The University of Maine swimming and diving season continued Friday at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where several Black Bears will compete this weekend in the ECAC Championships.
“We are excited about the group that will be competing in the ECAC meet,” head coach Susan Lizzotte said. “The ECAC provides an opportunity for swimmers to compete in events different from those they swam at America East [championships]. This group will take it all in, enjoy the opportunity, and swim as fast as they can.”
Among the Black Bears racing at the ECACs is junior Andy Sprague, who established a UMaine record at the America East Championship earlier this month. Sprague hit 20.58 in the 50-yard freestyle and then lowered his time on the lead leg of the 200 free relay with a 20.50. The relay clocked a school-record time of 1:23.29.
“Every time he swims, he puts himself out there,” Lizzotte said.
Joining Sprague at the ECACs are freshmen Evan Bartow, Jennifer Prior and Sarah Mansfield, along with senior Ines Khiyara and junior Maggie White.
Former MDI stars shine
While the Mount Desert Island High swimming and diving teams continued the Trojan tradition of fast swimming to win the Maine Principals’ Association Class B state championships, former Trojans Lydia DaCorte and Liam Sullivan won gold medals in their collegiate conference championships.
DaCorte, a junior at Wheaton College, won the 1,650 free (17:03), the 500 free (4:53.9) and the 200 free (1:49.6). Her performances met the “B” qualifying standard for the NCAA Division ll Championship.
DaCorte also was named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year. As a freshman, she was chosen as the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year.
Sullivan, a freshman at Williams College, set a conference, pool and meet record in winning the 100 breaststroke with a 54.36 finish in the trials and then touched first in the finals (54.36) at the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship.
That swim met the “B” qualifying standard for the NCAA Division lll Championship.
Sullivan also was victorious in the 50 breaststroke at 24.96.
Tony DeMuro coached both DaCorte and Sullivan at Mount Desert High where he led the Trojans to 11 Class B state championships.
“You do not find people as competitive as they are. They know how to race,” said DeMuro, who is the first-year head coach at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.
“Liam knows when it is time to get up and go fast. He thrives at the big meet,” DeMuro said. “He loves the racing. Very few swimmers get up for a big meet the way he does.”
DaCorte’s 500 free win was eight seconds ahead of second place. She also recorded the fastest 100 butterfly leg of the finals, splitting 55.8 in Wheaton’s second-place 400 medley relay (3:51).
“I was impressed with Lydia’s swims. I was most tickled with her 200 free. She is hyper focused and she knows how to race.” DeMuro said.
“She really could swim any event. This is partly due to the great job [MDI YMCA coach] Jim Willis does in giving the swimmers the background.”
Ellsworth’s Talor Hamilton, a senior at Florida Southern University, swam a 20.39 in the trials of the 50 free at the Sunshine State Conference Championship and finished at 20.52 in the finals.
Both performances met the NCAA Division ll “B” standard for the national championship.
Ritchie Matthews, a teammate of DaCorte at Wheaton and a former Ellsworth High swimmer, finished fourth at the NEWMAC championship in the 100 breaststroke (56.76) and was fifth in the 200 breaststroke (2:06.6) and eighth in the 200 individual medley (1:54.3).