The University of Maine Black Bears men’s and women’s swim and dive teams opened their seasons on Friday, Oct. 20, against the Maritime Academy Mariners. Entering as the favorites, the Black Bears did not disappoint, as they won every event. The women’s team won 159-104. Second-year diver Haylie Calver did very well in the 3-meter dive, where she scored 291.23, breaking PhilAnn Dixon’s record of 281.10 set last year.
“I am very happy with where we are as a team at this point,” head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams, Susan Lizzotte, said after the match.
The night got underway with the 200-yard medley relay. While the women’s teams were close for UMaine, the team of fifth-year Kennedy Kilger, second-years Kayla Loughman and Carmen Braden and third-year Hannah Deighan won gold with a time of 1:51.64. In the men’s, third-year Nick Scott, third-year Zach Hopp, and fourth-years Zareck Tello and Max Ginsburg won with a time of 1:37.98.
In the 200-yard individual medley, first-year Eva Welsh shined in her debut, as she won it for the girl’s heat with a time of 2:12.77, almost six seconds ahead of teammate third-year Marlee Canalee with a time of 2:18.22.
In the men’s, first-year Matthew Bendoraitis would squeak out a one-second victory over teammate Liam Hood with a 2:02.19 time. Bendoraitis won bronze later in the night during the 50-yard backstroke. During the 100-yard, Loughman posted the highest time of 1:01.00, four seconds above teammate third-year Emma Glover with a time of 1:05.31. In the men’s 100, first-year Cooper Polzin won at 58.31, beating second-year Calvin Comeau, who had a time of 58.74. Maritime Academy’s fourth-year John Markillie kept it close with Comeau the whole way, just barely losing second place with a time of 58.90.
In the freestyle events, Braden won gold in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:58.42, three seconds above teammate Laura Dube. In the 50-yard freestyle, Kilger won her second gold with a time of 24.79, less than one second ahead of Deighan. Second-year Julian LaPietra won his first of two gold medals with a time of 1:47.42, just under one second from Tello. In the 50, third-year Finn Devers won gold with a time of 22.13, 13 milliseconds ahead of Ginsburg.
Second-year Alicia Littler won the 100-yard backstroke by the skin of her teeth as she defeated teammate and fellow second-year Liz Stoelzel by 0.02 seconds in a photo finish. In the 50-yard, third-year Morgan Thompson beat Braden by 13 seconds, claiming gold.
The men did not compete in the 100-yard but competed in the 50, which saw third-year Cam Watlet win with a time of 24.68.
In the breaststroke competitions, Loughman beat teammate and fellow fourth-year Morgan Bui by under one second to win gold in the 50. In the 100, second-year Sage Dentremont won gold at 1:25.39. In the men’s 50, first-year Nick Partridge won his first gold with a time of 27.16, beating teammate and fellow first-year Nick Teerlinck by less than one second. In the 100-yard, Partridge would once again beat Teerlnick by under one minute once more.
In the butterfly events, second-year Mia Poirier won the 100-yard by over one second ahead of her teammate, second-year Kathleen Bendoraitis. In the 50-yard butterfly, Glover came away with the fastest time, 28.54.
In the men’s 100, third-year Cam Watelet dominated with a time of 52.38, two seconds faster than teammate third-year Derek Whyte. In the 100-yard, Scott would post the fastest time with 24.53, beating teammate Comeau.
In the 500-yard freestyle, second-year Kathleen Bendoraitis put up the fastest time of 5:27.55, edging out her teammate, third-year Lindsay Matthews, who had a time of 5:27.97. In the men’s, second-year Casey Laliberte won with a time of 5:05.71, exactly one second ahead of teammate third-year Donovan Durand.
In the final swim competition of the night, the 200-yard freestyle relay, the team of Poirier, Deighan, third-year Lauren Witte and fourth-year Morgan Bui posted the fastest time with 1:44.06. In the men’s, the team of Watelet, Ginsburg, first-year Ian Mallari and third-year Nicholas Plese had the fastest time of 1:29.35.
The Black Bears performed impressively in diving, as well. In the one-meter dive, Calver scored the highest for the women with a score of 276.60, 24 points ahead of teammate second-year Maddie Ruppert. In the men’s, fourth-year Riley Clarke dominated, putting up a score of 314.40, the highest he has ever scored for UMaine, 60 points higher than teammate second-year DJ Mulligan. In the three-meter, Calver shined, scoring 291.23, breaking the school’s record. Clarke continued to shine, putting up 302.33, once again a career-high, 53 points higher than Mulligan.
While Maritime was outmatched, they fought hard in every event from start to finish. In the men’s, they were consistently in the middle of the pack, fighting to the finish every race.
“We need to continue our team culture as family!” Lizzotte said after the meet. “Stick together, work hard in the pool and weight room, and always represent our program at the highest level.”
The Black Bears will head on the road to face Holy Cross on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 12 p.m. They will not return home until Jan. 27, when they face off against rival Providence College.