Bath’s Wells holding his own in Big Ten swimming

Posted Nov. 24, 2011, at 6:36 p.m.

Former Maine interscholastic elite swimmer James Wells of Bath, swimming as a sophomore for Indiana University, holds the third-fastest 100 backstroke time in the Big Ten (48.7 seconds) after several weeks of dual-meet action.

Most recently, Wells and the Hoosiers (4-2) defeated Penn State and the University of Virginia. In the meet, he won the 100 backstroke and led off the 200 free relay (1:22.7) with a 20.6 lap. Wells also swam in the winning 400 medley relay (3:16).

Bangor’s Erin Thomas, swimming for the Penn State women against Indiana and Virginia, raced a 23.5 on PSU’s winning 200 free relay (1:32.4) and recorded a 51.9-second 100 free and turned in a 1:52.5 clocking in the 200 free. Both teams defeated Penn State.

BEARS INTENSIFY TRAINING

Coach Susan Lizzotte’s University of Maine Black Bears return to racing Dec. 2 in the University of Rhode Island Invitational.

During their break in racing the last two weeks, the Maine swimmers have intensified their training, moving to 25 meters at the Wallace Pool rather than Maine’s usual training distance of 25 yards. The Bears will train at 50 meters during their semester-break training camp in Florida.

During the first half of the dual-meet season, the Black Bear women have swum particularly fast in the sprint events, led by Orono’s Lauren Dwyer and freshman Naja Harvey.

Meanwhile, the men continue to develop freestylers in both the short- and long-distance events with local freestylers Joey Quinn (Bangor), Rob Bickford (Old Town) and Brent Williams (Brewer) all contributing.

BOYS VS. GIRLS IN MASS.

The racing waters became warm, even hot, in Massachusetts Interscholastic swimming and diving recently.

At the southern division girls swimming and diving championship, a meet record was set in the 50-yard freestyle. The record was set by a male racer, not a female.

According to a recent report in the New York Times, eight boys qualified for the girls state championship 50-yard freestyle held at MIT earlier this month. However, in the 50 free championship finals, a female swimmer nipped the male winner of the southern division, 23.8 to 23.9, and in doing so met the All-American interscholastic time standard.

Boys are allowed to compete on the girls teams in Massachusetts if their school does not offer the sport for males.

TERPS’ SWIMMING IN DANGER

The University of Maryland administration offered an option for the Terrapins to retain swimming and diving (men and women), two of nine sports targeted for elimination as of June 30, 2012, according to a report released earlier this week from the president’s office.

The sports set for termination, including track and field, have been given until July 2012 to endow their budget. In his announcement, the Maryland president said two senior development officials would be assigned to assist the sports in generating their endowment to match the equivalent of eight years of expenses.

USS swimming reports Michel Phelps, winner of 16 Olympic medals, is asking swim enthusiasts to support Maryland’s drive to retain swimming and diving. Phelps trains at North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

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