Husson women exceed expectations

Posted Dec. 10, 2009, at 9:44 p.m.

The Husson University women’s swim team exceeded coach Jeff Wren’s expectations during last weekend’s Greater Northeast Athletic Conference two-day meet at Simmons College in Boston.

“We saw a combination of new contributors and new contributions from expected contributors,” Wren said.

The Eagles, who placed three swimmers in finals in last year’s meet, scored 12 swimmers in this season’s GNAC. A year ago, Husson tallied 30 points and this year the Eagles totaled 110 points and finished fifth, four points from fourth in the six-team field.

Husson’s Amanda Mason turned in a negative split in the 200 backstroke (swimming the second 100 faster than the first 100) and won the 200 backstroke, which attracted approximately 100 swimmers. At the halfway mark of the eight-length race, Mason was swimming in third, three seconds behind the leader. However, the Dexter native recorded the fastest final four lengths in the race to win a gold for Husson.

Mason also set school records in the 500 free and the 1,000 free. Teammate Erin Doucette of Hampden lowered her school record in the 100 back. Wren’s swimmers also established records in the 400 free relay and the 400 medley relay where both Mason and Doucette contributed.

Wren noted there were many personal records swum by members of his team and praised the efforts of Mason, Kaitlyn Theriault and Samantha Tanguay in a demanding meet schedule.

“They swam an unbelievably demanding meet program of events,” he said. “In my opinion, the meet tried to get too many events in too short a period of time with a trials and finals format.”

The Eagles are idle until January.

“It is encouraging that we have a lot of the team looking at New England championship meet cut off times and saying that they can get there,” Wren said.

Bangor on target

“It’s nice to get here and to have the kids swim regular events,” said Bangor High boys swim coach Phil Emery on the eve of tonight’s dual-meet season opener against Foxcroft Academy at 6 p.m. at Husson’s pool.

The Rams were victors in last week’s Penobscot Valley Conference Relay Carnival.

“Considering the amount of training we have done, we swam very well,” Emery said. “The veteran swimmers swam well and the lane six swimmers from last year and the year before continue to show very good development. This week I will use most of the swimmers in their best events and get a measure of where they are.”

Bowdoin draws huge field

Bowdoin College hosts the Bowdoin Open, the largest swimming meet in Maine, tonight, Saturday and Sunday. A total of 701 swimmers resulting in 4,953 entries from 25 teams will race. The field includes swimmers from respected New England swim clubs such as Little Rhody, coached by former Providence College and United States Military Academy coach John O’Neil. A year ago, Little Rhody won the women’s division of the meet.

Sixteen-year-old Blake Zeiger (4:56 500 free) and sisters Brooke, age 13, and Lizzy, age 11, (5:17 and 5:33 500 free, respectively) swim for Little Rhody, but have Maine connections. Their mother Whitney (Leeman) Zeiger, who grew up in Bucksport, was elected to the Black Bear Hall of Fame in 1992 following an outstanding swimming career at the University of Maine.

And, their father, Peter Zeiger, swam for the Black Bears under coach Alan Switzer at UMaine, graduating in 1982. Zeiger, who continues to train, also is entered in the 500 free in the men’s division of the Bowdoin Open with a 4:56.

Talented local swimmers Lauren and Cameron Dwyer from the Canoe City Swim Club along with Moriah Reading will compete as will Downeast Swim Club’s Chelsey Curran and Cecelia McEachern, both of whom have impressive resumes in the backstroke and breaststroke, respectively.

UMaine vs. Bates Saturday

Coach Susan Lizzotte’s University of Maine Black Bear swimmers and divers return to racing Saturday at 1 p.m., in a home meet against the Bates College Bobcats. The Black Bears, idle since competing in the three-day Boston University Invitational in late November, have displayed improvement since Lizzotte assumed the interim coaching duties in October.

Several of the swimmers already have recorded personal collegiate bests. The Bates men are 1-1 with a win over Trinity College and a loss to Wesleyan. The Bates women defeated both opponents.

The Bobcat women have raced a 1:53 200-medley relay, suggesting there is skill and speed in each of the strokes while Bates has also displayed freestyle strength with multiple swimmers in the 2-minute 200 freestyle range. The men have shown backstroke power (55-100 back and 1:59 200 back) as well as quickness in the 50 free (22.3) and the 100 butterfly (53 seconds).

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