Releases

For Immediate Release: October 13, 2006
Contact: Anthony G. Naglieri (sports@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-2956

Swimming and diving teams set to embark on new era
Bearcats hit the pool for first time this weekend at WNY Invitational

VESTAL, N.Y. - Tremendous optimism surrounds the Binghamton men's swimming and diving teams as they prepare to hit the pools for the first time this weekend at the inaugural Western New York Invitational.

It will be a year of changes for the swimming and diving teams this season, starting at the top where Sean Clark, the team's top assistant since 2004, enters his first season as the Bearcats' top poolside mentor. Joining Clark and diving coach Anna Tutunnkova on this year's staff is new assistant Aimee Bourassa.

With a new-look to its staff and plenty of new faces on board, both squads expect to make big splashes in 2006-07.

Men's Outlook

With only two letterwinners gone from last year's squad that finished 9-2 as the conference runnerups for the third consecutive season, the men's side is brimming with excitement.

"There is a lot of energy and enthusiasm resonating throughout the program," said head coach Sean Clark. "With a strong returning contingent and a number of solid newcomers, we plan to make sure people start taking notice of what Binghamton swimming and diving is all about."

Behind the strong leadership of co-captains Brian Koizim and Trevor Stone, as well as fellow classmates David Holmes and Pat Hart, the Bearcats are anchored by a senior class that has competed at a high level throughout their tenure at BU.

"This is a special senior class," said Clark. "They are not just our best swimmers, they are also the true motivators of our team."

Holmes, the team's top returnee and reigning BU Athlete of the Year, produced an exceptional junior season in 2005-06. In 33 races throughout the year, he set six school records, seven America East records, seven conference wins and in his final meet of the season, was named ECAC Swimmer of the Meet. Heading into his final season, the sky is the limit for the fleet englishman.

"We expect to see a lot of big things from David this year," said Clark. "I have never seen him this fit or swim this fast at such an early juncture in the season. The sky is the limit."

As a junior, Koizim captured All-Conference honors in three individual events, placing second in both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke and third in the individual medley at the conference championships. This year he will once again be relied upon heavily to score as the team's top returning distance swimmer.

Stone, a three-time captain and another of the team's top swimmers in the butterfly events, will look to continue his stellar BU career. As a sophomore, he won the ECAC Championship in the 100 fly and placed second in that same event at the conference meet as well as fourth in the 200 fly.

Several top returnees in addition to some blue-chip newcomers put the Bearcats in a good position to stay near the top of the America East.

“This is the deepest team we've had since I have been here. There is not a person on this squad that doesn't have the potential to score at conference."

Sophomore Ryan Graham is the squad's top diver returning from last season. A Vestal native, he enjoyed a stellar freshman campaign in which he placed third in the three-meter and fourth in the one-meter diving events. The addition of freshman Robert Nolte also figures to bolster the diving corps in both dual meets as well as at the championships.

Sophomore Brenno Varanda will again be one of the top breaststroke and individual medley swimmers in the America East. As a freshman, he captured conference titles in both the 200 breast and the 400 IM while placing second in the 200 IM.

Junior Joseph Rogan should again excel in sprint events while the breaststroke duo of Dylan Hobe and Jason Lapp also should play prominent roles.

Coming off strong preseason performances, freshmen Philip Dzieniszewski and Brian Jacobs are also expected to make immediate contributions to the Bearcats' lineup.

"I expect both Philip and Brian to make great contributions to our lineup. Phil has the potential to be excellent for us in the sprint events while Brian has shown to be a very solid distance competitor."

Looking ahead to the America East Meet, Clark feels that although the reigning champion UMBC will again be the favorites to repeat, the Bearcats should not be far behind.

"I expect UMBC to again be the top dog at conference. While we might not have the guns yet to overtake them, you can bet we will be right there nibbling at their toes."

Women's Outlook

On the strength of one of the program's largest incoming freshmen classes, the Binghamton women's swimming & diving team heads into the 2006-07 season determined to climb the ranks of the America East Conference.

"I believe we will see the women take a big step forward this season," head coach Sean Clark said. "We have a bigger team and should place a lot more swimmers at the conference championship this year."

The squads top returnee is Croatian sophomore Aleksandra Grubic. As a freshman, Grubic's top time in the 100 free ranked fourth in the conference while her best marks in 50 and 200 were both within the top ten. Prior to Binghamton, she was the Junior Croatian Champion and had held several Croatian Junior National records as a relay member.

"Aleksandra is coming off a great freshman year in which she improved significantly," said Clark. "She has had a strong preseason and we expect her to continue to excel."

Sophomore co-captain Bridget Dormer will pace the Bearcats in both the IM and backstroke events. As a freshman, Dormer was a consistent point scorer in the 200 fly.

"Bridget got off to a terrific start last season," said Clark. "She looks to be a high point scorer in all of our meets, making an impact in the conference as well as the ECAC Championship."

Senior and fellow co-captain Monica Friedl's experience and leadership also figures to be an essential part of this year's squad.

"Monica is someone the girls look to both inside and outside the pool," said Clark. "She is a fierce competitor and we expect she will have another strong season."

In the distance events, junior Nicole Sweeney will play an essential role as the team's top swimmer.

Sophomore Katherine Hassfurter returns after a stellar freshman campaign. Hassfurter placed seventh in the three-meter dive at both the America East and ECAC meets.

Contrary to their counterparts on the men's side, this year's women's squad figures to be driven by a young core of underclassmen, including 15 newcomers.

Highlighting the new faces is the freshman trio of freestylers Allyce Brand and Lindsay Wright and diver Anne Malvasi.

"Allyce, Anne, and Lindsay are three girls that have a tremendous amount of potential," Clark said. "They'll have the opportunity to come in and compete for top spots right away and will only get better as the season goes on as they gain more experience and confidence."

Last year the Bearcats finished 1-10 overall , seventh in the America East Championship and sent four competitors to the ECAC Championship in Pittsburgh.

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