Making splash in pools …

Top-level performances from master swimmers at home and abroad

Water athletes compete in Belfast, Quebec meets
By Staff | May 17, 2017
Courtesy of: Carolyn Steeves Scene from the recent Dan Horton masters swim meet at the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast. Eryn Thostenson of Waldo County.

Midcoast masters swimmers have been busy — and quite successful — in their recent impressive work in pools located locally and out of the country.

Drew Darling of Camden, Bill Jones of Hope and Hans Wendel, a Floridian who visits the Midcoast and swims for Maine, competed in the annual Canadian national masters swimming championship Friday through Sunday, May 12-14 at Universite Laval in Quebec City.

Darling and Jones swim out of the Penobscot Bay YMCA. The trio were the only competitors from Maine.

Among the 666 swimmers who competed in this year’s Canadian championship in Quebec, a mere five hours drive from the Midcoast, were a scattering of Americans, including Maine Masters Darling, Jones and Wendel.

Jones and Wendel met little competition and won gold and also set Maine records in their 10 events. Seven of their times also were New England records.

Darling was in a larger and more-competitive age group in which he placed well. In the dramatic “metric mile,” the 1,500-meter freestyle, Darling’s goggles filled with water at the start, which cost him two body-lengths on the competition, said Jones. He quickly caught all but his closest competitor, another American from Michigan, then inexorably narrowed the gap against this rival over the 60 pool lengths before losing by less than two seconds out of 25 minutes and 45 seconds.

The individual results for Darling, Jones and Wendel from the Canadian meet included:

1,500-meter free — 65-69 men Drew Darling 25:44.99 2nd.

800-meter free — 65-69 men Drew Darling 13:26.70 2nd; and 80-84 men Bill Jones 17:26.91 1st Maine record.

400m free — 65-69 men Drew Darling 6:30.09 4th.

200-meter free — 65-69 men Drew Darling 3:03.90 8th; and 80-84 men Bill Jones 3:32.06 1st Maine record.

100-meter free — 65-69 men Drew Darling 1:24.41 5th; and 80-84 men Bill Jones 1:30.58 1st Maine and New England record.

200-meter backstroke — 65-69 men Drew Darling 3:35.05 4th.

100-meter back — 65-69 men Drew Darling 1:41.73 4th.

200-meter breaststroke — 80-84 men Hans Wendel 4:51.65 1st Maine record.

100-meter breast — 80-84 men Hans Wendel 2:14.75 1st Maine and New England record.

50-meter breast — 80-84 men Hans Wendel 57.57 1st Maine and New England record.

200-meter butterfly — 80-84 men Bill Jones 5:05.86 1st Maine and New England record.

100-meter fly — 80-84 men Bill Jones 2:08.16 1st Maine and New England record.

400-meter individual medley — 80-84 men Bill Jones 9:32.70 1st Maine and New England record.

100-meter IM — 80-84 men Bill Jones 1:47.47 1st Maine and New England record.

Belfast meet

Area masters swimmers also were in the pool on Saturday, May 6 at the Waldo County YMCA for the Dan Horton meet, an event Horton, himself, participated in. Fifteen Midcoast swimmers, from Knox, Waldo and Lincoln counties, were among those who competed.

Every year, swimmers flock to the Horton meet. Jones said Sarah King, 34, was the first to arrive. She drove from the Catskills in New York to try to better five of her 2016-17 times. Most of the competitors for the meet, though, were from the Waldo and Pen Bay YMCAs.

Among the 10 Belfast swimmers were Horton and Robert Winslow, both age 68, whom generations of Waldo County people have known as swim and life coaches, and Eryn Thostenson, 24, current Waldo County YMCA masters and Bluefish youth swim coach.

Other Waldo swimmers were Unity Professor Pieter deHart of Thorndike, Dr. Peter Millard of Belfast, Alan Gibson, Joseph Stilwell and Doug Blasius of Belfast, Rebecca Harrison of Unity and Evan Hutchins of Swanville.

Pen Bay YMCA's delegation was depleted by a conflicting Swimming Saves Lives class for adults, taught by volunteer masters swimmers. Bill Jones of Hope, Frank Giustra of Waldoboro and Peter Giustra of Warren were at one end of the older age spectrum; Lianne and Mark McCluskey of Hope, at the other for the younger generation. Lianne McCluskey is the Pen Bay’s Sailfish youth swim coach. The McCluskeys are siblings, and the Giustras brothers.

Meet results are being checked for records. However, Jones said Lianne McCluskey’s 400 individual medley and 200 breaststroke for women ages 25-29 may qualify as Maine records.

Jones, fresh from recently setting Maine and New England records in Massachusetts, hoped for more in Belfast, he said. Not only was he limited to a Maine record in the 80-84 men’s 100 free, but he failed in attempts at breaststroke records and lost to his old Bowdoin nemesis, Dr. Houghton White III of Brunswick.

White, who competed for the first time in 59 years, set Maine records in the 80-84 men’s 50 and 100 breast and broke Mainer Hans Wendel’s New England record in the 100 breast.

The individual results for Midcoast swimmers included:

50 back — 18-24 women Rebecca Harrison Unity 46.53 2nd; 50-54 men Alan Gibson Belfast 37.59 1st; and 65-69 men Robert Winslow Belfast 40.40 1st.

100 breast — 18-24 women Eryn Thostenson Belfast 1:34.04 1st; 65-69 men Dan Horton Belfast 2:03.63 3rd; 75-79 men Peter Giustra Warren 2:01.19 1st; and 80-84 men Bill Jones Hope 1:52.39 2nd.

200 fly — 30-34 men Joseph Stilwell Belfast 2:43.57 1st.

50 free — 18-24 men Mark McCluskey Hope 23.04 1st; 18-24 women Rebecca Harrison Unity 38.22 2nd; 25-29 men Evan Hutchins Swanville 25.82 1st; 35-39 men Pieter deHart Thorndike 23.44 1st; 60-64 men Doug Blasius Belfast 41.95 2nd; 65-96 men Robert Winslow Belfast 37.93 2nd and Dan Horton Belfast 39.12 3rd; 75-79 men Peter Giustra Warren 37.14 1st; and 80-84 men Frank Giustra Waldoboro 44.87 1st

400 individual medley — 25-29 women Lianne McCluskey Hope 5:23.46 1st.

50 breast — 25-29 men Evan Hutchins Swanville 36.93 1st; 35-39 men Pieter deHart Thorndike 31.47 1st; 50-54 men Alan Gibson Belfast 38.76 1st; 65-69 men Dan Horton Belfast 52.62 2nd; and 80-84 men Bill Jones Hope 50.90 2nd.

100 butterfly — 25-29 women Lianne McCluskey Hope 1:03.13 1st; 30-34 men Joseph Stilwell Belfast 1:08.55 1st; and 75-79 men Peter Giustra Warren 1:53.68 1st.

200 back — 18-24 women Eryn Thostenson Belfast 2:38.92 1st.

100 free — 18-24 men Mark McCluskey Hope 52.66 1st; 18-24 women Rebecca Harrison Unity 1:27.99 1st; 25-29 men Evan Hutchins Swanville 58-59 1st; 25-29 women Lianne McCluskey Hope 1:00.43 1st; 60-64 men Doug Blasius Belfast 1:43.54 2nd; 65-69 men Dan Horton Belfast 1:31.69 2nd; 80-84 men Bill Jones Hope 1:24.62 1st; and 80-84 men Frank Giustra Waldoboro 1:47.57 2nd.

200 individual medley — 25-29 women Lianne McCluskey Hope 2:41.45 1st.

200 free — 35-39 men Pieter deHart Thorndike 1:54.77 1st; 50-54 men Alan Gibson Belfast 2:35.00 1st; and 60-64 men Doug Blasius Belfast 3:31.05 1st.

50 butterfly — 18-24 men Mark McCluskey Hope 25.43 1st; 30-34 men Joseph Stilwell Belfast 29.03 1st; 75-79 men Peter Giustra Warren 46.75 1st; and 80-84 men Frank Giustra Waldoboro 1:14.82 1st.

100 back — 65-69 men Robert Winslow Belfast 1:35.44 2nd; and 75-79 men Peter Giustra Warren 1:57.32 1st.

500 free — 18-24 men Mark McCluskey Hope 5:54.88 1st; 18-24 women Eryn Thostenson Belfast 6:52.77 1st; 25-29 men Evan Hutchins Swanville 6:13.44 1st; 60-64 men Peter Millard Belfast 7:38.17 1st; and 60-64 men Doug Blasius Belfast 9:36.27 2nd.

200 breast — 25-29 women Lianne McCluskey Hope 2:47.27 1st; and 80-84 men Bill Jones Hope 4:14.52 1st.

100 individual medley — 18-24 men Mark McCluskey Hope 1:01.63 1st; 18-24 women Eryn Thostenson Belfast 1:19.62 1st; 25-29 men Evan Hutchins Swanville 1:11.98 1ST; 30-34 men Joseph Stilwell Belfast 1_09.28 1st; 35-39 men Pieter deHart Thorndike 59.80 1st; and and 50-54 men Alan Gibson Belfast 1:18.76 1st.

200 medley relay — 25-plus men Clark, Scholz, Lecrone, Gillis 1:53.12 1st; DeHart, Trainor, Stilwell, Hutchens 2:02.08 2nd; and 18-plus women Thostenson, McCluskey, Uecker, Redman 2:15.30 1st.

200 free relay — 18-plus men Lecrone, McCluskey, Hutchins, Scholz 1:44.95 1st; 18-plus mixed Stilwell, Gibson, Thostenson, McCluskey, 1:59.34 1st; 35-plus men Gillis, Ford, Thai, DeHart 1:48.39 1st; and 55-plus men Blasius, Horton, Rier, Millard 2:45.46 1st.

Bill Jones of Hope provided much of the information for this story.

Courier Publications’ sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

Scene from the recent Dan Horton masters swim meet at the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast. (Courtesy of: Carolyn Steeves)
Scene from the recent Dan Horton masters swim meet at the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast. (Courtesy of: Carolyn Steeves)
Scene from the recent Dan Horton masters swim meet at the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast. (Courtesy of: Carolyn Steeves)
Scene from the recent Dan Horton masters swim meet at the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast. (Courtesy of: Carolyn Steeves)
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