Husson’s first home meet of season Oct. 31 will be broadcast on tape delay by students from the New England School of Communications. Coordinated by Thomas Branch and produced by Keith Bickford along with NESCOM students and faculty, the broadcast of Husson’s meet offers, according to Bickford, “a new frontier.
“We are always trying new things in production and gaining new experiences,” he said.
· On Sunday, Husson will be the site of Haunted Hat USA-S Meet hosted by the Hurricane Swim Club. Open to all age groups, the meet is expected to attract more than 100 competitors from eight teams.
To open the 2009-10 season, test your knowledge of swimming history: Name the backstroker (considered by the some the greatest of all time) who at the time of her death in 1927 was engaged to Ed Sullivan, longtime television variety show host.
Also: Name the famous female swimmer from Roman history who escapes her captors and swims to freedom across the Tiber River.
Answer to question one is Sybil Bauer and the answer to question two is Cloelia. Both questions were drawn from the Swimming Hall of Fame timeline of female swimming history.