It’s been an offseason of major transition for the Capital Athletic Conference. Marymount departed for the newly formed Atlantic East Conference, reducing the league to just five members. The coaching carousel also set up shop within the league, as three of the five schools have new head coaches in 2018-19. At York, Greg Doyle’s departure to be an assistant at D-I Wingate eventually brought in Eric Rasmussen as the new HC of the Spartans after a lengthy career in the swimming/aquatics realm that has seen HC stints at NJIT and D-I St. Peter’s and assistant jobs at multiple D-I programs, including national powerhouse Texas. When Mary Washington’s HC Abby Brethauer headed north to become associate HC at Tufts, Justin Anderson returned to his alma mater after five years at Frostburg State. That void allowed Bryan Christiansen to take his first HC job at Frostburg after serving as an assistant at both SUNY-New Paltz and John Carroll over the past few years.
With all that said, what really matters is the same: swim fast in February and March. And when it comes to that, not much should change, as Mary Washington and York should be at the top of the league once again in 2018-19.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Mary Washington – The Eagles lost two major pieces in Megan Murphy – one of just two swimmers to win three titles (1IM/1FL/2FL) at CACs – and Maddy Rymer (49 pts). Junior Julia Geskey (57, 4 relays) is back after winning league titles in the 200 and 400 IM and missing invitation to NCAAs in the 4IM by less than half a second, as is Claudia Keller, who won the 500 and 1650 during a standout freshman season. Every swimmer on UMW’s conference roster scored at least 20 points, including five other 40-point scorers (Callie Dunham, Erin Whitesell, Mary Zagrobelny, Kait Luncher, Grace Gartman), so they should be able to absorb some of their losses. Grace Nicolai (57.89/1:57.1/5:05/18:22, 2:09.5 BA, 1:07.9/2:24.8 BR, 1:01.8/2:09.4/4:30.7 IM) is one of the top freshmen in the league and could challenge for multiple conference titles immediately, while Sally Burkley (26.34/57.68/2:02.9, 1:07.7/2:27.9 BR, 59.94/2:29 FL, 2:21.9/4:51 IM), Ingrid Dizon (25.69/55.81 FR, 1:12.3/2:33.9 BR, 1:02.9/2:18 FL, 2:18.8/4:48 IM), and Macey Lynch (26.29/56.96/1:58.7/5:11.9/17:57, 1:01.1/2:12.6 BA, 2:20.7 IM) should all be able to make the conference roster and score major points.
- York – YCP lost more than any other team in the conference, as Jenna Hufnagle (45 pts, 1 relay) didn’t return to go along with the graduations of Rachel Spaulding (45, 3r), Danielle Werner (43, 2r), and Kacy Banks (30), among others. Junior Justine Wantz (53, 3r), the defending champ in both backstrokes, is back, as are triple runner-up Adrianna Ayala (51, 4r) and Andrea Sturgis (47, 2r). The Spartans also get an enormous boost from the return of Madeline Mann, the 2017 CAC Champ in the 500 and 1650 and runner-up in the 200. Kristin Bria (24.75/56.29, 1:10.6 BR), Taylor Harper (25.98/55.15/2:04.1, 1:04/2:25 BA, 1:10.8/2:33.8 BR, 1:00.9/2:27 FL, 2:14.3/4:52.8 IM), and Colleen Mahoney (25.69/55.59/5:14/11:01, 1:02.5/2:11.6 BA, 2:20 FL, 2:15.5 IM) are the best of York’s six newcomers.
- Frostburg State – The Bobcats finally reached the end of the Macey Nitchie era, as the standout sprinter and two-time CAC Swimmer of the Year graduated last spring after sweeping the sprint free events in 2018. However, Frostburg St. does return its next nine scorers from CACs last year, headlined by senior Maddie Weinberger (52 pts., 4 relays), who swept the breaststroke events a year ago. Haley Benedictis (26.46 50, 1:13.2/2:43.8 BR) and Aubree Morris (26.7/58.1/2:05.3, 1:02.3 FL) are the cream of an eight-woman recruiting crop.
- St. Mary’s – SMC still doesn’t have their 18-19 rosters online on their website, so we were forced to use the roster on CollegeSwimming.com. By that roster, SMC does return five of its top six scorers, including Anna LaPoint (43 pts, 4 relays), Hailley Baughman (40, 4r), and Carolyn Sutton (31, 4r). All six recruits are capbable of scoring at the league meet, led by Rileigh Krell (59.84/2:12.8 BA, 1:01.5 FL), Brenna Litynski (26.3/56.7/1:58.5/5:21/19:05, 2:19.6/4:57 IM), and Holly Smith (26.65/57.7, 1:09.77/2:36 BR, 1:03 FL).
- Salisbury – The Seagulls return their top three scorers in Emma Tarnosky (29, 4 relays), Angela Barzanti (23, 4r), and Jordyn Rowe (23, 4r) but not too much beyond that. SU did bring in 10 newcomers, highlighted by Mary Green (26.48/57.75/2:08.54/5:54.5) and Ryane Porter (26.37/58.00/2:05.68/5:49, 5:06.9 IM).
- Mary Washington – While UMW lost more points to graduation (154) than any other team in the league and will miss Kenyon Huber-Wilker (48, 4 relays), Chris Cassingham (38, 1r), Matt Martinez (36), and Anthony Stephens (32), their incredible depth is well equipped to absorb such losses. All 18 of their scoring swimmers from the 2018 CAC Championships scored at least 23 points, including eight returning 40-point scorers. Senior Jeffrey Leckrone, an NCAA qualifier and last year’s CAC 200 Breast champ, leads the way for the Eagles alongside four juniors in Austin Farrar (50, 1r), Carsen Mumford (48, 1r), Noah Carptenter (47, 1r), and Mark Dye (46, 1r). The league’s best recruiting class will help to make up for the team’s losses; Matt Curran (22.24/48.81/1:45.44/4:58, 51.33/1:51 BA, 59.55/2:12 BR, 1:54.85/4:14 IM), Jonathan Brooks (18:34, 57.67/2:07.8 BR, 1:57.3/4:12.3 IM), and Jeffrey Leckrone’s younger brother Thomas (50.33 FR, 52.2 FL) should make the most immediate impacts.
- York – Barring something unexpected, YCP is a lock to finish in second this year, as the Spartans lost as much as UMW without bringing quite as much in. Keven Stahl is back after a sensational freshman year that saw him win three conference titles (500/1650/4IM), garner CAC Rookie of the Year honors, and become an Honorable Mention All-American in the mile. Junior Jesse Tate also won multiple individual titles (2IM/2FL), and Kaelan Dowdell (44 pts.) had a strong freshman season of his own. Graduate Morgan Schreiber (55 pts., 4 relays, 1BA/2BA champ) was the team’s biggest loss, but Trevor Brinton (35.5, 3r), Glaucio Silva (25), and Gabriel Penn (19) didn’t return to the team this year. Five of the team’s seven recruits should be able to score right away, led by Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Gentry (22.06/48.37/1:44.9/4:45/17:55, 51.49/1:56.3 BA, 50.75/1:57 FL, 4:16 IM) and Kyle Shane (50.3/1:47.7/4:49/17:34, 53.3/1:56.7 BA, 4:28 IM).
- Salisbury – The margin between Salisbury and the two teams above them will likely grow even greater this year, as the Seagulls didn’t bring in enough to offset the losses of graduates Conor Johnston (32 pts., 2 relays), Stephen Arcidiacono (31), and Bill James (20) and three underclassmen (14). Junior Josh Brown is back after joining York’s Stahl as the only two swimmers to win three individual titles at the 2018 CAC Championships (50/1FL/1IM). In fact, SU returns its top four scorers, as seniors Peter Moyer (43, 3r), Jake Ryan (37, 4r), and Richard Baker (34, 4r) are also back. However, Brandon Hoagland (49.38/1:50.1 FR, 57.09/2:02.8 BA, 53.9/2:02.2 FL, 2:07.8/4:25.6 IM) is the only newcomer who comes in with times indicating he’ll make a significant impact.
- Frostburg State – The Bobcats simply won’t be able to replace the loss of Christian March, the 2017 and 2018 CAC Swimmer of the Year and last year’s 100 Breast champion, but their top four returning scorers are all freshman, which is a good sign for the years to come. Luke Holloway, the 2018 100 Free champ, will look to build off a fantastic freshman campaign, as will Anthony Giuseppetti. Adam Stein (1:53/5:01/17:25, 4:29.6 IM) and Cameron Edwards (50.8/1:53.9, 59.4/2:09.5 BA, 5:07.8 IM) are the best of FSU’s six-man recruiting class.
- St. Mary’s – The roster situation is the same for the Seahawk men, and the loss of Kieran Broder, Maxwell Madden and two other swimmers to graduation now seems even worse with the apparent early departure of second-leading scorer Colin Cassady (42 pts., 4 relays). It’s possible that Cassady just missed their first meet, and, if that’s the case, we move the Seahawks ahead of FSU into the four-slot. Distance freestyler Andrew Scott (49 pts, 2 relays) is back after a standout freshman season, and juniors Peter Orban (33, 4r) and Ryan Akhavan (23, 1r) also return. Andrew March (9 pts in BR/IM at ’17 CACs) returns to the team after a year away, and Lucas Wheal (23.0/49.1/1:49.7/5:13, 55.7 FL, 2:05.6 IM) appears to be the team’s top freshman.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Julia Geskey, UMW
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Grace Nicolai, UMW
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Keven Stahl, York
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Matt Curran, UMW/Austin Gentry, York
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
The 2018-19 season will be one of transition in the MIAA as one offseason coaching move led to another within the conference. First, let’s give a shoutout to longtime Hope HC Dr. John Patnott, who founded the Hope program in 1978. Patnott will coach his 39th and final season at Hope this year before retiring, and will look to make it a great one for the Flying Dutch(men). Patnott has no shortage of accolades on his resume, highlighted by his three National Coach of the Year honors in the late 80s and early 90s. This offseason, former Hope swimmer Jake Taber ’04 was hired as Patnott’s successor and will spend the 18-19 campaign as co-HC/HC in waiting. Taber’s departure from Albion – where he led the men’s team to it’s first MIAA title in 46 years in 2017 and a narrow runner-up finish last year – allowed for another former Hope swimmer to return to the conference as a HC in Nick Stone.
Last season, Calvin swept the team titles, albeit in very different fashions, as the women won by a sizable 183 points while the men entered the 400 Free Relay tied with Albion, needing to win that final event to squeak out a six-point victory over the Brits. Can the Knights repeat the sweep in 18-19?
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Calvin – The Abby Van Harn era has officially come to a close, as the 2x MIAA Most Valuable Swimmer, 18x All-American, and league record-holder in the 50 and 100 Free has finally exhausted her eligibility, but the cupboard is far from bare for the Knights, as seniors Anna Serino (50 pts, 3 relays), Kendall Murphy (47), and Madelyn Smith (46, 2 relays) are back in an attempt to earn their fourth-straight MIAA titles and number 15 in a row for the Knights. Also back are Hannah Chao (47, 2 relays), Abbey Wellman (45, 1 relay), Emily Gunderson (44, 1 relay), and Libby Engle (41, 2 relays). Serino, Smith, Gunderson, and Engle all joined Van Harn and graduate Rachel Mattson as All-Americans in relay events in 2018 and will look to make the trip to Greensboro in 2019. Most of Calvin’s 13-woman recruiting class should be able to contribute; Grace Ann Delcompare (56.0/2:00.5 FR, 59.15/2:09.3 FL, 2:14.2 IM), Valerie Edewaard (53.8/1:57.6 FR, 58.1 FL, 2:22.6 IM), diver Paige Lynch, Samantha Sonday (2:01/5:25 FR, 1:07.4/2:28.4 BR, 2:19.9 FL, 2:15.9 IM), and Anna Weber (24.68/54.78/2:00.96, 58.9/2:17.8 FL, 2:18.3/4:49 IM) should make the most immediate and significant impacts.
- Hope – Hope beat Albion by just 53 points last season, and, while we think that the Flying Dutch will close the gap on Calvin a bit, their margin over the Lady Brits may be even thinner. Chloe Palajac (57 pts., 1FL/2IM champ) is the team’s lone loss among their top 13 scorers, so Hope has a lot back for Coaches Patnott and Taber, led by Paula Nolte (55, 1BR/2BR), Emma Schaefer (53, 4IM), Meg Peel (52, 1BA/2BA), and Erin Emmert (50, 2FL). Peel will look to bounce back after a disappointing NCAAs, and she will be pushed in her best events by new teammate and Sioux Falls transfer Allison Eppinga (23.62/51.16/1:56.81, 56.18/2:05.3 BA, 59.52 FL), who could take over Van Harn’s role as the league’s top sprinter. Aubrey East (1:07.7/2:29.9 BR, 2:16.1 IM), Alyssa Potyraj (1:08.3/2:33 BR, 2:16.3 IM), Paige Kuhn (1:59.6/5:19 FR) and Abigail LaDuke (1:59.9/5:16 FR) all are freshmen who should make a difference.
- Albion – Junior Rileigh Eding (50pts, 4 relays) leads the way for Albion, who return 11 of their top 12 scorers from the 2018 MIAAs. Sarah Kilbride (43, 1 relay) is the team’s lone key loss, and the Brits have a talented eight-woman recruiting class, all of whom should be able to contribute right away. Samantha (1:59.31/5:18.8/18:28, 1:00.8/2:12.8 FL, 2:14.4/4:40 IM) and Courtney (2:03.4/5:27/19:18, 1:11.6/2:34 BR, 2:15.8/4:50.8 IM) lead the way among the freshmen, and Elizabeth Cavataio (1:00.98 BA, 2:15/4:48.8 IM), Emily Merucci (1:57.97/5:19 FR, 1:01.8/2:12.6 BA, 1:02/2:21 FL, 2:16 IM), Allison Dasky (24.9/53.8/1:58.2), and Jena Wager (1:00.7 BA, 1:11.3 BR, 2:16.7 IM) should all score significant points.
- Kalamazoo – The Hornets will continue to be led by their strong sophomore class in 2018-19. NCAA qualifier Maddie Woods has graduated, but All-American Nicki Bailey, the 2018 MIAA Most Valuable Diver as a freshman, is back, as are fellow NCAA qualifying diver Maddie Jump, Molly Roberts (30 pts), and Steph Rauhoff (30 pts). The Hornets get a big boost with the return of Malak Ghazal, who scored 41 points at the 2017 MIAA Championships in the distance free events. Emily Tenniswood (1:58.1/5:11 FR, 1:08.8/2:27.2 BR, 1:00.6/2:12 FL, 2:15/4:43 IM) appears to be the star of a 12-woman recruiting class. Olivia Anderson (57.58/2:10.6 BA, 59.23 FL, 2:15.87 IM) should be a major scorer, as well, and Eve Petrie should join the Maddies as the next in line in K’Zoo’s strong diving tradition.
- Alma – The Scots didn’t lose a single individual point from the 2018 MIAA Championships and lost just two relay slots. Senior Kate Lehman (2FL), sophomore Haven Westra (2BR), and junior Sydney Louis-Ferdinand (1650) lead the team after each reaching an A-final last year. An impressive 17 freshman are on the team’s roster currently. Diver Andrea Van Nuil and swimmers Sarah Gaines (2:02.7 200, 1:12.6/2:35.7 BR, 2:17.5 IM) and Jennifer Ostrowski (1:08.67 BR) should be the best of the crop. Diver Zoie Tranquilla also returns to the team after last competing during the 16-17 season.
- Olivet – Olivet took an enormous hit when Ana Paula Montes de Oca Zapiai transferred to DI St. Francis (NY). The NCAA qualifier and 2x MIAA champ (would have been 3x had she not DQd the 200 Fly in prelims) as a freshman earned 40 of Olivet’s 70 individual points earned and swam on four relays. Olivet’s top returning is junior diver Abbie Slater (14 pts.) and the Comets don’t return a single swimmer who reached double-figures. Freshman Kayla Eichaker (25.05/54.74 FR, 1:01.5 FL, 2:23/5:07 IM) should make an immediate impact both in individual events and on relays.
- Calvin – The Knights graduated three key pieces from last year’s title team in HM All-American diver Michael Moentmann and relay HM All-Americans Tanner Vincent (MIAA Champ in 2FL, IMs) and Max DeYoung and also saw Levi Nelesen and Alex Bergsma depart early, but Calvin does return six of its top seven scorers and 13 of their top 16. Ben Holstege (50/1BA/2BA Champ), the 2018 MIAA Most Valuable Swimmer, returns for his senior season after taking fifth at NCAAs in the 100 Back and helping the Knights to a trio of consolation final relay finishes last year. Fellow seniors Skyler Fish (53, 100FR Champ) and Jared Britton (51) and freshman Julian Iturbe (54, 200/500 Champ) are back after earning HM All-America honors on a pair of relays each, and juniors Tim Randall (46) and Fear Churchwell (45) also are among the league’s top returners. While Calvin’s recruiting class doesn’t have any one swimmer that appears to be an instant sensation, it is perhaps the deepest class in terms of talent. Noah Holstege (20.96/47.45 FR, 54.09 BA, 1:01.2 BR, 54.8 FL) joins his brothers as part of the Holstege legacy at Calvin, while Bryce Miner (22.48/47.96/1:46.91/4:57.9/17:38, 2:14.6 2BR, 1:58.65/4:31 IM), Nicholas Peeps (56.1/2:05.7 BA, 59.22/2:15 BR, 1:59.67 IM), Trevor Sparks (22.23/47.24/1:44.69/5:00.8), Joake Boender (21.56/48.31/1:49.05. 53.77/1:56.97 BA), and Matthew Creeks (22.43/48.69/1:46.59, 1:00.97 BR) should all score significant points.
- Albion – After winning the MIAA title in 2017 and just missing out last year, the first year of the Nick Stone era will be a small step back, as the Brits lost more than any team in the league. The losses of Parker Belmore (50 pts, 4 relays), Lucas Harder (40), and NCAA qualifying diver Jake Maurer (29), among others, to graduation were expected, but the added departure of six non-seniors – most importantly Alec Nyboer (42, 1 relay), Seth Fleming (33), and divers Tai Sims and O’Shea Swinton – gives the Brits a total of 279.5 individual points to replace. The good news? Senior All-American Nate Kozycki (51 pts, 6th at NCAAs in 1FL) is back to lead the squad, as are Tyler Kimbrell (51) and Len Ciemniecki (45) – who joined Kozycki on Albion’s HM All-America 400 Medley Relay) – and Jake Huttenlocher (48) and Mac Robertson (48). Add in MIAA Most Valuable Diver Jake Burris – an HM All-American on both boards – and there’s plenty to be excited about. Connor Robertson (22.1/1:47 FR, 58.5/2:10.5 BR, 1:53.5/4:19.9 IM) and Thomas Treaux (1:43.36/4:41/16:39, 4:24.5 IM) are the team’s top recruits, while Erik Halboth (52.97/1:59 BA, 57.9/2:02.8 FL, 1:58.5/4:18.6 IM) and Robert Hagner (50.1 FR, 51.7 BA, 52.7 FL) should make big contributions, as well.
- Hope – Hope lost nearly one third of their points from last year to graduation, as Charlie Emmert (45 pts., 4 relays), Mike Wurster (41 pts., 4 relays) and their fellow classmates earned 158 individual points and filled 12 of the team’s 20 relay slots. Coach Patnott’s final solo recruiting class looks to be a great one, though, highlighted by a trio of transfers. Daniel Keith (21.30/45.36/1:37.87/4:43.50, 50.6/1:50.85 BA, 50.27 FL, 1:51.75/4:02.7 IM) joins the Flying Dutchmen from Air Force and may be the biggest threat to Ben Holstege for Most Valuable Swimmer honors, while diver Grant Williams comes to Hope from DII Lindenwood. The former 2x Michigan HS champion broke the 500-mark multiple times at Lindenwood and will challenge Albion’s Jake Burris for Most Valuable Diver accolades. Will Benner (4:49.81/16:43, 2:12.7 BR, 2:01.87/4:17 IM) competed for Gettysburg in 2015-16; while he hasn’t competed in two years, he will be a big asset if he can return to form.
- Kalamazoo – While K’Zoo didn’t officially score points to count in the team standings last year, scoring the meet out saw the Hornets a mere three points behind Hope for third place. And while the Hornets didn’t lose nearly as much as the Flying Dutchmen, they also didn’t bring in nearly as much projected scoring. Mile champ Matt Howrey returns after a standout freshman season, as does junior Grant Anger. Standout and HM All-American diver Colin Grogan is the team’s biggest loss. Nick Nerhood (22.57/49.23/1:47.56/4:56.61/18:03, 54.88/1:58.98 BA, 54.87 FL, 2:02.5/4:22 IM) is the top recruit, while Luke Durden (22.17/49.01/1:46.77, 56.8 FL) should also be strong contributors.
- Olivet – Three underclassmen swimmers didn’t return for the Comets this season, composing 14 individual points and, more importantly, 10 relay slots. However, the team’s top two scorers – Eric Wood (31 pts, 4 relays) and Zach Meharg (22 pts, 2 relays) – are back for their junior seasons, as is diver Dalton Miner (13 pts.). Three freshmen replace the three departed swimmers, and they should more than make up for their loss – look for Cade Erickson (1:48.95/4:51.7/17:06, 1:04.5/2:20.5 BR) and Zachary Knott (1:01.78/2:14.2 BR) to make immediate impacts.
- Alma – Alma lost just one relay slot and no individual points from last year’s MIAA Championships. Eric Ferrara (29 pts., 4 relays) returns for his senior season to lead the way for the Scots after reaching a pair of A-finals last season, and Max Carey (13 pts, 4 relays) will look to take the next step in his sophomore campaign. Out of the team’s six newcomers, Will Brown (59.94 BR, 2:03.02 IM) and Leevi Olson (21.94/48.55 FR, 56.69 BA, 1:01.39 BR) should make the biggest impacts.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Meg Peel, Hope
- Women’s Diver of the Year: Nicki Bailey, Kalamazoo
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Allison Eppinga, Hope
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Ben Holstege, Calvin
- Men’s Diver of the Year: Jake Burris, Albion/Grant Williams, Hope
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Daniel Keith, Air Force
The CCIW saw a major shakeup at the top in the 2017-18 season. For the first time in 41 years, Jon Lederhouse was not at the helm of the Wheaton program, and for the first time in 20 years, the Wheaton women failed to win the league title as Carthage snapped the Thunder’s two-decade streak to sweep the conference meet alongside their men. Will Carthage carry that success into 2018-19 or will Wheaton be able to fight their way back to the top? And behind them, how will the various pieces of the puzzle shake out? All three of the league’s individual All-Americans return
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Carthage – While we don’t think Carthage will match their nearly 300-point victory over Wheaton, the Lady Reds are still the clear favorite heading into 2018-19. Yes, they lost two of their top three scorers in Hannah Miles and Kate Hugo (combined for 110 ind. pts., 5/3 relays). Senior Hannah Pearson leads the returners after winning titles in the 500 and 1650, and sprinter Becca Rutkowski is back, too. The Lady Reds’ recruiting class, while it doesn’t have the most top-end talent, is certainly the deepest in the league with 15 newcomers. Mackinzee Macho (2:10.65/4:52.67 IM, 1:07.7/2:29.6 BR, 5:27 500) perhaps has the most immediate scoring potential, and Elise Merucci (2:13.55/4:52.89 IM, 1:00.18/2:13.45 BA), Maddie Orgill (5:23.77/18:38.67 FR, 1:10.88/2:32 BR, 4:45 4IM), Grace Sakry (5:30 500, 2:12.85/4:45 IM, 1:00/2:16 BA, and diver Julia Cozzi should also be big contributors.
- Wheaton – The Thunder should close the gap on Carthage in 2019 – they didn’t lose as much as the Lady Reds and their recruiting class, while not nearly as deep as that of Carthage, has as much top-end talent. In addition, the effects of adjusting to a new HC aren’t something to be undersold, so we thing that Meghan Ayres will have the Thunder in a better place in her second year at the helm. Without a doubt, leading the way for Wheaton is 2018 CCIW Swimmer of the Year Brooke Barnes, who swept the sprint free titles at the 2018 CCIW Championships to be invited to NCAAs in all three events. Juniors Michaela Sandeno and Ashley Bowen both will look to improve from their 40-point seasons last year. Meredith Clarkson (46 pts, 2/2 relays), last year’s 400 IM champ, is the lone departure among the team’s top 10 scorers, but newcomer Priscilla Min – who would have been selected to NCAAs last year in the 200 Breast – could immediately fill that void (2:09/4:34 IM, 1:06.69/2:21.35 BR, 59.87/2:10.8 FL, 1:57.79/5:17.36 FR) and contend for league titles in multiple events. Alexandria McKeaney (24.42/53.93/2:00.6/5:22.6) should be a factor in the sprints and improve the Thunder relays, while Abigail Rutledge (57.90/2:09.35 FL, 4:45 4IM, 54.75/1:58.25/5:15/17:56 FR) and Hannah Stevens (24.86/54.06/1:59.6) both will make an impact. Northern State transfer Gentry Musgrove (4:52 4IM, 1:00.5/2:18 FL) adds even more depth.
- Illinois Wesleyan – Much like Wheaton, IWU didn’t lose much – Tori Tiberi (48 pts., 1 B-relay) is the lone loss from among their top 11 scorers – but their recruiting class isn’t quite as deep, which should keep them in the three-slot once again. Kelly Byrne, Alivia Hay, and seniors Lisa Cheng – an HM All-American in the 50 Free – and Claire Michael all return and scored 45 points or more at last year’s championships and combined for 14 of the Titans’ 20 A-relay slots. Ellen Gilbert is one of the top and most versatile freshmen in the conference and enters the year as the league favorite in the butterfly events (56.66/2:04.98 FL, 2:11.1/4:58.5 IM, 1:10/2:33 BR, 24.86/52.67/1:55.75/5:14.77/17:56.06) – she would have been selected to NCAAs in the 200 Fly in 2018 – while Megan Wong (24.92/53.4/1:56.8 FR, 59.06 FL, 2:12.74 IM, 1:09.7/2:32.8 BR) and Amanda Smith (2:00.5/5:25/19:08 FR, 1:01.98/2:10 BA, 5:09 IM) both should contribute.
- Carroll – While Carroll returns its top six swimmers, including Kaitlin Squier (49 pts., 4 A-relays) and CCIW Diver of the Meet Ally Osell (champ on both boards), the team did lose 14 total athletes from graduation or other reasons. All seven newcomers, including divers Brightyn Zuelke and Jenny Zieger, should make an impact – Madeline Nelson (2:02.5/5:21.8 FR, 2:17.5 BA, 1:10.7/2:32.9 BR, 1:00.4/2:12.9 FL, 2:15.3/4:48.5 IM) and Emily Wong (54.67/1:59.34 FR, 58.28/2:15 FL, 2:13/5:04 IM) are tops among the freshmen swimmers.
- Augustana – Mia Polinski and Gabrielle Ainsworth are the only two swimmers on the roster who scored more than 12 individual points at the 2018 CCIW Championships, but look for Augustana to close the gap with Carroll in 2018-19, powered by what could be the recruiting class in the CCIW. Madelynn Marunde (55.19/1:57.18/5:07/17:43, 1:08/2:26 BR, 2:13/4:39 IM), Lauren Raike (2:08/4:33 IM, 1:07.6/2:23.4 BR, 55.61/2:00/5:07 FR), and Aviana Zahara (24.3/53.1/1:57.1 FR, 56.5/2:07.1 BA) all could challenge for one or more league titles, and sprinter Isabelle Seten (24.19/53.21) and Alicia Garcia (54.89/1:57.4/5:14 FR, 1:02.9 FL) should both impact multiple relays along with their individual events. The Vikings also add a pair of divers in Emma Gannaway and Olivia Lutz.
- North Central – The Cardinals graduated only a single individual point and two B-relays from the 2018 CCIW Championships, but we’re unsure of what exactly they have returning, as they still don’t have a roster online (we have some findings from their season preview and first meet results). We do know the most important thing: Katherine Canfield is back. One of just two 60-point scorers at the league meet last year alongside Wheaton’s Barnes, Canfield will look to make her last year at NCC a fast one after narrowly missing out on a trip to NCAAs last year. Marissa Hoppe and Beth Ryan, both A-finalists last year, also return, but Danai Stylianou and Amy Feltz didn’t appear in their results from the first meet. Four newcomers join the team, but none of special note.
- Millikin – Caroline Lodovisi was listed as a junior on last year’s roster but she doesn’t appear on the team’s 2018-19 roster on their website. That loss, combined with the graduation of Felicity Speirs and the departure of two other underclassmen, means that Millikin loses two of its top individual scorers and nine A-relay slots. The Lodovisi departure is even more unfortunate because the Big Blue brought in a solid recruiting class, highlighted by Olivia Marquardt (59.48 1FL, 1:01.84 1BA), Kathryn Cully (56.1 100FR, 1:01.8/2:12.9 BA, 1:02.8 FL), and Brigid Duesterhaus (24.97 50, 1:02.56 1BA, 1:00.4 1FL).
- Wheaton – We went back and forth several times in deciding of the order of our top two on the men’s side before landing here. Wheaton faces the task of replacing significant points, as graduates Jack O’Connor (50 pts, 4 A-Relays), 2017 CCIW Swimmer of the Year Chris Dingfield (46, 2/2 Relays), Addison Coen (34, 1B), and the early departure of diver Tyler Yates (31 pts) leave the Thunder 161 individual points down from last year’s league meet. However, this is still FAR less than what Carthage lost (see below), and Wheaton’s recruiting class may be a touch better from top to bottom. Back are 2018 NCAA HM All-Americans Will Rinne (2IM) – the 2018 CCIW Swimmer of the Year – and Chris Szymczak (2BA), as well as Christian Cameron, who joined Rinne, Szymczak and O’Connor to earn HM All-America honors in three relays. Incoming diver Christopher Haase should be able to replace the points lost by Yates, and while the six incoming swimmers might not be Dingfield or O’Connor just yet, they should help to fill the voids. Ethan Kile (1:53.8/4:09 IM, 57.92/2:11.89 BR, 55.89 BA, 1:47.6 200) may be the best of the lot, and Benjamin Griffith (21.96/47.65/4:52.53 FR, 52.15/1:55 FL, 1:55.6/4:09 IM, 58.4/2:14 BR), Jonathan Schofield (22.0/48.66/1:47.8, 51.44/1:54 BA, 56.51 FL), and Gavin Patton (1:50.8/4:53/17:02, 57.9/2:02.9 BA, 56.6/2:01 FL, 4:21 4IM) are all just behind him. Ultimately, this could come down to relays – both in who wins and who successfully finishes all 10 without a DQ.
- Carthage – Carthage loses the most in the conference by a large margin – between the graduation of Chris Russo, Paul Devereux, Nathan Morris, Nate Rodriguez, Pat Sobkowski, and Malcolm Andrew, and the early departures of Mitch Scarski, Nicholas Wolff, and Matt Dynneson, the Red Men lost a total of 354.5 individual points and 16 relay slots (9A/7B). Several top scorers in senior Jack Wallar (54 pts.), Cooper Hawkins (54), Mitchell Mages (49), Nicholas Nevins (45.5) and Nick Seroni (41) do return, and a pair of transfers, two swimmers returning to the team, and five newcomers will help to overcome those losses. David Vowels (20.98/46.75/1:44.46, 52.5 1FL, 1:01.38 1BR) should make the biggest impact after transferring from NCAA DII Northern Michigan, while Lake Forest transfer Ethan Hare (21.95/47.69/1:44.01, 57.6/2:09.96 BR, 52.59 FL, 1:58 IM, 54.2 BA) and freshman Ben Ellstrom (51.76/1:54.2 BA, 1:55.77 IM, 1:49.46 200FR, 55.42 FL) also should reach multiple A-Finals. Ryan Morales (53.36/1:56.75 FL, 4:53.89 500) and Charles Julius (1:01.3/2:17 BR) return after a year away from the team.
- Augustana – Augustana finished third behind Wheaton last year by more than 350 points and that gap could be even larger this year. The Vikings return their top three scorers in Jared Ekberg (46 pts., 4 A-Relays), Bryan Haage (41 pts., 4 A-Relays), and Brett Keefe (33 pts., 2/2 relays), but the loss of Souhail Rhafiri (31 pts., 4 B-Relays) and eight other swimmers amounts to 68 individual points and 11 relays (3A, 8B). Diver Tom Pham returns to the team after competing in 2017, but Aidan McConkey (1:50.6 200, 54.72/2:00.57 BA) is the team’s lone freshman.
- Illinois Wesleyan – The Titans appear poised to finish just where they did in 2018 – squarely in the middle of the CCIW with a pretty significant distance both in front of and behind them. Distance standout Will Garcia (57 pts., 4 A-Relays) is back after winning the 500 and 1650 a year ago, as are Nick Partipilo and Luke Witteveen, both of whom reached an A-Final. Departed graduates Rob Houle, Morgan Bishop, and Jordan Miller leave a big void, as they combined for 66.5 individual points and half of IWU’s A-Relay slots. Mason McCauley appears to be the team’s top newcomer (1:45/4:47/17:32 FR, 1:02/2:17 2BR, 53.8/2:12.2 FL, 2:03/4:36 IM), and Kyle Fox (47.71/1:46.89 FR) divers Alec Marquardt and Ahmad Albzour all will help immediately.
- Millikin – All four of the swimmer’s on Millikin’s 2017-18 CCIW Championships roster are back, as are one other returner and five newcomers. What does that mean? Most importantly, RELAYS! At the ’18 CCIWs, the Big Blue were only able to field four A-relays and DQd one of them; if they had scored 10 relays last year, they would have finished ahead of NCC. Senior Cameron Lee, the lone Millikin swimmer to reach an A-final, is back, as are Nicholas Hoerr and Cole Jones. Jacob Williams remains on the roster – he competed early last season but didn’t compete at CCIWs – and would make an impact if he’s back and healthy. Felix Archer (22.03 50, 53.24/2:01.2 BA) should make an impact in his events while Nicholas Nemeth (1:03.3/2:23.7) should be able to score in the breaststroke events.
- North Central – Again, North Central’s roster isn’t online, but we do know that Nick Mielke and Ryan Lewellyan, two of the team’s top three scorers from the 2018 CCIW Championships, are back. There is some doubt about a few others, including Cameron Teel and Nicholas Slinkman, but we won’t know for sure until that roster is up. Newcomer Ferdinand Hoerstl is an international student from Germany who should be able to score at the league meet in the breaststroke events.
- Carroll – Seniors Shane Murphy-Pociask and Aaron Talabac will lead the way for the Pioneers after combining to score 34 points at CCIWs last year, but there’s not much beyond that. Gone is James Kelly, who reached three A-finals and earned 35 of Carroll’s 81 individual points scored at the 2018 CCIW Championships. Along with him and fellow graduate Tristan Petrauskas, five other swimmers from 17-18 do not appear on the Pioneers’ 18-19 roster. With only two newcomers, that leaves Carroll with just seven swimmers, meaning they will be unable to field any B relays, and the team chose not to field any 800 Free Relays last year when they had enough swimmers to do so. They’ll need that 800 Free Relay this year to have hope of finishing out of the basement.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Brooke Barnes, Wheaton
- Women’s Diver of the Year: Ally Osell, Carroll
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Ellen Gilbert, Illinois Wesleyan
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Will Rinne, Wheaton
- Men’s Diver of the Year: Aaron San Juan, Carthage
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: David Vowels, Carthage
For our next conference preview, we head westward in Pennsylvania and its bordering states for the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. The AMCC continues to change in its third year holding its own league championships apart from the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, adding SUNY-Delhi and seeing the departure of Cabrini to the newly formed Atlantic East while Alfred State continues into its second year.
In 2018, Penn State Behrend ran away with the men’s title ahead of a tight battle for second between Pitt-Bradford, Cabrini and Alfred State. In the women’s meet, Cabrini held off Behrend and Alfred St. in a close three-way race.
Here are our projected standings with previews:
- Alfred State – The Pioneers lost the least among the three teams who competed for the AMCC crown last year, as graduate Josey Brewer (17 ind. points, 0 relays) and all-conference breaststroker Kaileigh Lehman (29 pts, 4 relays) were the lone losses. Leading the way among returners are junior Sarah Stevens, who swept the diving events to earn AMCC Diver of the Year honors and also impressively took third in the 400 IM (44 points, 4 relays), and another all-conference performer in sophomore distance freestyler Kathryn Lewis (37 points, four relays). Sarah Stevens’ younger sister Rebecca, who split titles with her sister at the 2017 AMCC Championships in a pair of 1-2 finishes for the siblings, returns, and three of the Pioneers’ three other newcomers should make major impacts. Jessie LaRue (55.29/2:02.5 FR, 1:01.80 1BA, 2:24 2IM) leads the trio while Grae Feely (1:16.5 1BR) and Leaha Langerman (Diver/1:09.76 1BA) should both contribute.
- Penn State Behrend – The Lions lost two of their top three scorers and a pair of program greats in two-time conference MVP Gwen Lowery (45 points, 4 champ relays) and 2017 AMCC MVP Maryn Horn (45 points, 4 champ relays), but they do have the top two returning scorers from the 2018 AMCC Championships in junior Abigail Witmer (45 pts, 100 Fly/100Back Champ, 1 champ relay) and senior Jessica Wyckoff (45 pts, 100/200 Free Champ, 4 champ relays), individual all-conference sprinter Paola Maldonado (33.5 pts, two champ relays), and league champ relay members Lacey Grinnen and Devon van Rensburg. PSB brought in eight true newcomers to go with one returner and two water polo players joining the squad. Barbie Cessar (1:11.36 1BR, 2:18.69 2IM) should score major points in the breast and IM events and Marcella Puglia (25.77/55.25/1:58.30/5:19/18:12) could contend for league titles in any of the freestyle events while also filling a major relay void, but, based on what we could find on them, don’t expect too much from the rest of the class.
- Franciscan – There’s a major dropoff from the top three teams in the AMCC to Francsican in the four-slot, but 10 newcomers give the Lady Barons the advantage over the teams below them. Franciscan loses 63 of the 79 individual points they scored at the 2018 AMCC Championships to graduation, led by one of the program’s all-time greats and 4x AMCC individual champion Elizabeth McNulty (44 pts, 200BR/200FL Champ, 3 relays). Senior Sarah Tohill returns as the conference runner-up in 1-Meter Diving, and incoming freshmen Colleen Farabaugh and Emily Reuwer should make huge impacts immediately. Farabaugh (25.69/55.89/2:00.54 50-200 Free, 1:10.34 1BR, 2:36.9 2BR, 2:18 2IM) could contend for conference titles in a number of events while Emily Reuwer is the league’s only swimmer with a sub-1:00 100 Fly during her life (58.83) and is also strong in the 100 Free (56.14) and Fly (1:01.18).
- Penn State Altoona – New HC Bradley Brooks has a lot of work ahead of him, as six of last year’s 10 swimmers left the team in addition to graduate Alexis Franks. Add in just one recruit in Kaitlin Heil, and the Lions have just four swimmers on their roster at the start of the 18-19 campaign. Conference 200 Back champion Emily Booz is the biggest of the losses (39 pts, 4 relays), but Altoona does return 2018 AMCC Newcomer of the Year in Danielle Bye (37.5 pts, 4 relays), who was the league runner-up in both the 100 Fly and 200 IM last year.
- Pitt-Bradford – The Panthers have just two swimmers on their roster as of release of this preview, as three non-seniors did not return to the team. Jillian Wright is the biggest of those losses, as she scored 23 points in the breaststroke events, but the bigger factor is that the loss of those three will prohibit the Panthers from composing relays. Junior sprinter Kayla Broad (16 points, 4 relays) returns, and newcomer Alexia Garcia (1:13.94 1BR, 1:04.13 100 Free) should score, but not enough for Bradford to beat anyone but…
- SUNY-Delhi – First-year AMCC program SUNY-Dehli has just one female swimmer on its roster at the start of this year in sophomore Julia Witt. Witt could contend for some B-finals in the sprint freestyle events.
- Penn State Behrend – Behrend’s streak of AMCC titles grew to 12 by a large margin in 2018 and nothing should keep the Lions from stretching the streak to 13 this year, as they return their top seven scorers and 15 of 18 from last year’s title team. Senior conference MVP Mark Patterson (48 pts., 200/500 Free, 200 Back Champ, 4 relays (2 champ)) – the only swimmer in the league to record an NCAA B-Cut time – leads the way for PSB, who also returns three other individual conference champions in Steven Owens (100/200 Fly), Noah Babik (100/200 Breast) and Brady Mattson (1650 Free). Chase Bietz leads a 10-man recruiting class and is the early favorite to win conference titles in the 100 Breast (56.68) and 200 IM (1:52.85) while James Connolly (1:46.5 200 Free, 16:34 1650, 59.88/2:14.3 BR, 2:03 2IM) and Matt Karebauer (52.38/1:59 Fly, 55.68 1BA, 2:00.92 2IM) should compete for titles in multiple events. Breaststroke/IMer Charlie Nesbit (58.81/2:22.7 BR, 2:05 2IM) should be a factor in his events.
- Alfred State – With only Bryce Cutler (29 pts, 2 relays) graduating from last year’s squad, the Pioneers seemed poised to leap into the second spot in the AMCC this year, but five underclassmen did not return to the team this year, perhaps none more important than 2018 AMCC Diver of the Year Nick Beach (champ on both boards). Those departures combined for 99 individual points and 11 relay slots. Last years’ 400 IM Champ Nick Beach (38 pts, 3 relays) leads the way among returners while Austin Miller and Jackson Teboe will be counted on, as well. Ryan McDowell, who took 8th in the league in the 100 Fly in 2017, returns after a season away, and he should also contribute in the 2Fly and 2IM. Distance swimmer Austin Eckrich (1:58/5:16/18:27) leads the team’s newcomers, while Alex Gargano can contribute in the breaststroke (1:11).
- Pitt-Bradford – After claiming the league’s runner-up spot last year, the Panthers likely will take a major step back in 2018-19. While Bradford graduated just one senior in all-conference backstroker Corey Koss (25 pts, 4 relays (3 champ relays)), six additional swimmers comprising 148 individual points and 13 relays slots did not return, none more important than 2018 AMCC Newcomer of the Year Jared Schwab (50 Free/100 Back Champ) and sprinter Ben Koss (100 Free Champ). Freshman Nathan Kim (1:51.1 200 Free, 55.09 1BA, 1:58.96 2BA, 53.66 1FL, 1:56.87 2FL, 2:02.39 2IM) could contend for titles in multiple events, while Caleb Hansen (22.17/48.39/1:52.08 Free, 55.15 1BA, 2:03.9 2BA, 55.22 1FL, 4:33 4IM) should score well in whichever events he chooses.
- Penn State Altoona – Much like their female counterparts, the Lion men have a long hill to climb after nine non-graduates didn’t return from last year’s roster. New HC Bradley Brooks does get back junior flyer Tanner Yaw (21 pts, 4 relays), the team’s top scorer at the 2018 AMCC Championships, and junior Greg Landis and sophomore Andrew Lesnett also return after scoring eight points each. Among the team’s five newcomers, Matt Beam, Michael Begany, and Cooper Gilkey could each score points in some of the league’s weaker events.
- SUNY-Delhi – The Broncos have seven swimmers who will compete in their first year in the AMCC, but, without some significant improvements, none will score beyond events that aren’t full.
Projected Award Winners:
- Women’s Swimmer of the Year: Jessica Wyckoff, Penn State Behrend
- Women’s Diver of the Year: Sarah Stevens, Alfred State
- Women’s Newcomer of the Year: Marcella Puglia, Penn State Behrend
- Men’s Swimmer of the Year: Mark Patterson, Penn State Behrend
- Men’s Diver of the Year: Matthew Kuchcinski, Penn State Behrend
- Men’s Newcomer of the Year: Chase Bietz, Penn State Behrend
*Note: Our preview originally included Cabrini, whom we (foolishly) forgot departed for the newly formed Atlantic East Conference following the 2017-18 academic year.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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