James Wells, Maine’s fastest interscholastic swimmer in several events a year ago for Morse High in Bath, is ranked 49th in America in the men’s NCAA Division I 100-yard backstroke at 49.0 seconds.

Interestingly, three Indiana University teammates of Wells are ranked in the top 50 swimmers in the 100-yard back at fourth, 22nd and 31st. The Hoosiers, ranked as high as 10th earlier this season, presently are ranked 14th in the latest coaches’ poll.

In the NCAA Division II rankings, Bentley College sophomore Jessica Hodsdon, who raced at Brewer High, also ranks also among the top 50 in the nation at 37th in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.1).

Hour of Power Relay

Swimming and diving teams from Bates, Bowdoin and Colby joined all other NESCAC teams in the Hour of Power Relay earlier this season.

The Hour of Power Relay, requiring teams to swim ”all out” continuous relays for 60 minutes, started five years ago with 15 teams participating to raise funds for the Ted Mullen Fund for sarcoma research.

Mullen was a swimmer at Carleton College and a victim of the rare sarcoma cancer. Mullen’s brother Ed swam for Colby College and his sister Catherine now swims for the White Mules.

The Hour of Power — open to all college, high school, and club swim teams — attracted 134 teams in 2009, including 103 college teams.

Approximately $190,000 has been raised for the research at the University of Chicago’s Comer Hospital.

NESCAC is the only college conference with all teams participating. Teams from across the country all start the relays at the same time. All relay legs are swum at 50 yards, and relays may be swum using any and all of the four competitive strokes.

Thorpe heads Hall inductees

The only male swimmer to win Olympic medals in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyle events, Ian Thorpe will be inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale.

The Aussie, referred to during his racing days as the Thorpedo, won nine Olympic medals, including five golds. Also named to the Class of 2011 is Lenny Krayzelberg, an immigrant to America from the Ukraine.

In 2000, Krayzelberg became the first swimmer to win golds in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events since Rick Carey’s 1984 golds.

Swimming 10th in participation

Female interscholastic swimming is the 10th most popular sport, according to data released by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

More than 158,000 girls swam in 2009-10, representing 7,171 teams. Outdoor track and field recorded the highest number of participants with 469,177.

Swimming and diving also ranked 10th in the most popular boys sports offerings with 131,376 competitors. Nearly 7,000 schools compete in boys swimming and diving. Football (11-player) attracted the highest number of participants with 1,109,278 students participating on 14,226 teams.

Triathlete DuPont passes

John DuPont, once referred to as the Father of the Modern Triathlon, passed away earlier this month.

DuPont, an heir to the DuPont chemical fortune, was a six-time master’s swim champion and a financial contributor to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

In 1966, DuPont appeared on a TV broadcast of “To Tell The Truth.” He was training in the modern pentathlon and was attempting to earn a berth on the 1968 U. S. Olympic team.