Men's And Women's Swimming Look To Continue Success
Oct. 3, 2000
Stony Brook, N.Y. - The 1999-2000 season set more than one new precedent in Stony Brook swimming and diving. For starters, it was the program's first year at the Division I level. Not only did the Seawolves respond to the challenge, they qualified more swimmers for the prestigious ECAC Championships than ever before.
Now a new task emerges -- rebounding from the losses of Laura Bartlett and Mike Chang and breaking in 20 newcomers.
Bartlett broke three school records and repeated as the Metropolitan Conference champion in the 400 IM, while Chang set a record in the 200 medley relay and received the Dick Krempecki Most Outstanding Senior Award at the METS Championships.
Although Bartlett and Chang played a key role in Stony Brook's success last season, the Seawolves return plenty of swimmers and divers who were vital to the Seawolves' success in 1999-2000.
Sarah Doret returns for her sophomore season after a stellar freshman campaign. The team's first qualifier for the ECAC Championships, she helped set school records in the 200 and 800 freestyle relays at METS. At ECACs, Doret recorded the best finish for USB, competing in the 1650 freestyle.
"Sarah loves to be challenged," head coach Dave Alexander said. "She always puts the team first."
Doret wasn't the only freshman who wasted no time proving her mettle. Diver Kristi Schubert turned in outstanding performances on both the one- and three-meter boards throughout the season and qualified for ECACs. Not only that, she was only 15 points short of qualifying for the national competition.
"Kristi has set her sights on qualifying for NCAAs in her sophomore year," Alexander said. "She is totally devoted to her sport."
Senior Patty Prehm and sophomore Sue Slepetz are also key returnees in the butterfly and breaststroke, respectively. They both swam on the 200 and 800 free relay teams that set school records at METS.
After steady improvement last season, senior Theresa Dondiego returns and should provide not only team leadership, but also valuable experience. Sophomore Kris Yturraspe was a major contributor in both sprint free relays and breaststroke events last year and should do more of the same this season. Senior Shaden Zakour will compete in breaststroke events.
Senior diver Nicole Kon also returns with more experience and should improve upon last year's finish.
The women's team welcomes eight new faces this fall and they will be counted upon to learn the roles quickly. Freshman Danielle Delosh will compete in the backstroke, freshmen Starlyn Rupinski, Lucy Sawyer and Laura Thorson will be valuable in freestyle events, and freshman Lyndsy Sudol will be a breaststroker. Transfers Nichole Yezzo and sophomore Kim Rubano should add depth. The Seawolves also add a diver in freshman Amanda Vignone.
"Our women's lineup is not going to be easy to recognize with new names in almost every event," Alexander said. "Diving and distance have gotten stronger, but fly and back are huge question marks. This is still a work in progress and matching our first year at Division I will be a testament to the team's hard work. We will have to win through a total team effort."
On the men's side, junior Igor Voloshin returns as one of the strongest breaststrokers in both individual and relay events. At the METS Championships, he broke the school record in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 medley relay, qualifying him for the ECACs.
"Igor, along with the rest of the returning swimmers, are dedicated and hungry coming off last year's championship meet," Alexander said. "We feel that they will all continue to improve and move up in the rankings."
Junior Tim Larkin should once again play a key role in distance freestyle races. The former team MVP and MET Rookie of the Year, Larkin led the men throughout the regular season last year and figures to earn a berth at this year's ECACs.
"Tim is focused on a strong conference performance with career bests in the 500 and the mile," Alexander said.
One of the Seawolves' strongest events last season was the men's 200 medley relay, and three of the team's members return to continue their dominance. Senior Devin Bougie, senior Carlington Simms and sophomore Yohann Littee are all more experienced and should improve upon last year's performance.
"Devin is a seasoned performer who is a true leader in the big meet setting," Alexander said. "Carlington and Yohann keep getting stronger and faster."
Also returning are junior Richard Joe, who will compete in the freestyle, senior John Mills, a backstroker, sophomore Vasiliy Rodin, who competes in the 200 medley relay and freestyle events, sophomore Ray Stensholt, a freestyler, and sophomore Andrew Yalcin, who holds the distinction of being Stony Brook's first male scholarship diver.
The men's team also has its share of newcomers, with 12 athletes entering their first year of competition. In freestyle events will be sophomore Alexander Guzman, freshman Amar Sider, sophomore Pete Lee, junior Angelo Thomas and sophomore Louis Barbero. Freshman Andrew Bollerman will compete in the breaststroke, freshman Jason Ferrara will be a backstroker, and senior Damien McCreath joins Yalcin on the diving board.
"We are very young," Alexander said. "We have a leadership void with Michael Chang and Ted Watabe graduating last year. Our recruiting class has unlimited potential but limited experience. It's going to take some time to develop them into conference finalists."
The Seawolves enter the 2000-01 season with high hopes and expectations. After a breakthrough season in 1999, last year's key contributors will have to step up their production even more and the newcomers will all play important roles as Stony Brook continues to improve. In just one season, the Seawolves expanded their number of ECAC qualifiers from two to nine. From the look of things, the sky is the limit for Stony Brook swimming and diving.