Despite 11 first-place finishes and the shattering of a men’s school record, the University of Maine swimming and diving teams could not overcome the University of New Hampshire in an America East dual meet at Wallace Pool Saturday afternoon. The Black Bear men were edged by a score of 154-145, while the UMaine women fell 182-118.
“The men’s meet was [decided by] nine points,” UMaine head coach Jeff Wren said. “That’s one first place going the other way.”
The Wildcats won the first four events of the meet, putting both Black Bear squads in an early hole. The UNH men took the 200-yard medley relay by 12 tenths of a second winning in 1:40.93. In the women’s race, Carrie Woynerowski touched out UMaine’s Kate Abbott for the victory in 1:51.12. Wren was disappointed with the men’s exchanges during the relay and said the absence of top breaststroker Griffin O’Connor, due to sickness, may have slowed the women’s team.
“We were down people-wise, and I think that probably made the difference in that event,” he said. “That group has swum together a lot. They like to be together but what can you do?”
Krystal Fogler claimed the Black Bears’ first victory of the day with a time of 1:56.69 in the 200-yard freestyle. The senior was even with Wildcat Kristen Nardozzi on the last turn and swam the final 50-yards in a blazing 27.77 to hand the UNH sophomore her first loss of the season. UMaine’s Jake Jentzer followed up that performance with a win in the men’s 200 free before Stephanie Smeitana took first in the 100-yard backstroke.
The Wildcats won the next four events before the Black Bears swept the 50-yard freestyle. Katrine Alcaide led all the way winning in 25.40 and Elbert Blanchard took the down-and-back sprint with a time of 22.93. Kris Talarico and Justin Fogg finished in the top two spots in the 1-meter dive to close the UMaine men’s deficit to 78-71 at the midway point of the meet. The Black Bear women trailed 86-64.
Some UMaine swimmers have begun decreasing the intensity of their training. Wren said that change in workload had an affect on some racers Saturday.
“Some people respond real well,” Wren said. “You cut a little bit of work out, they get a little rested and they go a little faster. Other people don’t like that adjustment to reduced work. They feel out-of-sorts until they have time to adjust. We saw some people in that mode today, but that’s typical when you’re in this timing relative to [America East] championships.”
Jentzer was in a mode of his own. The junior, competing in just his second meet since transferring from Boston University, produced the highlight of the afternoon with a record-breaking performance in the 100-yard butterfly. Jentzer swam the first 50 in 23.63 and clocked a winning time of 50.83 beating the old mark of 51.75 set by James LaRochelle at the 1978 New England Championships. It had been 10 years since a Black Bear men’s individual record was broken. Jentzer was aiming for the 100 fly record because he likely won’t compete in that event at the America East meet.
“Because of the order of events he probably won’t swim that in championships,” Wren said. “To break it by that much without being rested or shaved is pretty remarkable.”
Blanchard, Jentzer, Jon Dewitt and Nick Baser brought the meet to an end with a three-second win in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The UMaine women’s foursome of Fogler, Alcaide, Abbott and Karin Feldman also took first in 1:41.00. Brian Forrestall added runner-up performances in the 1,000-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley for the Black Bears. Baser was second in the 100-yard breaststroke while Abbott and Heather Krebs claimed second and third in the 200-yard butterfly.
Ten Black Bear seniors swam in their final regular-season meet Saturday. Fogler, Dewitt, Forrestall, Niki Warren, Danielle Howard, Amanda Hebert, Cathy Sibley, Kevin Fox, Son Nguyen and Dave Noto were all recognized before the start of competition.