2008 Capital Athletic Conference Swim Championship Preview

2008 Capital Athletic Conference Swim Championship Preview

The University of Mary Washington will look to continue its dominance of the Capital Athletic Conference Men's and Women's Swimming Championships this weekend (Feb. 15-17) when the 18th-annual championship meet is held in the Aquatics Center at The Athletic and Recreation Center at St. Mary's College in St. Mary's City, Md.

The UMW women's program has won all 17 previous conference titles and has four returning All-Americans in the lineup as Matt Sellman looks to extend that streak in his first hear as head coach. On the men's side, the Eagles have won seven-straight team crowns and have a strong freshman class to support and outstanding group of upperclassmen who aim to defend their title.

Each swimmer from UMW and the six competitors trying to take away the crown will be trying to advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be held at Miami (Ohio) University in Oxford, Ohio. The women's national championship meet is scheduled for March 13-15 while the men's meet will be held the following weekend (March 20-22).

The three-day CAC Championship meet will have two sessions per day. The morning session will include trials, beginning at 10 a.m. The evening session will include the consolation and championship races, beginning at 6 p.m. Additionally, prior to Sunday evening's championship session, the seniors from each team will be honored in a ceremony that begins at 5:30 p.m.

Fans can purchase a three-day ticket for $15 at any time during the weekend. Single session ($5) or single day passes ($8), as well as heat sheets ($1), may be purchased at the facility, beginning Friday (2/15) prior to the morning session.

Here is a look at the top competitors for each of the 14 teams:

The YORK women's team heads into the 2008 CAC Championships looking to improve on last year's seventh place finish. The Spartans have eight swimmers who finished in the top 12 of the championships last season. Laura McCray, Allison Blaszky, Bridget Miller, Kaitlin Crean, and Molly Wasik have been the Spartans' top performers this year. York finished the regular season with a mark of 6-7.

The York College men's swim team enters the 2008 CAC Swim Championships looking to build on their success of last season and a 9-2 dual meet record this year. The Spartans finished second last year as head coach Gina McHenry was named the CAC Coach of the Year. The Spartans return all but one of their All-CAC performers, headlined by senior Steven Fulcher. Fulcher teamed with Matt Jennings, Clark Arnold, and Garrett Higgins to win the 200 free relay while the foursome also combined to win the 400 free relay. Jennings (100 free and 100 backstroke) and Stephen Doemland (500 free) also earned first-place finishes at the championships.

Since early September, approximately 25 GALLAUDET men and women have been training in the pool, swimming at least several miles per day, including dry-land exercises, all in anticipation of the 2007-08 Aqua-Bison season. The women's team is anchored by co-captains, senior Kandace Morris and junior Marissa Larson.

The men have co-captains in senior David Torres and third-year swimmer Ryan Kobylarz, who is fresh off his World Deaf Championship performance with Morris, Kris Lauderbaugh and freshman Carlisle Robinson. Jimmy McGowan of Florida is another incoming freshman who is expected to make big waves this season.

The HOOD women will look to two senior captains as the Blazers compete in their second CAC meet. Katie Hitchens is Hood's sprinting specialist who owns the team's top six times of the season in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. Amy Kaufman has been a steady cog in the Blazer lineup in the 200, 500 and 1,000 freestyle. Kaufman placed fifth in the 500 and 1,650 freestyles at the 2007 conference meet.

The Hood men's swim team will be competing in its second CAC meet and will rely on veterans Jason Kinder and Matt Haynes to set the pace. Kinder and Haynes both scored at the CAC meet last year and have combined to set 13 school records. Kinder will be used primarily in the distance free and backstroke events and Haynes is a sprinter who has earned first place finished in eight different events in dual meet action.

The MARY WASHINGTON women, winners of all 17 previous CAC Championships, will look to All-Americans Lorena de la Garza, Kristen LaCoe, Mallory Cruise, Michelle Sawyer, as well as top freshman Sarah Crockett. First year head coach Matt Sellman has led UMW to an 8-2 overall mark, including a 6-0 mark against CAC competition.

The UMW men's swimming team will aim for its eighth straight CAC title this weekend. The Eagles enter the championships unbeaten against CAC competition, and 8-2 overall. Freshmen Stephen Clendenin, Michael Dickerson, and Brad Dunn bolster a strong group of veterans.

MARYMOUNT placed second in the women's 800 free relay last year and return three of the four swimmers. Look for Amanda Shanks, who second in both the 500 free and the 1,650 free two years ago, to compete in the distance events. Ashley Smith should vie in the breaststroke events as should Angelyn Tinsman in the IM and backstroke.

The Saints return three All Conference men's swimmers from 2007 - Greg Murtha who will defend his 100 butterfly title; Bobby Barrett who will defend his 200 butterfly title and Chris Watson who will defend his 200 freestyle title. Look for J.P. Goshco to contend in the backstroke events.

The SALISBURY women's swimming team will enter the CAC championships with a 6-5 record as the maroon and gold have won five of their past six meets. The young Sea Gulls will rely on Raienne South and freshman Becky Akers to lead the way. South has come on strong, as of late, in the various freestyle events and in the IM. Akers is the Sea Gulls' long distance swimmer that has set several school records in her rookie season. The SU relay teams will look to grab some valuable points as well.

The Salisbury men's team will bring a 7-4 record into this year's CAC championships. The Sea Gulls have won five consecutive meets. The maroon and gold are led by senior sprinters Cole Mangum and Ross Spangler. Sophomore Mike Ferrari will look to continue his success in the breaststroke events while freshman Drew Robichaud has dominated in the backstroke. The SU 400 free relay team will look to repeat with another All-CAC performance this year.

The ST. MARY'S women finished third at the 2007 CAC Championships and the Seahawks return three of their five CAC all-stars, including last year's CAC Women's Swimmer-of-the-Year, Brie McDowell. The other two returning all-stars are Eleanor Koerner and Rachel Hotchko. McDowell is the defending champion in the 200 IM, the 100 back, and the 200 back events. The Seahawks come into the championships ranked fourth in Division III in the 400 medley, the 200 free, and the 400 free relays and sixth in the 200 medley relay.

On the men's side, Joey Quase returns to defend his 2007 CAC Champion in the 1,650 freestyle. Michael Preston earned All-CAC honors with his third place finish in the 200 free last year.

(Release courtesy of the Capital Atheltic Conference Office)