The incoming 28 swimmers and divers for the University of Maine Black Bears will feature four racers from coach David Ploch’s championship Old Town High team as well as swimmers from Arizona, California, Illinois, South Carolina, and Belgium.
Old Town’s Nick Gould, Jacob Ketch, and twins Nate and Drew St. Jean will join 11 other first- year competitors for the men.
“I have watched Nick mature as a swimmer. It is exciting to have him part of the program. Jacob is a sprinter who will have an immediate impact and the twins are raw with their best swimming to come. Having these four along with the others in the class is amazing,” UMaine swim coach Susan Lizzotte said.
“This men’s class is talented. We are going to be deeper in multiple events,” she added.
Two Californians, Jack McNamara and Kazue Temple, are both 200 individual medley swimmers who have raced in the 1-minute, 57-second range range as well recording sub minute 100 breaststrokes. Hayden Kasavicha (South Carolina) projects in the 400 individual medley (4:18) and 100 butterfly (52).
Eric Turner from Illinois will strengthen UMaine’s sprint freestyle (21.8 50 free, 47.4 100 free) . Andy Sprague of Massachusetts, with his limited swim experience and a 22.5 50 free, is “exciting to us,” Lizzotte noted.
Like the men, the incoming women are talented and geographically diverse.
Belgium’s Ines Khiyara is an international transfer from a college in Kentucky with impressive 100 and 200 yard breaststroke credentials (1:05 and 2:23). Maggie White of Duxbury, Massachusetts, whose swimming roots are in Australia, is a 200 and 500 freestyler (1:56 and 5:04). Emily Lund (1:54 and 5:03) from New Jersey is expected to train with White.
Lizzotte and her staff prioritized recruiting individual medley swimmers to extend the Black Bear’s versatility across stroke and freestyle events. Arizona’s Caroline Strolich enters as a quality 200 IMer (2:09) as well as a 4:39 400 IMer.
Returning to competitive swimming after studying at the University of Arizona is Libby Russell, a former swimmer for the long Reach Swim Club of Bath.
“Libby continues the great run we have had with Jay’s swimmers,” Lizzotte explained.
Long Reach is coached by former Black Bear sprinter Jay Morissette. Russell’s performances for LRSC included a 2:06 200 backstroke.
Another LRSC swimmer and recruit for 2016-17, Brittany Kaler, likely will train in the backstroke as well for UMaine in 2017-18.
Lizzotte is also adding Oakland’s Sophia Libby to UMaine’s middle distance events.
“Her drive for swimming has really intensified,” she said.
Old Town diver Kassidy Harriman and Belfast swimmers Jessica Clapp and Kaylen Ottman join the recruits from Maine.
“We always want to bring in Maine swimmers and divers to represent our university. They enter with a great foundation and we are able to bring them to another level,” LIzzotte said.
Tycz gains All-American honor
Brunswick’s talented Caitlyn Tycz has been named All-American in the 100 yard butterfly by the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. Tycz’s 53.6 placed her 19th among the nation’s fastest high school butterfly swimmers in 2016-17.
Junior Dakota Luther of Austin, Texas led the All American butterfly at 52.2. Tycz , who will compete for the University of Southern California in 2017-18, also earned NISCA Academic All American honors.
National coaches honore Maine teams
The National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association recently released the the 2016-17 Scholar Swimming and Diving teams. Kathy Cahill’s Brewer High girls’ team was one of 78 teams recognized by NISCA for earning the gold award (3.77) while the Ellsworth girls’ team (3.71) earned the silver award as did the Eagle boys’ team (3.66). The Old Town boys’ team (3.72) also received the silver.
LRSC swimmers heading to national meet
Five members of Morissette’s LRSC team have qualified for the YMCA Long Course Nationals scheduled for Aug. 1-4 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Representing LRSC will be Talia Jorgensen, Ann Tolan, Margie McLeod, Haily and Olivia Harper.