The Binghamton men's and women's swimming and diving teams will open its 2007-08 season Saturday, October 13 when the Bearcats compete at the Western New York Invitational in Buffalo.

A record eight home meets at Binghamton's Patricia A. Saunders Aquatic Center highlight the 2007-2008 schedule.

"The focus this year is on competition. We are going to be ready to go; wherever and whenever. We will be on the blocks and ready to race. We have plenty of strong competition ahead and we are looking forward to the challenge."

Men's Outlook
Balance and depth will be the keys to the upcoming campaign, as the Bearcats look to replace a celebrated senior class and improve on a historic 2006-07 season.

While Binghamton loses just four letterwinners from last year's team that posted a 6-3 overall record and finished as runners-up at the America East Championships, the Class of 2007 will be difficult to replace.

The departing senior class leaves having set a combined 13 school records during their time at BU, accumulated a 24-8 record in the last three seasons, and putting the first swimmer in school and conference history to qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships.

"Last year was truly a dream season. Our seniors had one standout performance after another and delivered one of the best championship performances that I have ever seen out of a team. We lost three of the best swimmers that will ever come through here. It will be nearly impossible to replace them, their focus, and their performance in the classroom."

Despite the task of replacing a large gap in points and leadership, this year's team returns a talented and versatile core that is prepared to fill the void and eager to leave its own mark on the program.

"The incoming class has really bolstered the middle of our lineup," said Clark. "We are really looking for everybody to raise their performance and contribute just a little more. We will not be able to duplicate the performances at the top of the lineup, but as a team if each person gives just a little more, we can make up the difference."

The Bearcats return 20 letterwinners from last year, highlighted by top returnee junior Brenno Varanda (St. Petersburg, Fla.).

Varanda leads a strong cast of BU breaststrokers and IM swimmers for BU. He is a two-time defending America East 200 breast and 400 IM champion after swimming school-record times in both events at last year's conference meet.

In addition, this past summer he qualified for senior nationals in Indianapolis where he competed alongside some of the nation's top swimmers.

"Brenno continues to amaze me," said Clark. "He has really matured and has just been tearing up the pool so far this fall. We are very excited to see what he can do this season."

With two years of experience under their belt, led by Varanda, the Bearcats strong returning corps of junior swimmers will be expected to take the next the step in 2007-08.

Junior sprinter Brian Koralewski (Floral Park, N.Y.) is at the head of a group that peaked at last year's conference meet.

As a sophomore, Koralewski recorded three top-six finishes in the 50-, 100-, and 200-yard free events and was a part of two record-setting relay wins at the conference meet. He also added a ninth place finish in the 100 free at the ECAC meet.

Juniors Sean Lorenz (Norwich, N.Y.), Andrew Palumbo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), and Peter Rodrick (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) all scored big for the Bearcats at the 2007 conference meet, each registering multiple top-10 finishes. Classmate Michael Popper (Lido Beach, N.Y.) is also expected to contribute in the sprint events.

"They were a bit overshadowed last year, but our junior class will be noticed all year long," said Clark. "Varanda, Koralewski, Palumbo, and Lorenz will all be fighting to be three-event finalists in Feburary. Toss in Rodrick as a returning muliple-event finalist, and a healthy Popper, and we have our core group that we will look to for big swims in key moments."

The assignment of maintaining the squad's recent string of success will also rest largely upon the shoulders of BU's returning underclassmen.

"Coming into last season, I wasn't sure whether we had an impact class coming in or not. But, the boys made some noise at the end of last year and have come back this fall as new swimmers. They are better, stronger, and more confident and I fully expect to see them continue to improve as the season progresses."

Sophomores John Blatchford (Amsterdam, N.Y.), Alex Goldstein (Huntington, N.Y.), and Brian Jacobs (Bloomingburg, N.Y.), and Craig Juergens (Boylston, Mass.) all made immediate contributions in their first collegiate seasons.

Blatchford clocked in at 1:57.38, the eighth fastest 200 fly time in school history, en route to a fifth place finish at the 2007 America East Championships. The versatile Goldstein also excelled at the meet, scoring in three events (200 fly, 400 IM and 1650 free).

Last season, Jacobs was a key factor in middle-distance and distance events for the Bearcats. He registered three top-ten finishes at the AE Championships and already finds himself on the all-time Bearcat top-time list in the 1000 and 1650 free.

Juergens was a triple-event point-scorer at the conference meet, highlighted by a pair of 12th-place finishes. Sophomore Ziyad Rouhana (Vestal, N.Y.) is also expected to compete in the distance events this season.

The senior trio of Michael Britvan (Pleasantville, N.Y.), Dylan Hobe (New Windsor, N.Y.), and Bryan Kwiatkowski (Garnerville, N.Y.) will be counted on to provide leadership and experience as BU's tri-captains.

Britvan swam career-best times in a pair of backstroke events (100 and 200) as well as the 500 free at last year's conference meet.

Hobe placed eighth in the 100 breast at the AE Championship and is one of the team's top returning breaststrokers.

Kwiatkowski was a triple-event point scorer at the conference meet during his sophomore season.

"The three captains find themselves in a new position they didn't need to prepare for previously because of past leadership. The team is so together and they all have the makeup and focus necessary to make the transition smoothly."

Also returning are seniors Jason Lapp (Linwood, N.Y.) and Joseph Rogan (Ithaca, N.Y.). Lapp recorded two top-10 finishes at conference championships, while Rogan timed in a career-best 21.75 in the 50 free last season.

Junior Ryan Graham (Vestal, N.Y.) leads a trio of returning divers that will help the Bearcats in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Last season, Graham placed fourth in both dives at the conference championship.

Senior Matt Russo (Manhattan, N.Y.) and sophomore Bob Nolte (Schenectady, N.Y.) reached the finals of both the one- and three-meter championships and will also add points on both boards for BU.

"We again expect Ryan to be outstanding on the boards. We will also look to both Matt and Bob to show off some new dives throughout the season."

Binghamton also welcomes five newcomers to the mix for the 2007-08 season, including a four-member freshman class. While it may be a small class, all the newcomers come in with the potential to put up points in the dual and championship meets.

Expected to lead the 2011 class is impact newcomer Jason Chen (Livingston, N.J.). Chen's versatility makes him a threat in the IM, backstroke and butterfly events, as well as on the team's relay squads.

Coming off strong preseason performances Kevin Kearney (Latham, N.Y.), Matthew McCort (Commack, N.Y.) and Derek Rusinak (Staten Island, N.Y.), as well as sophomore Rutgers transfer Cole Courtemanche (Gardner, Mass.) all figures to make an immediate contribution to BU's lineup.

"You can expect to see a different sort of makeup from this year's team. We might struggle a bit in dual meets, but our improved depth should make us stronger at the championship meet. Come the end of the year, we will really see how we stack up."

Women's Outlook
Youth is the name of the game for the 2007-08 Binghamton women's swimming and diving squad which features 19 underclassmen, including nine freshmen and 10 sophomores.

"On the women's side, we are young, but we have great leadership. I am hoping to really step up in conference this season, but as much as we continue to improve, the rest of the conference does as well. That being said, the goal is to take another step forward, and have more of our women score at conference."

The Bearcats will look to improve upon its seventh-place finish at the America East Championships. BU posted a pair of dual meet victories this season, highlighted by a solid victory over conference rival Stony Brook.

Binghamton returns 23 letterwinners, led by sophomore Allyce Brand (Highland Park, Ill.), who is coming off a stellar freshman campaign in which she earned team MVP honors.

Brand was the highest-placing Bearcat at the America East Championships, where she finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke. She was also the team's only individual point scorer at the ECAC meet.

"Allyce continues to see the rewards of her hard work," said Clark. "She is excited and ready to get her sophomore campaign underway."

Senior tri-captains Amanda Decker (Rhinebeek, N.Y.), Bridget Dormer (Northport, N.Y.), and Nicole Sweeney (Commack, N.Y.) head the list of other top returning point scorers.

Decker has steadily improved over the past two seasons and with her experience and leadership, she figures to be an essential component on this year's squad.

Dormer again is among the top Bearcat competitors in both the IM and backstroke events. Last season, she placed 16th in the 400 IM at 2007 America East Championships.

Sweeney was tabbed as the team's Most Improved Swimmer last year on the women's side. She improved nine spots, moving from 16th to 7th place, and cut 40 seconds off her career-best time in the 1650 freestyle at the conference meet. Sweeney was also a consolation finalist in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing 11th.

The sophomore duo of Taryn Ferrara (Morristown, N.J.) and Rita Brodfuehrer (Syracuse, N.Y.) continue the youth movement as consistent point scorers for BU. Ferrara recorded top-15 finishes in both the 50- and 100-free events at the conference meet. Brodfuehrer took 16th place and qualified for the ECAC meet in the 100 fly.

A tenacious competitor, junior Heather Jennings (Ridge, N.Y.) returns as a solid contender in her specialty event the 400-yard IM.

Heading the list of newcomers is freshman Lyndsi Worthington (Leawood, Kan.). Worthington was an All-American backstroker and four-year letterwinner at Blue Valley North High School.

Freshman Nicole Sheridan (Garden City, N.Y.) also figures to contribute in both the IM and breaststroke events for the Bearcats. Newcomers
Brittany Detlef (Rochester, N.Y.), Jordyn Kline (Amsterdam, N.Y.), and Kelsey Anderson (Penfield, N.Y.) highlight the remaining members of a class that figures to make immediate contributions to the BU lineup.

"The incoming class has fit right in with our program," said Clark. "They have come in this fall focused and really are pushing our returnees to bring their effort to a higher level. I expect they will bring us a lot of points."

The diving squad to be solid again with three multiple-event diving finalists, all of whom qualified for last year's ECAC Championships. Juniors Kate Hassfurter (Horseheads, N.Y.) leads the Bearcat efforts on the one-meter and three-meter boards.

Hassfurter is second on all-time Bearcat list in the three-meter dive (270.60) and third in one-meter event (236.85) Last season, she finished eighth in three-meter dive at 2007 America East Championships and posted a sixth-place finish in the three-meter dive at the ECAC meet.

"Kate will once again be our top women's diver--every year she adds new dives and brings some pizzazz to the boards".

Juniors Melanie Gelfand (Syosset, N.Y.), and Kristin Maney (New Paltz, N.Y.), along with freshman newcomer Elizabeth Esposito (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also figure to score points for the Bearcat women.

"She'll be followed by much improved classmates Kristin Maney and Melanie Gelfand, both of whom should tally solid points all year long," said Clark. "Elizabeth will grow into a contributor following their leadership."

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