Phil Emery’s 42nd year of coaching at Bangor High opened Saturday with a win at the annual Penobscot Valley Conference Relay Carnival held at the University of Maine.
“I thought we did very well for this point of the season. We haven’t trained real hard, yet,” Emery said. “We have a good influx of freshman swimmers and we have a number of returning swimmers who have continued to swim since the season ended last year. The kids have matured in their swimming. This team will develop a personality and we will do all the things we need to do.”
The Ram mentor is emphasizing mechanics in practice while preparing the swimmers to transition to intense training. All swimmers are touching each of the four racing strokes daily and two days a week the mechanics of a stroke are highlighted.
Recently, Emery drew from his years as an earth science teacher and established learning centers for his team and the BHS girls squad. Emery, along with BHS girls coach Cindi Howard and BHS assistants Ritchie Palmer and Sam Barnett, each taught and coached a center. Centers included mechanics, starts and turns, and video.
The Bangor girls also won the PVC relay title.
Saturday, Emery’s boys host Presque Isle and then race Washington Academy of East Machias Tuesday.
“I think we need to swim the kids in their two primary events during these two meets and before we break for our vacation training,” he said. “It will become clearer where we are mechanically and where we are in our training and racing after seeing the kids compete. There are some things we can not determine in practice.”
Bangor’s 400 free relay strong
Howard’s girls team won the 13-team female relay carnival, nipping Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor by six points. The golds in the carnival were won by either the Rams or the Trojans.
However, it was the 400 freestyle relay, the final event, that created a stirring among the teams. Bangor’s anchor swimmer, freshman Emma Waddell, split a lightning-quick 52.9 seconds, four seconds faster than the next fastest split in the event. Her leg of 52.9 is a championship-season split and certainly suggests Howard’s squad will have an elite freestyle option.
Emery gets call to judge
Emery received notification recently that he has been selected to officiate at this year’s NCAA Division I men’s championships to be held at the University of Minnesota. Emery has worked the championship since 1986. This year he will serve as a turn judge.
Bears avenge loss to Bates
At Bates College in Lewiston Saturday, the UMaine men “loaded it up” and defeated the Bobcats after Bates upset Maine a year ago.
“The game was on this year. They didn’t like losing last year. They were ready to swim,” said Maine swim coach Susan Lizzotte. “We continue to receive real good swims from Jeremy (Bender).”
Winning three events, the 1,000 free, 200 fly and 200 back, Bender turned in a regular-season best time in the backstroke (2:02.1).
Maine’s freestyle depth in the distance events continues to develop as the Black Bears finished first, second and third in both the 1,000 free and 500. They were aided by Robbie Bickford (Old Town) in 5:02.5 and Brent Williams (Brewer) in 5:02.9, who turned in personal records in the 500 free.
Tim Smith, diving against a quality field, Lizzotte noted, set personal records in both the 1- and 3-meter events.
The women set the tone for their win over Bates, Maine’s coach said, with a win in the 400 medley relay.
“The splits were good and that is how we want to start a meet,” Lizzotte said.
Personal records for the women included one turned in by Orono’s Lauren Dwyer with a 24.5 relay split in the 50 free. Teammate Shannon Bender turned in a PR in the 100 back and became the fourth swimmer to slide under the 2-minute mark in the 200 free with her 1:59 swim.