PREVIEW: Centennial Conference

For our first conference preview, we travel to the eastern part of the US and specifically eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland to look at the Centennial Conference. Last year, 11 total swimmers represented the conference at the NCAA Division III Championships, and eight of those swimmers return for the 2018-19 season with hopes of more joining them in Greensboro.

In 2018, the Ursinus women rolled to their fifth-straight league title by more than 300 points while Gettysburg reclaimed the men’s title with a 215-point victory.

Here are our projected standings with previews:

CENTENNIAL WOMEN:

  1. Ursinus – The margin won’t be the 326 points over Swarthmore that it was last year, as the graduation of 2018 Most Outstanding Performer Sydney Gundersen and fellow HM All-Americans Meggie Leitz and NCAA B-cut flyer Katherine Porter all amount to a significant dent and loss of 195 individual points and 8 “A” relay swims. However, Ursinus does return the conference’s lone individual All-American from 2018 in Clara Baker (HM, 100 Fly) and fellow relay HM All-Americans Peyton Lyons and Sophie May (’18 Outstanding Rookie). Add in the strongest recruiting class in the league – both Sophia Lear (23.72/52.43/1:55.24 FR, 2:11.82 2IM, 1:07.6 1BR) and Katie Schultz (2:28.9 2BR, 2:11.1/4:33.5 IM, 55.4/1:57.2/5:03.9 FR) could win conference titles and the league’s Outstanding Rookie Award while Liv Rachael (24.38/53.14 FR) could be a big relay piece – and the Bears have little to worry about in 2019.
  2. Swarthmore – The Garnet lose much less than Ursinus, but Maggie Eberts is a big loss, and her 50 individual points in the Breast/IM events and spots on four A relays will need to be filled. However, sophomore Hannah Kloetzer returns off her NCAA selection in the 1650 from last year, as do two other 40+ point scorers in junior Clare Cushing and senior Scout Clark. Anna Lyn (24.77/52.52/1:54.1, 58.82 1FL) may be the best of a strong recruiting class and will have a shot at titles in the 100 and 200 Free, while Liz Gallagher (24.63/54.32 FR, 58.53/2:10.2 FL) and Anna Kottakis (24.53/53.03/1:57.4, 58.33/2:07.17 BA) also should reach several A finals.
  3. Gettysburg – The conference coaches selected Gettysburg ahead of Swarthmore in their preseason poll, but I just don’t see it happening. The Bullets bring in a slightly deeper recruiting class than the Garnets but also lost a lot more, as Savannah Llewellyn, Sadie Stiles, Nicole Farina, Kate Hegwood, and Allie Mueller combined for 137 individual points and 13 total relay (6A/7B) slots. Katie Cooper (24.55/53.3/1:56.8, 2:13.9/4:44 IM), Katie Jenkins (54.5 100FR, 58.7/2:10.9 FL, 2:12.2 IM), Cate Kosko (25.2/54.08/1:56.7), and Megan Wojnar (54.8/1:55.3/5:04/18:01, 2:07.2 2BA, 2:11/4:36 IM) all make major impacts for the team.
  4. Franklin & Marshall – F&M is a pretty good step behind the top three programs in the league, but they do seem to be trending in the right direction. The Diplomats lose just 52 individual points and two A relay slots from the 2018 Centennial Championships and return their top two individual scorers in junior Katherine Hirsch and Grace Pereles. However, their real strength may be among their newcomers. Tara Kupsky (2:08/4:38 IM, 54.29/1:58.6/18:17 FR, 57.96 1FL) should be one of the league’s top freshmen and immediately could content for conference crowns in the IM events, while Amelia Bothwell (54.7 100FR, 17:40 1650, 2:12.4 2BA, 2:10.7 2FL) and Skye Howes (24.85/54.58 FR) also should be major contributors.
  5. Dickinson – Distance standout Olivia Lyman and classmate Katie Schmidt return to lead the Red Devils for their senior seasons, and Dickinson returns all but 2 individual points and a single A relay slot. Their eight-woman recruiting class isn’t particularly strong, but Sasha Arefyev (25.31/55.04/1:57.8/5:12), Brooke Kelly (54.8 100FR, 4:53 4IM), and Kelly Hester (2:33 2BR) should all be able to score right away.
  6. Washington – Washington finished ahead of Dickinson both at last year’s championships and in this year’s preseason coaches’ poll, but the Shorewomen graduated breaststroke standout Jenni Clune, Katie Gorman, and three other seniors, totaling 72 individual points and nine A-relay slots. Seniors Julia Portmann and Anna Schmittle lead the returners, but, from our research, only Teresa Draves (2:21 2FL, 4:50 4IM) and Anna Hall (1:00/2:17 FL) are expected to make much of an impact this year from the team’s nine newcomers.
  7. McDaniel – The Green Terror lost a lot – seven of the 12 swimmers on the team’s roster from 2017-18 are not returning, counting for a total of 61 individual points, 10 A-relay slots, and eight B-relay slots. Samantha Smith (40 pts, 4 A-relays) is the biggest lost by far, but Blair Boyle and Sara Hegna do return after combining for 60 individual points last year. The Green Terror will need their five freshmen to contribute immediately – Cambrie Cooke (1:00/2:11 BA, 1:00.7 FL, 4:43 4IM) is best set to make an impact.
  8. Bryn Mawr – Bryn Mawr’s 2018-19 roster is still not on their website. The Owls didn’t have a single senior on last year’s roster, but new HC Pat McDevitt has a lot of work in front of him, as senior Lillian Oyen-Ustad was one of just three swimmers to score individual points and the only one to break double figures (23). Just a few strong newcomers could give the Owls enough to challenge McDaniel, but until we see the roster, we have to leave Bryn Mawr here.

CENTENNIAL MEN

  1. Gettysburg – Yes, the Bullets lose 2x Centennial Most Outstanding Performer and 8x All-American Ty Dougherty, and that’s a loss that can’t be understated, but Dougherty is the only one of the team’s top-12 scorers from last year’s championships not returning. Aedan Collins, Josh Parker, Adam Dias, And Jack Edelson all scored 40 points or more at the 2018 league meet, and a strong four-man recruiting class should offset Dougherty’s departure. Jack Freeman (1:45/4:45 FR, 52.4/1:57.5 FL, 1:56.8/4:24 IM) returns after not being on the roster last year, and CJ Hewitt (16:33 1650, 52.8/1:58.9 FL, 4:16.8 4IM), Sam Nonemaker (21.6/46.7/1:43 FR, 1:57.6/4:24.6 IM), and Oliver Pickering (17:23 1650, 52.22/1:54.78 FL) all should make significant impacts.
  2. Swarthmore – The Garnet return their top four scorers from the 2018 Championships, including the three who earned trips to NCAAs in Alec Menzer (’18 Outstanding Rookie), Jeffrey Tse, and Michael Lutzker. Chris Smith and Charles Yang also return from relays that achieved B-Cuts in 2018. Swarthmore does lose 74.5 points and two A-relay slots (14 B-relay slots) from last year, but they bring in six recruits, all of whom are capable of scoring immediately. Jeremy Rockaway (51.27/1:52.69 FL, 1:54.6/4:05.3 IM, 2:05.89 2BR) should contend for multiple league titles right away, and Ethan Bergmann (21.6/47.0/1:42.6, 52.77 1FL), Horace Shew (51.4/1:55.5 BA, 59.4/2:10.7 BR, 52.9 FL, 1:56 2IM), and Tom Ward (1:44.8/4:42 FR, 55.3/2:03.5 BA, 53.0 1FL) should all score big points. Gettysburg’s 215-point win over the Garnet in 215 was exaggerated (Swarthmore DQd 3 relays (2A, 1B), and Swarthmore will close the gap to under 50 points, but I think they ultimately come up just short, despite perhaps having more NCAA selections once again.
  3. Washington – Washington loses 34 ind. points and seven A-relay slots from 2018 but does return its top seven individual scorers and has no seniors on its 2018-19 roster. Jake Brown (42 pts, 4 A-relays), Andrew Feeley (40 pts, 2/2 relays), and Aidan Sullivan (40 pts, 4 A-relays) are among the team’s top returners, and Leo Johnson, Teague Sauter and Brett Edwards all reached multiple A-finals. The Shoremen have just two newcomers, but Joseph Bozzi (2:12.5 2BR, 50.8/1:55.4 FL, 1:55.2/4:26 IM) may be one of the league’s top rookies, and Nate Braddock (55.1 1BA, 4:25.98 4IM) should be able to contribute as well. The league’s coaches have Washington behind both F&M and Ursinus in their preseason poll, but all three squads lost similar amounts to what they are projected to have brought in, so we are leaving Washington here for now… though 3-5 will be VERY close.
  4. Franklin & Marshall – Christopher Schiavone returns after finishing as conference runner-up in three events last year and reaching the NCAA Championships in the 50 free, but standout flyer Eric Dietrich-Peterson transferred to D1 Penn. Alec Wahl and Timothy Gould also return for the Diplomats, but, including Dietrich-Peterson, F&M lost 136 individual points, nine A-relay slots, and 12 B-relay slots to graduation or other departures. They did bring in the deepest recruiting class in the conference. Thomas Graminski (56.72/2:03.67 BR, 51.11 1FL, 1:52.3/4:16.94) could win multiple conference titles immediately, and Adam Moskus (21.27/46.42/1:42.92 FR) and Brendan Cline (21.49/47.2/1:43.5/17:06 FR, 52.06 1FL) should both be major factors.
  5. Ursinus – The Bears return eight of their top nine scorers and lose just two  scorers (42 ind., 3/2 relays) from last year’s league championships. Jacob Menzer (48 pts, 2/2 relays) leads the way and will look to make it to nationals in the 500 after notching a B-Cut last year, while Casey Lear, Michael Prior, and James Callaghan all scored 31 or more points. Ryan Carkuff (21.14/47.2 FR, 56.29 1BA) is the best of a seven-man recruiting class, while Daniel Mueser (21.80 50, 52.24 1FL) should also be a significant factor.
  6. Dickinson – The Red Devils return four of their top five scorers, but Dickinson does lose four seniors, including Mitch Reynolds, who combined for 66 individual points and 12 relay slots (6/6). Will Freeman, conference champ and B-cut in the 400 IM, leads the way for Dickinson while Graham Novitch and Kiernan Jordan are also key returners. Ben Should (50.23 1FL, 56.36 1BA) is the best of the team’s seven newcomers, while Logan Cort (1:44.3/4:44.4/17:08) and Damon St. Prix (47.44/1:43.6 FR) should impact their events.
  7. McDaniel – McDaniel was a distant seventh in 2018 and that shouldn’t change this year. They lost two swimmers to graduation who combined for just seven individual points (6 A-relay slots), but neither of their recruits shows up on CollegeSwimming.com, so we aren’t expecting much there. Paul Van Nevel, the Green Terror’s only individual A-final swimmer from last year, will look to have a strong senior season after reaching seven A-finals over his first three years.

Projected Award Winners:

  • Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Peyton Lyons, Ursinus
  • Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Sophia Lear, Ursinus
  • Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Alec Menzer, Swarthmore
  • Men’s Newcomers of the Year: Thomas Graminski, F&M/Jeremy Rockaway, Swarthmore

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