Linda Howard, the diving coach at Greely High, remembers watching a field hockey game at Bates College one autumn during Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The players wore high pink socks. They played with a pink ball. Pink ribbons adorned the field.

“I’ve seen a lot of sports teams do this in October,” she said.

Now her team, along with other swim teams in the Western Maine Conference and Southern Maine Athletic Conference, is joining the effort by sporting pink bathing caps this week and next. The goal is to raise awareness of breast cancer, as well as to raise money for research and to show support for families and individuals affected by cancer.

Families like Howard’s.

Her diagnosis of breast cancer came in September 2010. She had three daughters — Jenny, Jessica and Sarah — come through the Greely program. Jessica is now a senior diver at Bates and Sarah is a freshman rower at Emory University.

Greely Coach Rob Hale made the pink cap proposal at a coaches’ meeting in the fall and received enthusiastic support.

“This was unexpected,” Howard said. “I was very touched.”

At least two other coaches in the league are dealing with other types of cancer. Barbara Adrian, a former science teacher at Deering High, died last summer from breast cancer.

“I’m a little nervous that the emotions will be a little higher, a little more powerful once they have their caps on and look around,” said Deering High Coach Angie Marcotte, who grew up swimming with Mrs. Adrian’s daughter and shared many a carpool ride. “But it’s important for kids to realize the value of life and what they have and what people struggle with.”

Howard said that if the effort compels even one woman to get a mammogram who otherwise would not have done so, she’ll consider it worthwhile.

“It truly is about awareness,” she said. “For the young girls in particular, this disease may impact them, it may impact their friends. And for the boys, it may impact their mothers, their future wives. When it becomes personal, they’re willing to support the cause.”

CHEVERUS will have a quick turnaround this weekend after a meet with Greely in Cumberland Friday night. The bus is scheduled to leave at 7 a.m. Saturday for a meet at Husson College against perennially powerful Bangor.

“We’re just starting it up again,” Cheverus Coach Kevin Haley said of the long-dormant Cheverus-Bangor rivalry. “I think the late ’70s was the last time we’ve gone up there. I know (Bangor coaches) Phil Emery, Cindi Howard and myself are very excited.”

Bangor’s boys’ and girls’ teams won Class A titles last winter. Haley expects his boys to be competitive and his girls to learn from the experience.

“It’s all about getting exposure to fast swimming,” he said.

THE STATE RECORD for the girls’ 200-yard medley relay is 9 years old and in jeopardy. The Cape Elizabeth quartet of sophomores Hannah Homans and Sydney Wight and seniors Heather Kraft and Gabrielle Cloutier swam a time of 1:52.21 Friday in a meet with McAuley.

It was the second time coach Ben Raymond configured his relay with the fab four and both resulted in a sub 1:53 time.

The record of 1:51.20 already belongs to former Cape Elizabeth swimmers Taylor McFarlane, Whitney Rockwell, Emily Caras and Emilie Youmans, achieved at the 2002 Southwestern meet at Davan Pool in Westbrook.

KENNEBUNK DIVERS fill three of the top four scoring positions among Class A girls and three of the top six overall. All three are juniors: Tori Leonard, Grace Patterson and Danielle Richard.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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