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Bomberger, Navy men shatter mark at Patriot League meet
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
This past year has been one of adjustment for Lititz’s Dain Bomberger at the U.S. Naval Academy.
There have been military obligations.
Rigorous academic commitments.
And intense training sessions with the Midshipmen’s swimming team.
But the 2011 Warwick High School grad is handling all of it in stride.
In fact, Bomberger was right in the middle of big things for the Navy swimmers at the Patriot League Championships which were held in Annapolis, Md. from Feb. 16-18.
Bomberger and his teammates touched the wall in a gold-medal winning time of 2:56.27 while setting new pool and academy records in the 400 free relay. He also was part of the foursome which took home the gold in the 200 freestyle relay. Both times put them in consideration for the NCAA Division-I Championships, but they ultimately fell a little short of advancing to Federal Way, Wash. from March 22-24.
"We were one of the earlier conference championships, so at one point it looked like it would be a possibility for us to go," Bomberger said. "We were really hoping, but people were going crazy fast this year. I think we missed it by a second or a second and a half. Not quite there this year."
Still, Bomberger’s efforts helped the Navy men clinch the Patriot League title with 1.029.5 points, easily ahead of runner-up Bucknell (638.5). The Navy women completed the sweep, bringing home the crown with 933.5 points. Colgate (692.5) was second.
Bomberger chipped in with solid finishes in his individual events, taking eighth place in the 50 free (20.6), ninth in the 100 free (45.63) and 10th in the 200 free (1:41.12).
"I would definitely say it’s a successful season," Bomberger said. "Even though my times weren’t the best compared to last year, I still think I learned how to train beyond belief. These guys push my limits in practice every day. In the weight room, I got a lot stronger. In the pool, I learned how to kinda get through those tough sessions. The intensity is just way more intense than in high school. That’s why I think it’s really going to help me out for next year."
Although the former Warrior star believes that his intense training is going to be reflected in his shorter events in 2012-13, he already has noticed improvements endurance-wise in the longer freestyles.
"The 200 free I was actually really happy with," he said. "And I think that just comes down to doing a lot more yardage than I did back in high school. We’re doing so many more practices than I used to do and I think my endurance was so much better."
His time of 20.6 seconds in the 50 free was slightly off his finish (20.35) last year while grabbing the PIAA State gold, and his 100 free performance of 45.63 seconds was just over a second behind the 44.57 which he had for the PIAA State silver medal in 2011.
"(The 50 free) was a little bit off from last year, but for the most part, I was pretty happy with it," Bomberger said. "Once again, the 50 free is one of those events that a little mess-up and it will completely change your time. But I can’t be disappointed with how I swam. This year was just a huge stepping stone for myself when it comes to taking my swimming to the next level."
Ditto for the 100 free.
"I think I went out with a really big bang last year in my senior year of high school with my 44.5," Bomberger said. "When I was going into (the Patriot League Championships), I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to need another perfect swim like I did last year to get this 44.5.’ I mean, 45.6 was still one of the faster times at the academy on the team, so I was pretty happy with it."
Last Friday through Sunday, Bomberger was competing at the 2012 Columbus Grand Prix at Ohio State University. Although he didn’t swim in the same heats as Olympians Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Natalie Coughlin, it was an honor for him just to be there among those greats.
"There were so many Olympians there, so it was really cool to actually be in the same pool and the same meet as them," Bomberger said. "That was awesome."
With the the 2011-12 season behind him, Bomberger is hoping for awesome things in the year ahead. Following a break this week, he will start again next week in his training for the upcoming season.
"Going into any team your first year, it’s always difficult for the coaches to get an idea of how you train and what you really need to get the best out of you," Bomberger said. "I think this year was a great opportunity for my coach and I to really get to know each other and to talk things out a little bit more so that we can really set things up for next year and really get all the potential out of me." More BOMBERGER, page B-6