Swimmers and divers from the Penobscot Valley Conference during the first third of the interscholastic swim season have given indication that when championship season opens, there will be fast swimming from local teams.
This week female and male teams from PVC schools are previewed, including teams from Bangor, Brewer, John Bapst Memorial, Mount Desert Island, Orono and Old Town.
Bangor girls coach Cindy Howard, in her seventh year at BHS, has another large squad with 50 swimmers and divers.
“My goal is to qualify as many for the state meet as we can and to be ready for the PVC [Championships],” Howard explained.
Earlier this week, her team competed in the competitive Morse Invitational and finished third.
“I was really pleased with the swims. Overall, the girls swam well.” Howard noted.
Senior Eliza Woodcock, a scorer in last year’s state meet, has the versatility to swim both the butterfly and the backstroke in addition to the 200 IM, while classmate Brianna Theriault joins Woodcock in the backstroke. Following her IM race in the Morse Invitational, Theriault projects to be a competitive entry in the IM as well. Another senior, Zaria Kacer, competes in the freestyle while two first-year swimmers, both sophomores, Sadie Redman and Jenny Dickson, have the attention of Howard based on their early-season sprinting. In fact, Redman already is a state meet qualifier in the 50 free. Freshman Mary Wickes has been a contributor in both the backstroke and breaststroke and also can race freestyle as well.
The frontline racer for BHS thus far this season has been Mariah Reading.
“She has done a real nice job,” Howard said of the freshman who races all strokes and distances.
Megan Rowe, “a really good diver,” according to Howard, leads another strong diving entry which includes Ashley Higgins, Julie Clifford and Chelsey Hardy.
Bangor’s boys “seem to cover all the events very well,” coach Phil Emery remarked the evening after his boys claimed second in the Morse Invitational.
“The truth is I am trying not to overthink it. We basically do what we do. We teach fundamentals and challenge the kids in workouts and come back and teach fundamentals,” Emery explained.
Joey Quinn returns as the Class A 500 free champion while another of the Rams’ frontline racers, Taylor Wickes, appears to be recovering from a knee injury as he raced a 57-second 100 back recently.
“We have many juniors who are progressing steadily. They are going to be good swimmers. It is a question when they will take the step,” Emery stated.
In the meantime, Tristan Herbold, Sam Barnett, Isaac Walton and Ian Cameron are all making contributions for the Rams.
Kathy Cahill, entering her 21st year as Brewer coach, has 49 swimmers and divers. Fourteen boys and 35 girls wear the black and orange of Brewer. Cahill is committed to teaching her inexperienced competitive swimmers, the majority of whom have no racing experience, the techniques of each of the four strokes and developing the foundation from which the swimmers can train.
Additionally, accomplished swimmers such as Jessica Hodsdon, the Class A breaststroke champion, and Brent Williams, a well rounded racer, provide the leadership and the model for the younger swimmers. Cahill particularly has been pleased with the development of Mark Moellentin.
“He is very open to coaching and pays attention to the details of technique,” she said.
First-year diver Rachel Carson has impressed Brewer’s coach with her grace on the board.
John Bapst, according to 18-year coach Gary Isherwood, has the largest team of his Bapst tenure with 15 boys. Thirty- eight girls comprise the female squad.
“We are a young team with many kids who have never swum competitively. As a coach, we are teaching first and coaching second,” Isherwood said.
With a young team, Isherwood, in addition to teaching strokes and the components of a workout, targets confidence.
“I explain to the kids dual meets are quizzes,” he said. “We find out what we need to do to help you and to get you ready for championship meets.”
Experienced performers for the Crusaders include Tara Nitardy, Ian Grover, Corey Isherwood and Mary Isherwood.
Mount Desert Island High returns 13 swimmers from the 2007-08 state championship boys team.
“Our boys are strong and deep,” remarked Tony DeMuro, head coach.
“We have kids chasing kids who are going fast. It is a motivator,” DeMuro commented when explaining his team’s ability to swim fast across several events and distances.
“I believe in having versatile swimmers. If you graduate from my program, you are going to be able to swim all four strokes. That is part of high school swimming. I do not specialize the kids.” he continued.
Among the returning racers is junior Ian Carbone, who earlier this week set a Bath YMCA pool record in the 100 breaststroke at 1:00.6.
“It has been a while since we have had a junior as strong.” DeMuro reflected.
Junior Ty Onda and seniors Patrick and Michael Breen, like Carbone, have the experience and the versatility to race successfully in relays and in a variety of events.
“Our girls are swimming well and they are continuing to develop,” DeMuro said. Chelsey Curran (56.9 100 free) and Allison Yow are two of the experienced swimmers on the young 27-member MDI team.
“Our focus is going fast at the end,” DeMuro stated.
Old Town, coached by David Ploch, who returns to coaching following retirement several years ago from coaching, competes in Class B as do John Bapst, MDI, Orono and Old Town. Previously, Ploch coached several state championship teams at Old Town.
The Old Town boys have one of the PVC’s well-rounded swimmers in junior Robert Bickford. Bickford’s versatility allows Ploch to move him to various freestyle events as well as to the individual medley and backstroke. For the girls, Charlotte Kenneway and Elizabeth Bailey have been competitive for the young team in the early-season dual meets.
Orono opens its 30th year under coach Gary Theriault.
“I am very optimistic about both teams,” Theriault said.
Captains Patrick Egenhofer and Kirby Kelly provide the leadership for the Orono boys.
“Pat is an incredibly hard worker,” his coach said.
Kelly, a diver, “has it all,” Theriault maintained when speaking of Kelly’s ability to execute both a six-dive and an 11-dive program.
Freshman Carson Foley, a breaststroker, and Cam Dwyer, a backstroker, have been impact contributors to the team as has Texas transfer Chase Collett, who will swim fly for Orono but who can swim other events as well.
Junior Lauren Dwyer, winner of the 50 free in the New England Interscholastic Championship a year ago, offers Orono an elite racer in the 50 free as well as in backstroke and breaststroke. Freshman freestyler Caroline Tozier, sophomores Ruby and Veronica Wallace Ewing, Blaise Collett, captain Hillary Devine and diver Julie Ann LaBreque form the nucleus of the Orono girls team.
ä Jeff Wren, swim coach at Husson University, has announced that Husson will host the first Eagles’ Masters Meet Jan. 25 at the Webber Pool on the Husson campus.
The meet, which begins at noon, offers events at 50-, 100- and 200-yard distances in all stroke events and freestyle races in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 as well as 200 and 400 IMs.
A fundraiser for Husson Eagle swimming, the meet remains open to all adult swimmers, including those not registered with an association.
For further information contact Wren (973-1098) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ä Georgetown University swim coach Steve Cartwright, mentioned in last week’s Lane Lines, recently spoke to the John Bapst swim teams. Cartwright, a graduate of John Bapst, delivered an inspirational message to the teams, according to a Bapst official. Cartwright continues to hold records at John Bapst.
ä Former area age-group swimmer Erin Thomas, a member of the Penn State swim team, recorded speedy times at the Ohio State Invitational in December. Thomas hit 24.07 in the 50 free and a 1:53 in the 200 freestyle.