The University of Maine swimmers and divers compete beginning Thursday evening in the 2011 America East Championship scheduled for the Germantown (Md.) Indoor Swim Center. The AE Championship continues through Sunday.

The facility, open 14 hours a day, seven days a week for 50 weeks a year, includes 10 25-yard racing lanes and 1-, 3-, 5-, 7½-, and 10-meter diving facilities. In addition to the competitive pool, Germantown also offers a recreational pool and a leisure pool.

The Maine men enter the championship well trained and well tapered and rested.

“I think this has been one of the best dual-meet seasons the men have had in many years,” Black Bear coach Susan Lizzotte said. The men swam numerous personal records during the dual-meet season and as a team upset AE opponent Stony Brook in a dual meet.

“At the America East, I am looking for smart swims and getting a lot of swimmers swimming at night (in finals). Some guys have goals for records to fall. I think they are achievable. We are well rounded in all events,” Lizzotte explained.

Twenty-one swimmers and two divers are entered for the Maine men. Among the entrants are seniors Dan MacDonald, Zach Cravens, Jeremy Bender and Ryan Wonsor.

“They have worked hard. They have steered the team in the right direction, and they have worked well with Brad (Smith, assistant coach) and me. They should be able to achieve their goals,” Lizzotte maintained.

The seniors and their teammates enter the AE championship as the lone AE team that did not shave and taper during the dual-meet season.

“We have not tapered, shaved or worn the fast suits since last year’s AE,” the coach said.

Meanwhile, the Maine women “can not wait to wear the fast suit,” according to their coach. The women’s lineup, however, remains unsettled while prepping for the championships due to injuries expected to sideline three swimmers. Regardless, Lizzotte anticipates the Black Bears will race well in several areas including the breaststroke events, the butterfly and the freestyle.

The women, like the men, are excited to swim at Germantown, recognized as a fast swimming pool.

Lizzotte projects that Black Bear freshman divers Tim Smith (Bangor) and Kara Capossela will compete successfully in both the 1- and 3-meter competitions (11 dives each).

Husson primed for NEs

Interim head coach Bruce Babin leads Husson University to the New England Championships Friday through Sunday in White River Junction, Vt., at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center. Norwich University is the host of the meet.

“It is an opportunity for our swimmers to compete at a high-level meet,” Babin stated. Six Eagles have qualified for the meet headed by senior Amanda Mason, school record-holder in the 100 and 200 back, 400 individual medley, 1000 and 1650 free.

“We want to go and have quality swims. There is an opportunity to give Husson visibility at a big meet. We want to establish consistency of performance at New Englands,” Babin claimed.

In addition to Mason’s entries, Babin points to the 400 medley relay with Mason, Megan Call, Olivia Grazak and Hali Fleishman as one of the Eagles’ stronger entries.

Babin also reported that the Husson University pool will host one of the state’s larger age group meets Feb.25-27, the Bronze Meet expected to attract 400 swimmers. Further information is available from Babin at Husson University.