PREVIEW: Landmark Conference

Both the Susquehanna women and Catholic men defended their Landmark titles in 2018, and we think that both will do the same in 2019. Both the Catholic and Scranton women should close the gap on Susquehanna, however, and on the men’s side, the exciting race will be between Scranton and Drew for third place. We aren’t sure if this will be Marywood’s last year in the Landmark, as the institution joined the newly-formed Atlantic East, which is hosting its own swimming and diving championships for the first time this year, but, at least for this year, the Pacers have the Landmark Championships on their schedule.

Here are our projected standings with previews:

LANDMARK WOMEN:

  1. Susquehanna – The River Hawks’ bid for a ninth-straight conference title isn’t quite a sure thing, as the losses of Joann Butkus (46.5 pts, 4 relays), Jess Jozefiak (44.5, 3r), and diver Rachael Wood (24) are significant. By their times on CollegeSwimming.com, the recruiting class doesn’t seem to have enough to offset those losses, but D-I St. Francis (PA) transfer Olivia Fravel (25.67/54.79/1:58.97, 1:05.47/2:22.84 BR, 1:00.1 FL, 2:11.95 IM) will help. Senior Katie Willis will lead the way and look to take the next step from the B-cut she earned last year, and SU also returns four other 40-points scorers from last year’s league meet: Caitlin Kelly (48), Megan Shaffer (47), Tori Weems (47), and Abby Condon (41).
  2. Catholic – Like the CUA men, the Catholic women lost more than any other team in the conference, as graduates Madison Amann, Basira Knight, Riley Hawblitzel, Rachel Chain, and Brooke Krajewski combined for 135 points last year. The Cardinals do return six of their top seven scorers, however, including 40-point scorers Caroline Beal (48, 4 relays), Rachael Zarlinski (46, 3r), and Morgan James (40, 4r). Their 20 (yes, 20!) woman recruiting class is also has the deepest talent level in the league. Angela Castano (24.41/55.48/2:07.19, 59.18 FL) should be one of the best newcomers in the league, while Cagney Boyle (2:03.91 200, 1:03/2:12 BA, 1:10.4/2:30 BR, 2:17.2 IM), Megan Leibfreid (24.69 50, 59.66 BA), Margaret Angotti (25.41/55.3/2:00.5, 1:01.6 BA), Kelly Smith (57.2/2:06 FR, 1:02.7/2:17.4 BA, 1:03.8 FL, 2:21.7/4:57.7 IM), and Kate Von Heeringen (56.2/2:00 FR, 1:12/2:38 BR, 2:19.9 IM) should all fight for scoring roster spots come February. We still don’t think it’s quite enough to catch Susquehanna, but it should be a much closer race.
  3. Scranton – Lauren Byrne is back after a sensational freshman year that saw her win a trio of LC titles (2IM, 1BR, 1BA), as are seniors Claire Mason (50 pts., 2BR champ) and Susan Neggia (38) and junior Jenna Harper (45). In fact, the Royals return their top 12 scorers and lose just 29 individual points in total. Add in two of the league’s top newcomers, and Scranton is poised to greatly close the gap between them and Catholic. DI Duquesne transfer Audrey Campo (24.06/53.5/1:58.1, 1:04.2/2:17.5 BR, 59.75/2:16.2 FL, 2:06.5/4:36.6 IM) could win multiple conference titles, as could freshman Amber Diehl (24.06/54.48/2:04.47, 1:04.1/2:24.3 BR), and both will greatly improve Scranton’s relays.
  4. Drew – Drew returns three of its top four scorers in LC Swimmer of the Year and HM All-American Mal Vishwanath (200/500/1650 champ, 4 relays), Stephanie Cushman (54 pts, 2BA champ, 2 relays), and Katie Jefferson (37, 4 relays), but the Rangers did lose swimmer/diver Jenny Stein (53, 1M champ, 4 relays) and Jamie Riffel (31, 3 relays). Six newcomers will help to make up those points, led by Sydney Everhart (56.97/2:06.62 FR, 1:03.28 BA, 58.28/2:12.72 FL, 2:21 IM), Mackenzie Garcia Hynds (24.59/53.46/1:56.96, 59.69/2:19.16 FL, 2:12.55 IM), and Abby Shapiro (54.85/1:59.40/5:11.9/18:19, 1:03.6/2:14 BA, 4:53 IM) should all make an impact at the league championships immediately.
  5. Marywood – Marywood returns its top two individual scorers in Mia Nardone (51 pts., 2FL champ) and Julia Randolph (39) and also has 18 of its 20 relay slots back. The loss of diver Courtney Snyder is significant and could prevent the Pacers for challenging Drew ahead of them, but Maia Clasby (1:08.42/2:39 BR, diver) and Emily Bubel (1:03.9/2:20.3 FL, 5:07.7 IM) should both help to offset those points.
  6. Juniata – Sophomore Alex Fontes will look to take the next step after leading the team in individual scoring in 2018, but it’s a pair of freshmen that will be the biggest difference in the Eagles being able to move out of the Landmark basement. Tabi Dettelback (1:03.95/2:22.2 BA, 1:10.8/2:33 BR) will certainly score. Cassie Sanidad is an interesting case – her top times (25.59 50, 1:05.28/2:26.9 BR, 1:02.6/2:23.9 FL, 4:46 IM) would earn major points at the Landmark Championships, but they are all from the 16-17 season or earlier. Juniata will need her to return to that form to make the leap to sixth.
  7. Elizabethtown – Sara Lingo (47 pts., 3 relays) is back after a breakout sophomore year that saw her win the Landmark 400 IM title and finish top-6 in both the 500 and 1650. However, the rest of the team scored just 16 individual points, and graduate Dru Schneider earned seven of them. Freshman Marin Adams (5:30.8 500, 1:04.4/2:19.2 FL, 2:21.9/5:14 IM) has the potential to score in several events.
  8. Goucher – Goucher lost four of its top eight scorers to graduation – none more important than senior Alexis Regopoulos (42 pts., 1 relay) – and also saw Alexis Liszewski (28 pts., 4 relays) leave after her freshman year for DI Saint Louis. Those losses mean the Gophers return just 45 of the 128 individual points they scored last season, with 36 of those belonging to senior Ila Jackson. Hallie Stewart (2:04.47 FR, 2:17.79 BA, 2:19.87 IM) and Caitlin Cunningham (2:04.67/5:26 FR) lead an eight-woman recruiting class.

LANDMARK MEN:

  1. Catholic – Yes, Catholic lost more than any team in the conference, and the losses of Peter Bajorek (43 pts) and diver Joseph Soraghan (37pts, 1M Champ) to graduation and Olivier Nguyen (46.5, 4 relays) and David Lindros (38) to early departure are not to be scoffed at, but they aren’t going to offset the Cardinals’ 300-point victory at last year’s league meet. Conference Swimmer of the Year Gregory McCarthy (2IM/4IM/2BR champ) will look to take the next step as a sophomore after a somewhat disappointing NCAA Championships, as will classmates Matt Mahon (50/100/200 FR champ) and James Verby (500/1650 champ). Three other 40-point scorers – Sam Hicks (46), Kevin Jay (46), and Luke Nicholson (42) – are also back, and the Cardinals added one of the league’s top recruits in Daniel Taylor (22.05/47.27/1:43.4, 58.8/2:13.3 BR, 54.69 FL, 1:55.8/4:14.9 IM). Jeffery Schriefer-Flores (21.65/48.1/1:46.2/4:57, 54.5/1:59 BA, 53.1 FL, 1:58 IM) and Lenny Brown (50.0/1:48/4:52/18:08) are two of several other newcomers who should be able to factor into Catholic’s scoring lineup.
  2. Susquehanna – The River Hawks should close the gap a bit on Catholic this year and gain a little more distance from Scranton in third, but they are probably locked into second at this point. SU does return its top 11 scorers from the ’18 Landmark Championships, led by double backstroke champion David Grove (54.5 pts., 4 relays), triple runner-up James Orzolek (51, 4r), Owen Madden (46, 1r), and Brett Walker (44, 4r). A deep recruiting class, led by Eric Towse (1:54.8 200, 54.3/1:57.3 BA, 1:02.9/2:17.5 BR, 2:03.2/4:20.7 IM) and Tanner Kronski (1:00.69/2:19.9 BR, 2:02.9 IM), should make the team better. Ryan King (1:50.44 200, 56.6/2:03.4 BA), Mian Laubscher (21.84 50), and Diego Mendieta (22.7/50.06/1:51.6, 55.8 BA, 52.75 FL) should all factor in, as well.
  3. Scranton – Scranton likely won’t make any moves in the conference standings this year, as their freshman class doesn’t seem poised to do much more than offset the losses of graduates Patrick Blaser (36 pts., 3 relays) and Joseph Vannucci (36). Junior Tim Quigley (1FL, 1BR champ, 54pts.) is back to lead the way, as are sophomores Matthew Mills (47) and John Fimmano (42) and junior diver Michael Diana (3M champ). Jack Donnelly (22.23/50.09/1:52.96, 57.1 BA, 58.05/2:08.4 BR, 2:02.2 IM) and Caleb Vreeland (22.39, 59.91 BR, 2:01.25 IM) are the best of a six-man recruiting class.
  4. Drew – Without a single senior on the roster, Drew will turn to a trio of juniors – its top three scores at 2018 Landmarks – to lead the way in Michael Ma (46 pts, 4 relays), Jack Mahoney (46, 4r) and Garrett Pilkington (44, 1r). Four of their five freshmen should be able to make an impact and more than offset the loss of Mack Fox (34, 1r). Josh Roberts (21.97/48.11/1:44.8/4:52.4, 55.6/1:59.9 BA) and Jacob Zajdzinksi (21.95/47.45/1:57.6) should have the biggest impact, with Patrick Nowak (1:00.4/2:23.6 BR, 2:01.9 IM) and Ben Garratt (49.7/1:48.2, 53.57/2:03.9 FL) not far behind.
  5. Elizabethtown – The Blue Jays will likely be in pretty much the same place they found themselves last year – solidly ahead of sixth but far behind fourth. Alex Pecher (26 pts., 4 relays), Nick Petrella (23, 1 relay), and Casey Marshall (22, 4 relays) are all back, but there are no evident immediate helps among the freshmen class – Brock Culver (1:58 200) and Alex Patterson (1:55.4 200) appear to have the most potential early on.
  6. Marywood – Nick Dubinski (32 pts., 3 relays) will look to build on a terrific freshman season and Blake Burlingame (29, 4 relays) returns as a grad student as the Pacers return their top five scorers from the 2018 Landmark meet. Marywood added just two newcomers; diver Carson Barry, if he can put together a 3-meter list, could be one of the team’s top scorers.
  7. Juniata – Juniata didn’t score a single point at the Landmark Championships last year, as they only had three swimmers, preventing them from composing relays. Six newcomers takes care of that problem, meaning they should have an automatic 110 upon which to build. Two of those six newcomers should be able to do some damage individually, with Hunter Mona (1:52.36/4:56 FR, 2:09.6 BA, 2:23.6 BR, 4:23 IM) being the most sure thing. Much like with Sanidad for the Eagle women, Brady Ott (21.41/46.97/1:46.78, 55.27/1:58.6 BA, 52.8/2:05.3 FL, 2:00.4 IM) has best times that could score significant points in a variety of events, but they are from a few years ago. If he returns to form, Juniata will have a few building blocks for the years to come; if not, they’ll be neck and neck with Goucher for the seven-spot.
  8. Goucher – Goucher returns just three swimmers from last season, as their top two scorers in Jerel McCored (23 pts., 3 relays) and Ian Furst (9, 3 relays) both graduated. Jacy MacConvery and Andrew Ackerman lead the way for the Gophers, while Marcus Montisano (1:05.85 BR) and Jackson Penner (22.76/1:51.4 FR, 1:03.9 BR) should be the first to contribute among the team’s seven newcomers.

Projected Award Winners:

  • Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Mal Vishwanath, Drew
  • Women’s Diver of the Year: Krista White, Susquehanna
  • Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Audrey Campo, Scranton
  • Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Gregory McCarthy, Catholic
  • Men’s Diver of the Year: Michael Diana, Scranton
  • Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Daniel Taylor, Catholic

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