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2008-09 UMBC Swimming and Diving Outlook
The UMBC men’s swimming and diving team has won a league title each of the past 11 seasons. The Retrievers captured their fifth straight America East championship in the 2007-08 season, breaking a tie with
As the Retrievers begin their quest for number 12, head coach Chad Cradock would like to achieve yet another feat in UMBC history, to send a male swimmer or diver to the NCAA Championships.
“A conference championship is always our goal,” said Cradock, “but our ultimate goal is that we would like to send a male swimmer or diver to the NCAAs.”
While keeping eyes on individual accomplishments, Cradock sees the men’s team shaping out to be a force once again in the America East. After losing several key swimmers, including two UMBC record holders in Rasmus Kutt and Scott Auchter, Cradock will look for his returning underclassmen in addition to nine incoming freshmen to step up.
“With this team, we’re looking for our depth to be our strength,” he said. “I feel we’re able to fill shoes with current athletes that were on the team last year, as well as our incoming freshman class has a lot of talent that they will bring to this team. We are excited to see them compete.”
Cradock will look for last year’s top sprinters to continue to improve, including junior captain Matt Mattingly, seniors Sven Schneider and Milos Djukic and juniors Zach Vonder Haar and Fred Deal to lead the Retrievers in the sprints. In addition, freshman Evan Danz and Mattingly’s younger brother, Jason Mattingly, will be looking to make an immediate impact.
“We feel our sprint freestyle will be pretty strong with Jason coming in, and he should contribute right away,” Cradock said. “In addition, we are very excited about the relay opportunities that we have and the mix of returners and freshmen that will help us.”
Middle Distance Freestyle
Senior captain Justin Bronson will continue to lead UMBC in the mid-distance events after setting a school record in the 200 free last year. Senior Freddie Reitz will look to return to the high level of success he found when he broke Cradock’s UMBC record in the 500 free in 2006.
“Bronson has been a standout in the past and we’re looking for some good things out of the mid-distance swimmers as a whole,” Cradock said. Bronson and Reitz will also have stiff competition from seniors P.J. Sterba and Evan Roseberry, sophomores Eric Jones, Michell Donovan, Keilan Freeman and Brad Reitz and newcomers Mark Garbowski and Andrew Reid. Sophomore Danny Gray and freshman Tim Deklau will add even more depth.
Last year, Roseberry and sophomore Mat Carson, who finished fourth at the America East Championships, led the Retrievers in the distance events and Cradock will be looking for them to compete for the title at the conference championships, along with newcomer Reid. “We’re looking for our distance swimmers to step up, perform well and be consistent,” Cradock said.
Despite losing UMBC record-holder Ramsus Kutt, the Retrievers remain strong in the backstroke with seniors Djukic, Schneider and Carson teaming with Freeman and newcomer Nour Saad to create a formidable group. Djukic finished second in both the 100 and 200 back at the Amierca East Championships last year.
The Retrievers lose school record-holder Scott Autcher to graduation, but with sophomore Phillip Novonty, the Mattingly brothers, sophomore Kregg Deery and freshman John Mendenhall in the fold, the breaststrokers will not move back a step in 2008-09. “With the newcomers, we feel that our team can be really strong in the breaststroke,” Cradock said. Last year, Matt Mattingly finished fifth in the 100 breast at the conference championships.
The butterfly will once again be one of the Retrievers’ main strengths with Bronson, Sterba, Vonder Haar and Brad Reitz, who swept both the 100 and 200 events at the America East Championships last year, all coming back, along with freshmen Ben Wolbert and Danz also contributing. “I think that our fly can be extremely successful in the conference this year,” Cradock said. Last year, the Retrievers dominated the division at the conference championships, havingfive out of the top-seven in the 100 and three out of the top-four in the 200.
Once again, Cradock has just about as much depth as one can have in the IM events with Matt Mattingly, Brad Reitz and Carson all finishing in the top four in the 200 at the America East championships last year.
The Retrievers return three divers from last season in junior Matt Hamel and sophomores Daniel Grippi and Greg Gusemen, while adding freshman Alex Hess. “We’re looking for them to really step up and grow and mature as athletes over the year,” he said. “They need to learn how to handle the competition and be prepared to give us everything they have when given the opportunity.”
The Retrievers will kick off the 2008-09 season with an unscored meet against Bucknell on Oct. 4 and then will travel to
“This upcoming season is the toughest schedule that I have seen since my time as a head coach,” Cradock said. “We’re excited for some new challenges and the challenges that our regular opponents bring to us as well.”
The UMBC women’s swimming and diving team and head coach Chad Cradock came from behind to win their second consecutive America East championship in 2007-08.
The Retrievers entered the final day of competition 11 points behind meet leader Boston University, but crowned three conference champions en route to their second straight league title as they outdistanced the Terriers by 56 points.
Even with the departure of Lindsey Engler, who won two individual golds and was a part of two gold-medal winning relays at the conference championships, Cradock believes his team is up for a third straight title.
“Our women’s team is looking stronger than it did last year,” he said. “While we did lose some key individuals, a lot of our returners who brought us great success last year are ready to go. We are prepared for the challenge that the conference is going to give us.”
Even with the loss of Engler, Cradock sees the sprinters as being a strength for the Retrievers, led by senior captain Daniele Surkovich, who holds the UMBC record in the 100 free. Other returners that will contribute significantly are senior Christina Ng and sophomores Danielle Cruz, Gabby Johnston and Erin Wohlers. Also, freshmen Ashley Miller, Kathryn Moorby, Ashley Sippel and Abbey McKenney will add to a strong group of sprinters. “The freshmen are the X-factor, and we are excited for the opportunity to see them grow,” said Cradock.
Middle Distance Freestyle
Surkovich will also lead the Retrievers in the mid-distance free events, as she holds the UMBC record in the 200 free and broke the America East Championship record in the 500 free last season, while Cruz, Miller, junior transfer Sam Maccherola and sophomore Sarah Ryan will provide strong depth. “The mid-distance events have a lot of our versatile athletes that cross over from other distances,” the coach said. He will also look to Ng, junior transfer Jennifer Esposito, juniors Brittany Johnson and Lindsay Sherman, along with sophomore Julie Cantwell and freshmen Laura Tilman and Miller to contribute as well.
The Retrievers return last year’s top-two finishers in the 1,650 free in sophomores Rebecca Godwin and Cassie Dobrzanksi, while adding Maccherola and freshmen Lindsey McGaw and Pink Kinanti. Maccherola was part of the 800 free relay team at
A year after thinking the backstroke events may be a little weaker than others, Cradock is confident that returners Julie Cantwell and junior captain Tereza Kaplanova, along with newcomers Kelsey Fitzpatrick, Laura Tilman and Moorby will provide the Retrievers with a strong group of backstrokers. “We’ll see how the freshmen come in and see how they play out and our backstroke has the potential to be really strong as well,” he said.
With a two-time double conference champion in the 100 and 200 breast in senior Tina Cantwell and top-eight finishers in Kaplanova and Johnston, the breaststroke events are one of the Retrievers’ best categories. “Tina is always somebody we have been able to count on,” said Cradock. He also expects to see contributions from Johnson, junior Joy Wilde, along with freshman Laura Rogers.
Another stronghold for the Retrievers is the butterfly events, where junior Lindsay Sherman took the gold in the 200 fly, while Johnston, Chialastri and Ryan were all top-eight finishers at the conference championships. Add to this group Moorby, Kinanti and Esposito, who garnered six Division II All-America accolades while at C.W. Post, and Cradock sees this as being a real strength again for UMBC. “(The flyers) really brought the fire on the last day of the (America East) Championships, and this event for us is actually stronger this year,” he said.
Like the men’s side, the women’s squad is full of talented swimmers who will compete at a very high level for the Retrievers. Kaplanova finished second at the conference championships last year, while both Cantwell sisters finished in the top-nine. These three, along with Wilde, Johnson, Dobrzanski, Godwin and Kinanti will provide UMBC with a great opportunity to challenge at the conference championships. “It once again shows how well-rounded our team is with the IM events,” said Cradock.
Sophomores Crystal Gall and Amanda Shinholser return for 2008-09 to make up the Retrievers’ diving squad and Cradock sees great potential in both. “Amanda has really improved over the year and has put in a lot of dedication, and we’re looking for
The Retrievers will kick off the 2008-09 season with an unscored meet against Bucknell on Oct. 4 and then travel to
“The strength of our schedule and the challenges we face will allow us to become a better team and a better program,” said Cradock.