ORONO, Maine — Nancy Sinatra sang, “These boots are made for walking.” Perhaps, the University of Maine swimmers may rewrite the refrain to “these shoes are made for swimming.”
Maine coach Susan Lizzotte trains her team with kick sets where the swimmers wear shoes each Monday following a weekend of racing. Lizzotte introduces variations in the shoe-kicking training regimen, including snorkels allowing for a preferred body swim position.
In the Black Bear wins recently over Bates College of Lewiston, UMaine swimmers swam impressively, particularly in a number of freestyle events.
Former Old Town High swimmer Rob Bickford won the 1,000-meter free (10 minutes, 18 seconds) for Maine with teammates Brent Williams of Brewer (10:22) and David Vittori (10:28) of South Berwick nabbing second and third.
In the women’s 1,000, Kayla Merchant from Bangor Christian, who drew commendation from Lizzotte for her swims earlier this month at the URI Invitational, raced an 11:06 for second behind teammate Kara Dubiel’s 10:56. Merchant split a 30.8 on the final 50, the fastest in the field.
“She is swimming amazingly well right now,” Lizzotte said of the sophomore.
Bickford slipped under 5 minutes in the 500 free at 4:57.9 and Joey Quinn of Bangor touched in 50 seconds in the 100 free, both strong first-semester, training-season swims.
Sergey Terrio swam a 29.9 fourth 50 in the 200 fly to swim by the field for first at 1:59. Teammate Cam Dwyer showed he can stretch his 100 fly skills to a 200 with a very competitive 2:00.9.
“It is encouraging to see strong second halves in the 200s,” Lizzotte noted.
Two frosh swimmers, Amber Murray from Dover-Foxcroft and Taylor Sharp from Canada, raced sharply with a 1:02.8 in the 100 back and a 28.7 in the 50 back, respectively.
“Taylor has amazing underwater pushoffs and Amber has trained primarily backstroke,” Lizzotte said. “Amber further displayed her development with a 2:18 200 back.”
La Salle University senior Brian Bickford of Ellsworth has swum fast during the first semester of racing for the Explorers, hitting 21.2 in the 50 free and 46.5 in the 100 free.
Nicola Mancini, an outstanding interscholastic diver for Falmouth High, has qualified for NCAA Division II Nationals as a frosh diver at Bentley. During her first semester of college diving, Mancini set a 3-meter Bentley record.
Sanford native Jenny Roberts, who competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials, raced a 2:02.8 200 butterfly for the University of New Hampshire to set a Wildcat pool record during her first semester in Durham. Roberts transferred to UNH from the University of Maryland after the Terps discontinued a number of athletic programs including swimming.
Emma Waddell, Bangor’s talented swimmer, sped to a championship-level split in the 400 free relay at the Penobscot Valley Conference Relay meet. Waddell clocked a 51.9 for the Rams, while MDI nipped the Rams, 3:50.7 to 3:50.9. Waddell anchored Bangor’s winning 200 medley relay with a 23.9.
Bangor’s David Smallwood also distinguished himself with an anchor split of 49 seconds, the only relay swimmer in the meet to eclipse 50 seconds.
Bangor won both PVC relay meets.