CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The UMBC men's and women's swimming and diving teams have been picked to repeat as America East champions in the 2011 preseason coaches' poll, the league announced Wednesday. The men are favored to win their ninth straight conference title, while the women are predicted to win for the second year in a row and the fourth time in the last six years.
The Retriever men collected three first-place votes and 15 total points to edge Boston University, which received the other two first-place votes and 14 points overall. Binghamton placed third with 10 points, while Maine (6) and Stony Brook (5) round out the poll.
Conference supremacy has belonged to UMBC every year since it joined the America East in 2003. Despite losing a pair of perennial champions in Brad Reitz and Eric Jones, the Retrievers return several individual gold medalists. Junior Pierre De Waal (Pretoria, South Africa/Tuks Sport/Cleveland State) won the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle last season, while sophomore Johan Rohtla (Tallinn, Estonia/Tallinn Secondary Science) was named the 2011 Most Outstanding Male Rookie after winning the 200 back in a school-record time. In diving, UMBC will again lean on the services of junior Andrew Eckhoff (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford), who finished second in both the 1- and 3-meter dives a year ago.
On the women's side, UMBC received five first-place votes and 35 total points to claim the top spot over the Terriers, who earned the final two first-place votes and 32 points overall. New Hampshire placed third with 26 points, followed by Vermont and Binghamton in a tie for fourth place with 18 points. Stony Brook (11) and Maine (7) round out the poll.
The 2011 Most Outstanding Female Swimmer, Abbey McKenney (Wilmington, Del./Brandywine), returns for her senior season after winning three individual golds last season. She set an America East, UMBC and pool record in the 100-free and earned Mid-Major All-America Honorable Mention from CollegeSwimming.com. Junior Jennifer Kotonias (Burtonsville, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) experienced a breakout 2010-11 campaign, winning the 400-IM, while junior Amy Fay (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill) won the 500 free and junior Tara Morrissette (Somersworth, N.H./St. Thomas Aquinas), the 2010 Most Outstanding Female Rookie, took silver in the 200-fly.
After a non-scored meet at Bucknell last weekend, the Retrievers visit Rider on Oct. 15.