James Wells, one of Maine’s elite interscholastic swimmers a year ago, raced at the prestigious NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of Minnesota recently.
Competing for tradition-rich Indiana University, Wells swam the butterfly leg (21.4 seconds) on the 200 medley relay, where the Hoosiers finished 16th at 1:27.1. He also swam the fly in the 400 medley relay (48.3), an event where IU finished 17th in 3:11.4.
The frosh from Bath, a qualifier for the meet in the 100 backstroke, swam a 47.6 to finish 27th. Wells’ teammate, Eric Ress, nabbed the silver medal in the event (45.1).
The Hoosiers claimed 18th in the four-day meet won by California.
Another swimmer with a Maine connection — Matt Rickett, a graduate from Deering High of Portland, competed for Boston University in the 100 butterfly (47.6) to finish 36th.
This was the BU senior’s second race at the NCAA Division I championships. In 2009, Rickett finished 47th in the 100 butterfly. At BU, Rickett is the Terrier record holder in the 50 free and the 100 butterfly.
Record set, record snapped
At the NCAA Division I championship, an American short-course (25 yards) record was set in the 50 free when Nate Adrian from California sprinted the distance in 18.6.
Meanwhile, at the NCAA Division III championship meet, a record unrivaled in NCAA championships, 31 consecutive team titles for Kenyon College, ended at last week’s meet.
Denison University, swimming in the 400 free relay, the meet’s final event, needed to finish third in the event to claim the team title. After Kenyon touched to win the event, Dension nipped Emory by .32 seconds for the bronze medal and became the first school since 1979 other than Kenyon to win the team crown.
Denison tallied 500.5 points to squeak by Kenyon’s 499.5 points.
Maine teams recognized
The national sports tracking information agency, Avidasports, has recognized the University of Maine swimming teams, men’s and women’s, in its 2011 Team Performance and Improvement Rankings.
Through the use of a metric, Avidasports measures team growth and performance improvement. The improvement metric measures championship performances when compared to in-season performance.
Coach Susan Lizzotte’s Black Bear women finished fifth in the rankings with a 103.7 percent improvement, while the men finished ninth with an improvement rate of 104 percent. Northern Colorado received the first-place improvement ranking for women. Binghamton earned the top spot for men.
Colby College’s men swimmers also were recognized by Avidasports, ranking second behind Clarkson in the NCAA Division III improvement rankings.