This past weekend was the pinnacle of the summer season for many New England teams. Clubs from southern Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts met Friday morning for the New England Championship at Brown University. At my first college championship meet two years ago I found myself amazed at the talent of the top swimmers in our conference. At Brown, I again was amazed at the talent and depth brought together for this meet.
I will begin egotistically by talking about my meet. I feel like I’ve been training for months, but when it comes down to it, I trained less than a month and a half for this meet. I began training on June 2nd, and began taper on the 10th of July. In fact, as I write this, I realize how my times represent an incredible improvement over a very short time. I had grand illusions of going times that would qualify for the 2008 Olympics. In reality, I squashed those dreams in May by taking a month off from training. It was the only way to earn enough money to get me here, but there’s no way I will be doing the same thing next summer.
As for my times, I’ll be brief. My best swim of the meet was the 100 backstroke. I posted a 59.60 best time in finals. Placing 10th I had the 8th fastest time of the meet. My 200 backstroke was average (2:12.5).
My butterfly and freestyles were also average. The 50 free proved to be my worst event, in fact, the first 50m of my 100 freestyle was nearly as fast as my 50.
My weaknesses were clearly evident underwater. In training, I failed to focus on my underwaters as I had in short course and paid for it in the 200 backstroke.
The silver lining is how I choose to think about my swims. Clearly I did not have the training base to complete a strong taper. It seems that my times better represent next year’s mid-season performances. My freestyles and butterfly tend to be significantly slower in season as they were at this meet, and my backstroke was about 2-3 seconds off my [converted] best time which is where it tends to be in season. But enough about me.
The really exciting part of this meet was watching other people swim.
I’ll start with some non-Mainers who caught my attention. Attleboro Blue Fish’s Connor Green who will be going to UCal Berkeley (2014 NCAA Div 1 Champions) next year placed 3rd in the 100 backstroke, 3rd in the 400 IM, 1st in the 200 IM and 1st in the 200 backstroke at 1:59.76. While none of his performances were best times I also suspect he had little to no taper for this meet and is likely focusing on Junior or Senior Nationals.
John Blyzinkyj of Bernal’s Gator Swim Club won the 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, and 50 freestyle. Blyzinkyj, who swims for Florida and placed 6th at the SEC championship in the 100 backstroke, smoked the field in the 100 butterfly with a time of 54.55.
Isabel Reis of Seacoast Swim Association won the 100 and 200 butterfly in spectacular times of 1:01.78 and 2:14.64, respectively. Reis (still a high school junior) will also be competing at the Junior National Championships this summer.
As far as I know, I was the only Maine swimmer representing a non-Maine team. The Portland Porpoises and Westbrook Seals were also in attendance.
Eric Delmonte proved to be the Porpoises’ strongest swimmer. Delmonte placed 2nd in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. He will be attending Virginia Tech next year. Kevin Kane and Michael O’Donovan also had good performances.
The Westbrook Seals had probably the strongest Senior group in the team’s history. On the women’s side Genevieve Worthley placed 2nd in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.27) and 6th in the 200 breaststroke. Worthley swims for Eastern Michigan University. Sarah Easterling of the University of Arkansas placed top sixteen in the 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, and 200 backstroke.
On the men’s side freestyler Jake Perron placed 7th in the 1500 at 16:49.29. Gregory Violette had significant drops in both the 100 and 200 backstroke. Nick Sundquist, a former UMass swimmer who will be transferring to UMaine in the fall proved to be the strongest asset for the Seals. Sundquist placed 4th in the 200 freestyle (1:57.60) and had strong performances in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. His real strengths were shown on the 400 freestyle and medley relays. In the freestyle relay Sundquist led off with a blistering 52.79. Followed by Violette (55.36), Collin Chamberlain (55.21) and Jake Perron (54.85), the Seals set a new Maine state record in the 400 meter freestyle relay (3:38.21) breaking CMA’s record of 3:43.62 by a full five seconds and placing 6th overall.
Violette, Johnathan Dunnett, Sundquist, and Perron returned again for the 400 medley relay setting a new state record with a time of 4:02.15. Violette set a quick pace with a cool (1:00.50) followed by Dunnett at 1:09.98. Sundquist continued his excellent performance with an unexpected 56.99 in the butterfly leg. Perron capped off the relay with a 54.68 to earn the foursome 6th place. This CMA record from 2007 was broken by over nine seconds.
It’s not hard to see that the exciting part of the meet was watching other, more prepared, swimmers go fast times. I am also excited to see the results of the Maine Swimming International Invitation this weekend in St. John, New Brunswick. Check back next week for news of the exciting performances that are bound to happen.