Members of the Longreach Swim Club of the Bath YMCA continued the team’s tradition of competitive racing at national meets with impressive performances at the YMCA Long Course Nationals on July 31 to Aug. 4 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“It really came together well,” LRSC coach Jay Morissette said.
LRSC scored 48 points and finished 29th in the team standings. New Jersey’s Somerset County YMCA won the team competition. Individually, Morissette’s swimmers scored in numerous events highlighted by outstanding backstroke races from 15-year-old Olivia Harper.
Harper finished fifth in the 50-meter backstroke (30.2 seconds) and fifth in the 100-meter back (1:04.1). Harper’s 100 backstroke time missed the standard for the Olympic Trials by seven-tenths of a second. However, Morissette acknowledged qualifying for the 2020 Trials has become a goal for the young swimmer as she further develops as a backstroker and competes at national qualifying meets.
Harper also scored in the 200 backstroke at 2:22.8 for 24th place. Harper’s backstroke swims are all Maine records.
“We knew she was capable of fast swimming. She shows the classic signs of swimmers who really do well at fast meets. Her underwater push offs and break outs are amazing,” Morissette said.
Earning his first finals qualification at a national meet, Brian Hess, a member of the Brunswick Class of 2018 scored 13th in the 50-meter breaststroke (30.5) .
Ann Tolan, who will compete for the Penn State Nittany Lions next year, finished 12th in the 100-meter free at 58.8 and 18th in the 50-meter free at 27.
LRSC scored in four relays led by an 11th-place finish in the 200-free relay. Tolan and Harper joined Talia Jorgensen and Margie McLeod for a 1:49.6 finish and then swam together in the 400-free relay at 4:09.2 and the 800 free at 9:17.2, a Maine record.
In the 200 medley relay Olivia and Haily Harper, along with Jorgensen and Tolan, finished in 2:03.2 for 17th and a Maine record. Competing in the 400-medley relay, the team finished with a Maine record of 4:35.8
Since there are no 50-meter pools in the Maine, Morissette constructs a training regiment that will prepare his swimmers for competition against swimmers who train and compete long course.
“We just have to work harder to take off small amounts of time. We have to match their intensity since we can not match their training volume,” he said.
For example, LRSC’s preparation at all levels prioritizes proper closing and finishes at the wall.
“Throughout the meet, our swimmers consistently had the best race finishes and touches,” Morissette added..
Eight swimmers who, for all or part of their swimming experience are or have been affiliated with LRSC, have raced in the United States Olympic Trials.
Morissette intends to continue to prepare his swimmers for all levels of competition even if it requires establishing 50-meter lanes in a Bath area pond as he did prior to the Greensboro meet.
“These national meet experiences are enormously important. It builds off itself and provides an opportunity for our swimmers to see they can compete at the national level,” he said.
NOTEBOOK: Swimmers from the Downeast YMCA of Ellsworth also competed in Greensboro. Camden Holmes, the Maine state champ in the 100 and 200 free, recorded a 24.3 in the 50- meter free to score 14th. Ava Sealander finished 17th at 28.7 in the 50-meter butterfly. Holmes, Ritchie Mathews, Isaac Weaver and Sam Pelletier raced the 200 medley relay in 1:53.1 and finished 22nd. …An expansion of the Greensboro aquatic facility is being planned with the addition of a fourth pool with five 50-meter lanes and 10 adjustable 25 meter or yard lanes. The projected opening of the addition is set for 2019.