“I felt like they had the time of their life. They could not wait for the next swimmer to race and to see their performance,” said Suzie Lizzotte, interim head coach of UMaine swimming and diving, commenting on her team’s performances at the America East Championships.
The Black Bears established six school records at the meet. Senior Meag Fisher set records in the 100 butterfly (57.7 seconds) and in the 200 butterfly (2:07).
“Meag had a tremendous regular season. Her championship followed her regular season. I was not surprised,” Lizzotte said.
As a matter of fact, Fisher’s 200 fly record erased the 1996 record set by Lizzotte when she competed for UMaIne and coach Jeff Wren.
Three records came from Jennifer Trodden.
“I knew she had it in her. Racing at night, she has amazing swims,” Lizzotte stated.
Trodden’s 100 breaststroke (1:05), eclipsed the previous record of 1:06.6. In the 200 breaststroke, Trodden established a Maine standard twice at the championships. In the trials, she raced a 2:24.4, nearly three seconds faster than the school record she had set during the dual-meet season. Then, at night, she raced faster, 2:21.8 to lower the record.
Trodden and Fisher each claimed records in the 200 individual medley. Trodden, who swam in heat three in the trials, finished at 2:08.6, seven tenths faster than Maine’s record. Teammate Fisher, swimming in heat 4, touched at 2:08.4 to set the record. However, at night, Trodden lowered the mark again, finishing at 2:06.6.
“That was kind of a surprise. 2:06 is pretty quick,” Lizzotte noted.
Jeremy Bender toppled the oldest Black Bear men’s record when he recorded a 4:07.5 400 individual medley, breaking the 1978 record of Don Winant (4:08.6).
“He is tough in the pool. He is tough in the classroom as a student and he is tough when he races. He works extremely hard,” Lizzotte said.
Bender’s splits included a 56.4 100 butterfly leg, a 1:03.2 backstroke leg, a 1:11 breaststroke, and a 56.8 freestyle.
The men’s 1650 freestyle record (16:09) set in 1980 by Chuck Martin remains. However, Yuri Chornobil, a freshman for UMaine, challenged the record with his 16:11 performance.
“I would say pretty close to 90 percent of our swims were best times with the majority being career bests,” Lizzotte added.
“We started Thursday [first day of AE] with a great opening women’s 800 free relay leg from Kara Dubiel [1:54]. And, the guys had great swims in the 800 free relay, too. Andy Meehan started us with a 1:46. When you start off in the relay with good swims, you know it is going to be OK. We just let it roll from there and it continued through the meet.”
At both the men’s and the women’s America East championships, the Black Bears scored more points than last year. Lizzotte acknowledged that following being named interim head coach, she changed the training regiment.
“We did a lot of different types of training,” she said. “Our training became more specialized and individualized. The distance did a lot of pace work, the sprinters worked on changing speeds and the IM’ers worked on the second half of an IM. We became more event specific in our training.”
Maine’s interim coach recognized the benefits of the full season lifting program as well.
A year ago, Maine was the only team at AE not to compete in the Lazer racing suit. This year at AE, Maine raced in the Lazer.
“The Lazer suit made a difference. I do not know the impact swimming wise, but knowing that they were competing like everyone else was a confidence boost for our team.”
As a matter of fact, other conference coaches commented to Lizzotte on her teams’ performance.
“They noted our enthusiasm and our team unity and energy. We proved to people the Black Bears are back.”
Colby records fast times
Among the speedy races by Colby’s men swimmers at the New England Small College Swim Championships last weekend were the 50-yard performances of Ben Gross (20.9 50 free), Mason Roberts (26.7 50 breaststroke) and Ryan Trafton (23.3 50 butterfly). As an interscholastic swimmer, Trafton swam for John Bapst Memorial.
Meehan sets Wheaton records
Mount Desert’s Iris Meehan, a senior at Wheaton College in Norton, Ma., established two school records at her team’s conference meet. In the 50 backstroke, Meehan clocked 28.2 and finished fourth in the 100 back (1.00.5). Wheaton finished third in the meet.