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UMBC Swimming and Diving Hosts Rider in Season Opener Saturday
Ryan Karrer won the mile at the 2006 America East Championships, setting new school and meet records.
Justin Bronson, UMBC's top scorer at the 2006 America East Championships, won the 500-free in near-record time.
Daniele Surkovich was named the 2006 America East Most Outstanding Rookie after winning the 50-free and taking two silvers.
Ashley Houghton was named both America East and ECAC Diver of the Meet in 2006.
The UMBC men's and women's swimming and diving teams host Rider in the season opener Saturday, Oct. 22, at 12 p.m. at the UMBC Natatorium. In 2005-06, the men won their third straight America East title, while the women placed a close second at the conference meet.
2006-07 Men’s Season Outlook
Dynasty (n.): a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time.
The 2005-06 UMBC men’s swimming and diving season had its ups and downs. The team lost four dual meets, equaling the total from the previous three seasons combined.
But the Retrievers were back on top in the end, continuing the reign of their dynasty by reclaiming the America East Conference title for the third consecutive season in a landslide, 201 points over second-place
“We were inconsistent in our dual meets and it cost us,” UMBC head coach Chad Cradock said. “But those losses make the team stronger for this year.”
This season marks the 20th anniversary of the UMBC swimming and diving program, and the Retriever men will go for their 10th consecutive conference championship. UMBC won six Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) titles from 1998-2003 before joining the America East for the 2003-04 season.
“I feel the men have a great shot at it again this year,” said Cradock, who has led the Retrievers to the last five championships and was an assistant on the first three title teams. “Ten straight would be pretty cool. It’s a milestone.”
In order to achieve that milestone, however, the Retrievers will have to overcome the loss of five seniors who scored at the 2006 America East Championships, including Geza Szabo, a school record holder and four-time conference champion, and the versatile Adam Blais. But 14 upperclassmen, including eight seniors, return for the 2006-07 season, and with the addition of six talented newcomers, the sky is the limit.
Sprint Freestyle: Tim Conway returns for his senior season after taking silver in the 50-free with a career-best time. “Tim became much more consistent at the end of the year last year,” Cradock said. “He’s really been able to produce under pressure.” Sophomore Justin Bronson made his mark in the middle-distance events last year, but he also took silver in the 100-free. Cradock also looks to freshman Matt Mattingly to make an immediate impact in the sprint events, and for junior Scott Auchter and sophomore Milos Djukic, who specialize in other strokes, to make strong contributions in the 50-free. Newcomers Fred Deal, Rasmus Kutt, John Seniz and Zach Vonder Haar, as well as sophomores Josh Nachman and P.J. Sterba and senior John Saums add considerable depth in the sprints.
Middle-Distance Freestyle: The mid-distance events are arguably the Retrievers’ strongest, as they took five of the top eight spots in the 200-free and the top seven in the 500, demonstrating unprecedented domination in the America East. Bronson, who competed at the Canadian Pan-Pacific Trials over the summer, won gold in the 500 and silver in the 200 at the conference championships. “Justin is coming off a great year,” Cradock said. “I feel like he has a good opportunity to beat my record in the 500-free; he only missed it by a tenth (of a second) last year. He’s truly dedicated and will be a big asset.” Senior co-captain Ryan Karrer and sophomore Freddie Reitz also finaled in both events, with Reitz taking silver in the 500 and bronze in the 200, while Karrer won the 500 at eight dual meets. Senior co-captain Juan Ortiz returns for his second season at UMBC after transferring from Indian River Community College and should stand out in the 200-free, while sophomore Evan Roseberry took bronze in the 500-free. Junior Joey Sementelli, who also finaled in the 500, junior Adam Eiben, senior Cliff Schmardel, Deal and Sterba will also be factors.
Distance Freestyle: Karrer will again anchor the distance events for the Retrievers after winning the 1,000-free at nine dual meets and taking gold in the mile at the America East Championships, breaking the school and meet records. “Ryan is a really tough dual meet swimmer, probably one of the toughest I’ve seen,” Cradock said. Roseberry placed second in the mile, but actually led Karrer through the first 1,000 yards. Sementelli finished fifth in the mile, and Schmardel will also contribute.
Backstroke: Djukic returns as UMBC’s top backstroker after making the finals in both events last season. “I think with a year under his belt he’s more experienced, he’s going to have more success and he understands the system more,” Cradock said. “I can see he’s much more comfortable in our scenario this year.” Kutt is another standout in the backstroke, and Cradock believes both swimmers have the potential to challenge the school records. Conway took fifth in the 100-back at the conference meet, while senior Brian Jaeggi, who was voted team co-captain for the third straight year, placed seventh in the 200. Junior Eric Skrabacz did not swim much backstroke last season but finished fifth in the 100 in 2005. He will add depth in the event, along with junior Alejandro Lopez, who swam a career-best time in the 100 to place ninth at AEC’s in 2006.
Breaststroke: Auchter experienced a breakout season last year, as he won bronze in the 100-breast and placed fourth in the 200 at the America East Championships, then won the 100 and took bronze in the 200 at ECAC’s a week later. “Scott is an extremely hard worker,” Cradock said. “He has his sights set on the record in the 100 this year, and I’m excited about his motivation, his will, his perseverance.” Reitz should also stand out, especially in the 200-breast, and senior Pat Woodward, who swam all career bests at the conference meet, will look to be a factor in his final season.
Butterfly: Butterfly is where Szabo, the school record holder in the 200-fly, will be missed the most, as he won the 200 at seven dual meets and took silver in both fly events at AEC’s. Cradock hopes Skrabacz is ready to shoulder the brunt of that loss after placing in the top eight in both events last season. “Eric will be relied upon heavily in the fly with the loss of Geza,” Cradock said. “He will be really important and someone that we’re going to count on this year.” Others who will need to step up include Lopez, Saums, Nachman and Sterba, while newcomers Mattingly, Vonder Haar and Seniz have untapped potential. Bronson could also contribute in the 100-fly.
Individual Medley: Blais was a perennial finalist in the 200-IM for the last four years, but Ortiz proved he can help fill the void, actually placing ahead of Blais at the conference championships. “Juan has really grown over the last year,” Cradock said. “He has an outside shot of looking at the record.” Roseberry took silver in the 400-IM and will lead the way in that event, along with Jaeggi. Auchter has added the IM to his repertoire, while Eiben, Woodward and Mattingly will also be counted upon to contribute.
Diving: For the first time in several years, the Retrievers have three divers, with freshman Glenn Bergquist joining senior record holder Jeff Salgado and junior Colin Weick. “It’s great to have an additional diver, somebody who can bring something to our boards,” Cradock said. “Having the third diver is something we haven’t had for awhile in the men’s program. We desperately needed someone like Glenn to come in and really help us produce more depth.” Salgado broke both school records three times last season, took bronze on the 1-meter board and fourth on the 3-meter and qualified for the NCAA Zone Regional competition. “Jeff is clearly the best diver we’ve ever had at UMBC,” Cradock said. “He’s willing to put up whatever dive is required to make him as successful as possible.” Weick last year made the switch from swimming to diving and is looking forward to having a full season on the boards under his belt. “Colin is definitely somebody who took one for the team and has transitioned himself from a swimmer to a diver,” Cradock said.
The Retrievers’ quest for a 10th title begins on Oct. 21, as they open their dual meet schedule with a Homecoming meet against Rider in a rematch of one of last year’s losses. Other highlights on the schedule, which is very similar to last season’s, include Navy on the road Oct. 29, conference rival
“We have some unfinished business from last year that we need to take care of,” Cradock said. “I think it’s a challenging schedule for our program, and we need to be challenged to be more successful.”
A 9-1 dual meet record. A second-place finish at the conference championships with seven gold medals. Eleven – count them, 11 – school records broken.
Such were the accomplishments of the 2005-06 UMBC women’s swimming and diving team. But head coach Chad Cradock believes his team can do better.
“I think our ladies’ team swam extremely well last year,” Cradock said. “If they come together and everything pieces together perfectly, we have a fair shot at getting the championship.”
The Retrievers finished only 54 points behind America East champion
A large part of that success was due to three newcomers – Meghan Sackett, Daniele Surkovich and Ashley Houghton. The trio accounted for all five of UMBC’s individual champions at the conference meet and scored a combined 151 points.
The Retrievers lost just two seniors from last year’s team – Elyse Gibson, the silver medalist in the 50-free, and co-captain Amber Harris, the 200-back bronze medalist – and with the addition of four extremely talented freshmen, the program could reach new heights in the America East.
Sprint Freestyle: Surkovich, the school 50-free record holder and 2006 America East Most Outstanding Rookie, will again anchor the sprint events as a sophomore after winning the 50-free and taking silver in the 100-free at the conference championships. Junior Lindsey Engler, whose record Surkovich broke last November, will also make strong contributions. Cradock is also looking for senior Kristen Moorby, junior Carly Fitzpatrick and sophomore Christina Ng to step up to fill the void left by Gibson.
Middle Distance Freestyle: The Retrievers have a bevy of swimmers capable of making a major impact in the middle-distance events. Sackett, a junior in her second year at UMBC after transferring from Maryland, broke the school record in the 200- and 500-free at the 2005 George Mason Invitational, then reset the America East Championships 500-free mark and won gold in both events at AEC’s. Senior co-captain Agnes Stanislawska is an extremely versatile swimmer who held the 200 record entering last season, while junior Erin Mathews should step up this season. Cradock also believes freshman Brittany Johnson will stand out in the mid-distance events. Freshmen Kate Chialastri and Lindsay Sherman, junior co-captain Lisa Robinson and sophomore Sarah Aichele will add considerable depth.
Distance Freestyle: Sackett also had an outstanding season in the distance events, and Cradock expects more of the same from her this year. Sackett, the 2006 gold medalist in the 1,650-free, owns the school records in both the 1,000-free and the mile and the America East Championship record in the mile. Junior co-captain Rachel Lesslie took bronze in the 1,650 last season after winning the event as a freshman. Mathews and junior Kat Hubbard also scored in the mile last season and will continue to contribute, along with Aichele, Robinson and senior Jesse Rowton.
Backstroke: Lesslie and Stanislawska lead the way in the backstroke events. Stanislawska swam UMBC’s best times in both the 100- and 200-back last season and took silver in both events, while Lesslie finished eighth in the 200. Moorby, Robinson, Fitzpatrick and junior Mary Scott will contribute here, as well.
Breaststroke: Sophomore Tina Cantwell won silver in the 100-breast and bronze in the 200 at the America East Championships. “Tina really came out of her shell last year,” Cradock said. “She really surprised us and surprised herself, I believe, and she’s just a true contributor to this team.” Cantwell will lead a strong breaststroke unit that also includes Stanislawska, who won the 200-breast at seven meets and swam UMBC’s best times of the season in both events but stands out in so many strokes that she did not even compete in the event at AEC’s. Sophomore Joy Wilde also experienced a breakout at the conference meet and is poised for an even better year, while Cradock expects newcomers Johnson and Tereza Kaplanova to make an immediate impact in the breaststroke.
Butterfly: The Retrievers are also very strong in the butterfly events. Surkovich took silver in the 100-fly at the America East Championships with UMBC’s best time of the season, while Sackett won the 200 at five dual meets and also swam UMBC’s season-best time but did not compete in the event at AEC’s. Engler placed sixth in the 100-fly at the conference meet and will continue to make strong contributions. Cradock believes newcomers Chialastri and Sherman have untapped potential and could really stand out, while Moorby, Scott and senior Amy Mensch will add depth in the butterfly.
Individual Medley: Who else to lead the way in an event that combines all four strokes than Stanislawska, the school 200-IM record holder and the most versatile swimmer on the team? She is joined by Cantwell, who took bronze in the 400, and Wilde, who placed seventh in the 200. Kaplanova should stand out in her first season, and Johnson and Chialastri could also make an impact. Hubbard and Mensch will also contribute.
Diving: Houghton, a senior in her second year at UMBC after transferring from
The Retrievers’ dual meet season begins Oct. 21 against Rider. The 2006-07 schedule is very similar to that of last year’s and includes a rematch against