While the University of New England swimming and diving team defeated Husson University last Saturday, the young Eagles’ progress continued to soar.
Thirty best times of the year, including eight best times in the 100 freestyle and three school records, all in the UNE meet, offer testimony to the maturation of the Eagles.
“We are at the stage of development where large improvements come when swimmers begin to figure things out and put the races together,” Husson coach Jeff Wren noted.
Records in the 1,000 freestyle from Kaitlyn Theriault, the 50 breaststroke from Meg Call and in the 200 free relay (Theriault, Erin Doucette, Chelsea Michaud and Amanda Mason) continued the record-setting trend established last year when Wren assumed the coaching responsibilities for Husson’s young team.
“I am very pleased with the manner in which we responded Saturday. The meet last year against the University of New England, we felt the least good about. They were a far more experienced team. They are still a very good team with talented swimmers, but this year we did not see evidence of the psychological barrier which may have been present with us in last year’s meet.”
Another measure of progress for the Husson team appears on the roster of New England Championship qualifiers.
“Last year in January we had one qualifier. Already this year, we have three and several knocking on the door of qualifying,” Wren explained.
Wren commended Mason and her 200 backstroke race and win.
“It was a nicely-swum race with smart pacing in both the first and second half of the race.”
Former John Bapst Memorial High swimmer Ryan Trafton, a sophomore for the Colby Mule swimmers, has turned in two impressive butterfly swims in the first two meets of the season. In the Mules’ recent win over UNE, Trafton won the 50 fly (24.8) and, in the opening meet of the season against Amherst, a team which finished fifth in last year’s NCAA Division III nationals, Trafton hit 55.9 in the 100 butterfly.
Switzer, PSU start strong
Alan Switzer, a 2001 inductee in the University of Maine Athletic Hall of Fame, begins his 19th year at Plymouth State University as women’s coach. Switzer, who also coached 19 years at the University of Maine where his teams won two New England championships, has led PSU to a 2-0 start.
Hodsdon, Thomas excelling
Jessica Hodsdon, who swam for Kathy Cahill’s Brewer Witches, has the attention of the Northeast Conference.
Hodsdon, a freshman at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., ranks No. 1 in the conference in the 100 breaststroke at 1:07.8 and she owns the second fastest time in the conference in the 200 breaststroke (2:30.1). In Bentley’s recent win over the UMass Dartmouth, Hodsdon set her second school record of the season with a 31.0 in the 50 breaststroke.
Earlier in the season, Hodsdon established the school record in the 100 breaststroke in her team’s only loss (3-1) of the season against LeMoyne.
Bangor’s Erin Thomas continues her contributions to the 22nd-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions freestyle corps.. The sophomore raced a 1:54.3 200 free and a 52.7 400 free relay split in her team’s loss against 11th-ranked Virginia.
Suit filed vs. Kansas
In a legal case which could have implications for collegiate athletics, the Lawrence Journal reports that a former Kansas University swimmer who was a 1980 Olympian has filed a Title IX against KU. The suit alleges that KU does not offer adequate competition for men. According to the suit, 51 fewer KU men competed in varsity athletics in 2007-08 than did females.
Erin Buzuvis, a Western New England College associate law professor who studies Title IX cases, claims the suit may be the first of this type filed.
The National Federation of State High School Associations, the governing body for interscholastic athletics nationally, has determined the “high-tech swim suit” is no longer a legal suit for high school racers.
“These high-tech suits had fundamentally altered the sport and had become more similar to equipment rather a uniform,” said Rebecca Oakes, NFHS assistant director and representative to the swimming and diving rules committee. “The rules of swimming have prohibited always the use or wearing of items that would aid in the swimmer’s speed and/or buoyancy. The high-tech suits and styles had evolved to a point where there was little, if any, compliance with these basic rules.”
The high-tech suit has been debated at all levels of swimming, both nationally and internationally, as performances from swimmers racing in the “high-tech suit” often exceed anticipated, projected and even imagined performances when compared to a racer’s historical performances and to a racer’s training schedule.