Approximately 20 years ago, Bob Hale worked as an assistant coach with Bangor High swimming. Saturday, he travels with the Greely High Rangers to Bangor to race the Bangor boys and girls in an 11 a.m. meet at Husson University’s pool.

This is Hale’s 18th season coaching Greely High.

“We are coming to swim Bangor and go after them. [Bangor coach] Phil [Emery]runs a classy program and I like my kids to see the Bangor way of doing things,” Hale said.

“For us this is a team experience. Most of our other dual meets are 15 minutes away. Traveling to Bangor gives us a team experience and then we eat after the meet with Bangor. The kids get to know one another,” he added.

Last year, Hale’s Rangers finished second in the Class B boys state meet to the speedy Mount Desert Island High team and the girls also finished second in the state meet behind McAuley of Portland.

The Rangers are 2-0 heading into Thursday’s meet with Falmouth. “We have swum well, but have not gone full strength. We will go full strength against Bangor, “ Hale stated.

The swim program at Greely High attracts 1 in 9 students from grades 9-12. This year, 53 girls and 32 boys race for the Rangers.

Impressive efforts

Three swimmers who will be racing in the Penobscot Valley Conference this season recorded impressive performances in the Bowdoin Open last weekend.

Ellsworth’s Brian Batson, swimming for the Downeast YMCA, won the 200 free (1 minute, 45 seconds), claimed third in the 50 free (21.9) and third in the 100 butterfly (53.8). In addition, the senior at Ellsworth High swam a 4:13 400 individual medley and a 1:58.7 200 butterfly.

Mariah Reading, competing for the Bangor YMCA, scored in the finals in several events. In the 100 breaststroke, the freshman at Bangor High finished third at 1:09.4 and third in 200 breaststroke at 2:30.5. She earned fourth in the 100 free (54.7) and fifth in the 200 free (1:59.3) and in the 200 individual medley 2:16.

Brewer’s Jessica Hodsdon, racing for the Bangor YMCA, touched in 1:08.8 in the 100 breaststroke for second place.

Records falling

Managing and updating the world swim record board this year has been consuming for the record keepers. With the recent record performances at the European Short Course Championships held in Croatia, 105 world records have been established in 2008.

Phil Whitten, executive director of the College Swim Coaches Association, has researched the number of records set in the previous five Olympics. His research revealed a high of 33 records in 2000 and a low of five in 1996 with an average for 19 for the five. In fact, the recent rewriting of the world records has erased all pre-21st century swim records, according to Whitten’s research.

The continued record-setting performances in Croatia has only intensified the calls internationally and nationally for FINA ( governing body for international swimming) to regulate swimsuit design. The advances in suit design have resulted in the manufacturing of compression suits, which alter the racer’s body position in the water.

Palmer family tradition

Eric Palmer is the third generation from his family to coach with the Bangor YMCA Barracudas. His grandfather, the late Norman Palmer, in addition to officiating age group, high school, and college meets, coached for several years the Bangor YMCA age-group team.

Eric’s father, Ritchie, who swam for the Barracudas as an age-grouper, assisted with the Y team. Ritchie assists with Bangor High swimming.

Now Eric, who as an age-grouper swam for the Barracudas before a successful swimming career at Bangor High, Dalhousie University, and UMaine, serves as the head coach for the Bangor YMCA team.