“We have positive attitudes. We like to have fun and they are training hard,” University of Maine swim coach Susan Lizotte said.

The Black Bears travel to Rhode Island for a Friday dual meet against Bryant University and then race Saturday at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.

Friday’s meet will not include diving since Bryant’s facility is not equipped with 1- and 3-meter diving boards.

“Both the men’s and women’s meets will flat out be a swimming horse race. The matchups are really even throughout the lineup. Relays will be huge in determining the outcome,” Maine’s coach stated.

In Saturday’s meet against URI, the Black Bears face a Ram squad tabbed to finish eighth in the Atlantic 10 and a team opening the 2010-11 season against the Black Bears.

Lizotte’s teams competed at Boston University last week in a three-way meet against the Terriers and Bryant. Losing to a very fast and deep BU squad, the Black Bears defeated Bryant in meets where both the men and the women divers scored well.

“We are excited about where our divers can go,” Lizotte said, evaluating both the 1- and 3-meter performances of her team, including Bangor-area freshmen Tim Smith and Ashley Higgins.

Additionally, freshman Kara Capossella has strengthened her 3-meter program by adding a front 2 1/2 and a reverse 2 1/2. Veteran Juliet Cobb, a transfer from Vermont, tallied a personal record with her 3-meter score.

There also were many positives with Maine’s swimming last weekend, providing lineup options as Lizotte develops a strategy for this weekend’s racing.

“I liked our pacing in the second half of our racing,” Lizotte said. “We still have a number of things to improve, but we emphasized a race strategy in our practices and I saw improvement.

“If you look at the splits of Jeremy’s (Bender) 200 fly, he swam a great race (winning in 1:59.4). Jeremy just reeled his opponent in. He was behind by two seconds at the 100, but he is so mentally tough. He just finds a way to win.”

In the women’s action, Caitlin Shelly turned in hot races. “She had a great meet,” her coach said. Shelly swam a 31.1-second 50 breaststroke, 1:07 100 breaststroke and a 2:28 200 breaststroke.

Also, teammate Courtney Mellish recorded an impressive time in the 200 backstroke (2:14).

Tarbell a leader at URI

Cape Elizabeth’s Kinsey Tarbell, a senior at URI, is the school record holder in the 100 free at 52.3 and also a sub-minute backstroker.

Leading URI, though, is Lillian Falconer. She’s the record holder in six individual events, the 100 breaststroke (1:05.55), 200 breaststroke (2:17.73), 200 IM (2:01.49), 400 IM (4:19.56), 200 fly (2:07.94) and 200 free (1:50.49).

Thomas, Wells victorious

Erin Thomas, a graduate of Bangor High, won her first race of the college season for Penn State, finishing in 52.0 in the 100 free and then claiming third in the 200 free at 1:51.2. The Nittany Lions defeated Virginia Tech.

Meanwhile in Bloomington, Ind., Bath’s James Wells competed for the Hoosiers in their victories against Kentucky and Northwestern, respectively. Against the Wildcats, Wells touched in 51.3 in the 100 back and then dropped to 50.8 against Northwestern.

Husson opens Saturday

The Husson Eagles of Bangor open their dual-meet season Saturday in Standish against the Monks of Saint Joseph’s.