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Short course season report

 ​Portland Porpoise Swim Club

​2017 - 2018

Short course season report


From beginning to end, the short course season of 2017-2018 was a fantastic success for PPSC, both on a team and individual level. There’s nothing better for a coach than seeing a swimmer’s diligent, committed, and hard work pay off throughout the course of the year, and even at the end of the season. For the team, it was great to see the club break into the USA Swimming Virtual Club Challenge top 600 teams in the country for the first time ever, as well as secure the same honor as the top team in Maine, as well as win the Maine Swimming Junior Olympic meet at Bowdoin in March (as a quick comparison, in 2009 - my first year coaching at PPSC - the team was 1,420th nationally and nowhere close to the top 10 at Maine Swimming Winter Championships). On a team level, these are fantastic accomplishments that have either never been done or haven’t been done since the mid-1990s. Going into the meet the coaches knew that our 13 & over swimmers would do well point-wise, and we knew it was up to the 12 & unders in order to win the meet. Well, judging by the results, PPSC’s 12 & unders all came through in a huge way!

As great as these accolades are they don’t provide even close to the same amount of pride a coach feels when a swimmer that has worked hard and committed themselves to a goal achieves it, whether it be a best time, qualifies for their first JO event, qualifies for the Maine 10 & under All-Star meet, or makes a qualifying time for a regional or national level meet. While the individual goals are where it all begins, nothing feels better than when the team as a whole share these values and virtues of success and supports one another in their endeavors – because that is what they’ll remember most, and because of that. These things are most important and vital to everyone’s swim experience. Diligence, dedication, and perseverance are the things that have helped lead to this team’s success, and what I am most proud of at the end of the short course season.

Heading in to the long course season, as a swimmer, there is no time better than now to reflect on the experience and results from the past short course season in order to best effect the outcome of the long course season ahead. Regardless of how much success there may have been there is always a way to improve. One of things I personally believe, and the Senior swimmers have heard me say it many times (maybe too many times), is that, “if you don’t change, you’re not getting better.” A lot of us always say when we talk about improvement that, “we’ll work harder”. Ok, but “how” are you going to get better? Improving the small things on a regular basis is often the foundation for large improvements as they become the things you do the most and are the habits of success. To use a brief example, the Senior group watched quite a bit of Caleb Dressel’s races from NCAA’s this past year. Most particularly his plyometric work pushing off of walls, and the quality of his streamline. If we can start there, a place where each length of a race begins, there’s a good chance improvement through the rest of the length will become easier.

So, let’s start from the beginning for this long course season that lies ahead by reflecting on the experiences of this past short course season. Relive the success you had, along with the improvements you know you can make to build upon the past season. In order to get us started, here are some notable team and individual accomplishments we have made collectively over the 2017-2018 short course season:

               Sophie Tonello & Graham Plourde qualified for and competed in many events at Brown with the Maine Swimming 10 & under all-star team. A few notable, top three finishes for each include Sophie wining the 50m Breaststroke (43.92), second in the 100m Breaststroke (1:37.69), while Graham came in second in the 50m free (35.32), second in the 200m free (2:58.74), second in the 50m Breaststroke (47.89), third in the 100m Breaststroke (1:45.95), third in the 100m fly (1:38.04), and third in the 200m IM (3:19.52).

               PPSC also competed at the International Swim Coaches Association Age Group Showcase Classic in St Petersburg, Florida for the first time ever. This meet and the qualifying times associated with it are similar to Eastern Zone Sectional qualifying times, but at the age group level. Additionally, this meet unlike the EZ Sectional meet is attended by teams all over the country. The swimmers that attended and competed at the meet were Audrey Cohen, Cole Gorsuch, Maria Delmonte, Ali Bragg, and Madi Bunnell-Parker. Each swimmer competed very well at this meet, with Cole Gorsuch qualifying in the top 10 to make finals in the 50y Backstroke and take ninth place with a best time of 28.92, earning a medal on the awards podium. The meet was a good time and it will be great to return next year with a little experience from this year.

               Ten Porpoises also traveled to Wisconsin to compete at the Central Zone Sectional long course meter meet in the beginning of March. It was the first time the club has been back to Wisconsin for Sectionals since 2013. The swimmers that attended the meet this time were Zoe Seigel, Jaehee Park, Morgan Porter, Emily Ecker, Brim Peabody, Ryan O’Leary, Jade Lindenau, Mitch Amadei, Sophie Chase, and Reed Foehl. All swimmers performed fantastically and had best LCM times, highlighted by Emily Ecker setting new Maine Swimming state records in the 1,500m (17:13.46) and winning the event, and 800m Free with a new USA Swimming Summer Junior National qualifying (8:58.39). Brim Peabody also set a new Maine Swimming state record in the 800m free (8:49.75) and got on the medal podium in the 1500 free in third (16:58.27). The 800m Free relay team of Emily Ecker, Jaehee Park, Morgan Porter, and Jade Lindenau also set a new Maine Swimming record with a time of 9:02.82.

Other significant time marks include these new team records:

               -Mitch Amadei, 15 & over 50 Backstroke 24.90

               -Cole Gorsuch, 11 & 12 200 Backstroke 2:14.32 100 Backstroke 1:00.88

               -Alex Bunell-Parker, 10 & under 200 IM 2:41.87

               -Graham Plourde, 10 & under 100 Breaststroke 1:28.55

               -Emily Ecker, 15 & over 400 IM 4:27.33* 200 Butterfly 2:03.67 1,650 Freestyle 16:42.97*

                                                         1,000 Freestyle 10:00.12* 500 Freestyle 4:50.00* 200 Freestyle 1:49.40*

                                                         100 Freestyle 52.08

               -Madi Bunnell-Parker 11 &12 200 Breaststroke 2:35.07 13 & 14 200 Breaststroke 2:30.71

               -Audrey Cohen 11 & 12 400 IM 4:49.13 50 Butterfly 27.48

               -Maria Delmonte 11 &12 200 Backstroke 2:14.43* 11 &12 100 Backstroke 1:02.47

               -Rachael Cohen 8 & under 50 Freestyle 35.78 25 Freestyle 15.51

               * denotes new MSI LSC State record!

               Overall, this year was a huge competitive success for individuals, as well as the team as a whole with over 50 swimmers qualified for and competing at the Bowdoin Open, and 50 swimmers competing at the Maine Junior Olympic meet in March – both of these were all time high numbers. With just three swimmers graduating from the club this spring, there is also a lot to look forward to and build upon going in to the summer, and next fall.

               So, begin formulating those goals now, and get ready to build upon a great short course season of success!


~ Matt