Prior to Monday, it was 1987 when the Brewer High School girls swimmers coached by Tim Babcock last defeated Bangor.
Thirty years later, and in her 30th year of coaching, Kathy Cahill directed the 2017-2018 Brewer team to a 94-91 victory over Bangor at Husson College’s Webber Pool.
“Although it came to the last relay, it certainly was a team effort. We had swimmers score points unexpectedly in several events including the 50 and 100 free. Our less experienced swimmers scored valuable points throughout the meet,” said Cahill.
The Witches’ coach explained that Adelaide Ross, Claire Warmuth and Caroline Blain scored critical points in numerous events, in addition to frontline points from veteran Brewer racers Erin Aucoin, McKenna Porter, Hannah Friedman and Sydney Blain.
Brewer’s pre-meet preparation for the Rams was extensive. Cahill researched each member of the Bangor roster, including their primary and secondary events and best times. She reviewed past Bangor meets to identify patterns in Ram lineup configurations.
“As a team the athletes stayed focused on swimming and competing. We talked about the intensity level required to compete against Bangor. We needed to be at the level of focus and intensity of a PVC championship,” Cahill said.
Knowing Bangor’s likely 400 free relay and with a relay win necessary for victory, Cahill adjusted her team’s order. She moved Aucoin from her customary anchor leg to the third leg.
Aucoin began the third leg a body length behind the Rams and the talented senior pulled even with the Rams swimmer prior to anchor Sydney Blain’s start, described by Cahill as “phenomenal.” Blain’s leg led the Witches to the relay win.
Acknowledging her swimmers and divers were exceedingly excited about their win, Cahill has redirected the team’s focus.
“We are going back to practice and do what we do. We will prepare for the season ahead and the upcoming competitions.”
Harper 5th at nationals
Earlier this year, Long Reach Swim Club’s Olivia Harper impressively finished fifth in the 100-yard backstroke as a 15-year-old at the YMCA Nationals in the age 15-16 age group.
Recently, she competed at the University of Tennessee at the Junior Nationals East, the next tier of competition in America’s hierarchy of national competitions as described by her coach Jay Morissette of the Bath YMCA.
Harper swam her personal best in the 100 back (54.8 seconds) in the trials and then finished in 55 seconds, her second fastest time, in the finals. Her time in the trials established a new Maine record in the 15-16 age group.
“Experiencing success at Junior Nationals builds confidence. Knowing she can compete at this level builds the confidence and focus required for future national competitions,” Morissette said.
“She has an efficient pull and a strong catch,” Morissette said when assessing her strengths as backstroker. Harper’s training for the competition included resting, but not fully tapering.
With 60-70 percent of the 100-yard backstroke being raced underwater, Harper is building that capacity in anticipation of developing a dominating underwater kick.
“We teach all our young swimmers the importance of underwater kicks, but as they get older there is an increased emphasis,” Morissette said.
Harper has resumed her training knowing she has competed successfully at another of America’s competitive national meets. Morissette will continue her preparation for national level competition, including qualifying for the next tier of national meets.
Another Maine swimmer in the 15-16 age group, Emily Ecker of the Portland Porpoise Swim Club, finished 20th in the 500 freestyle (4:50) at the Junior Nationals. She also set a new Maine age-group record in the 200 free (1:50.0), three-tenths faster than the previous record of 1:50.3 held by Caitlyn Tycz of Long Reach. Tycz now swims for the University of Southern California.
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