Maine swim coach relishes Bender’s record-setting effort

A school-record finish by the University of Maine’s Shannon Bender in the 400 individual medley at the recent America East Championships had a special meaning for her coach, Susan Lizzotte.
Sixteen years ago as a frosh at the the conference championship, Lizzotte set a Maine record in the 400 IM, an event she won. Now, as coach of the Black Bears she climbed the ladder recently at Wallace Pool in Orono to post the new 400 IM record on the Black Bear record board.
“I am quite proud. To hold a record for 16 years and then to coach the swimmer who broke the record is really neat,” Lizzotte said. “Shannon is such a hard worker who does everything she is asked to do with her training. I am really pleased.”
Lizzotte, after reviewing the quality of her team’s swimming at the AE meet, reports that 100 percent of the times swum at the championship were season personal records.

Wells competes in national meet
James Wells, a sophomore at Indiana University, who competed in Maine interscholastic swimming for Morse High and for the Long Reach Swim Club in age group swimming, recently finished 15th in the 100 backstroke at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Division I championships held in Federal Way, Wash.
Wells swam in 46.8 seconds in the trials and then closed at 47.5 in the finals.
The University of California’s Tom Shields, voted swimmer of the meet, won the event in 44.8. Shields also won the 100 butterfly.
Wells competed in both medley relays. In the 200-medley relay, he led off with a 22.1 as the relay finished at 1:27.1. The 400-medley relay also nabbed 13th in 3:11, with a 46.7 start from Wells on the back. Wells and his IU teammates scored 10th at the championship.
The Cal Bears won their second consecutive team title under fifth-year coach David Durden, who left the University of Maryland five years ago following the retirement of Cal coach Nort Thornton, one of America’s elite college coaches.

Foxcroft’s Murray honored
Cathy Murray of Foxcroft Academy was recognized as the Class B girls’ swimming coach of the year for the second straight year during the recent Maine Interscholastic Swimming League banquet.
In three years with the Ponies, Murray coached the Foxcroft girls’ squad to a combined 18-2 regular-season record, going undefeated (6-0) this winter after finishing 6-1 the two previous years.
Murray then guided the Ponies to a third-place finish at this year’s Penobscot Valley Conference championships, trailing only perennial powers Bangor and Mount Desert Island. It marked the fourth straight third-place finish at the conference championship meet for Foxcroft.
The Ponies girls’ team also has finished fifth, sixth, and fifth the past three seasons under Murray at the Class B state championships while competing against significantly larger schools.
Murray, who was the assistant swim coach at the Piscataquis Regional YMCA in Dover-Foxcroft for eight years before taking the Foxcroft job, is leaving the coaching ranks in part to watch her daughter Amber, currently a senior at Foxcroft, begin her collegiate swimming career next year at the University of Maine.

Swim notebook
• At the NCAA Division III nationals, Bowdoin’s Nate Mecray from Greely High in Cumberland Center finished 16th in the 100 breaststroke at 56.1 Colby College senior Mason Roberts touched in 57.2 for 17th. Denison University defeated Kenyon for the second consecutive year to win the championship.
• Ellsworth’s Brian Batson swam impressively at the Atlantic 10 meet and scored at 1:41.6 in the 200 free for 11th place and 13th in the 100 free in 46.5. Batson and his LaSalle mates scored fourth.
• Canoe City YMCA swimmer Mariah Reading swam to a New England win in the 15-18 100 fly (59.2) at the recent meet in Massachusetts. Reading also finished fourth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 breaststroke.