Oct. 18, 2012
STORRS, Conn. -
The University of Connecticut men's swimming and diving teams opens its 2012-13 season on Saturday when it plays host to Fordham and Bucknell at the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium in Storrs at noon. The Husky women's swimming and diving team will also open action at the same time against the Rams and Bison.
Veteran head coach Bob Goldberg and the entire UConn coaching staff feel that this could be one of the best men's team the program has ever had. With graduating only three swimmers, the team returns many of the important swimmers from the past year and adds eight freshmen who will complete the team.
The senior class features four outstanding swimmers headed by Kyungsoo Yoon (Toronto, Ont.). Yoon is one of the best sprinters ever to ever come through the doors at UConn and makes his presence felt in the free, fly and breaststroke events. Yoon has incredible natural speed and has been a championship finalist at the conference level every year and last season won the 100-yard freestyle at the Pitt Invitational.
Nick Cerra (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) has made a remarkable recovery from his freshman season when he was out of the water with a broken wrist. This year looks to be his best in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterlfly as well as his IM. In addition, Cerra continues a swimmers' tradition by serving as President of SAAC (Student Athletes Advisory Council).
Joe Glowacki (Erie, Pa.) is another key flier for the Huskies evenly matched with Cerra. Together they give the Huskies a solid 1-2 punch in that event.
The final senior is Sean Cook (Doylestown, Pa.), who has been the proverbial `jack of all trades' for the Huskies. He is solid in both backstrokes as well as sprint to mid-distance freestyle. Together these four swimmers provide a lot of leadership for UConn.
On the diving side, there are two senior performers. Grant Fecteau
(Delmar, N.Y.) finished fifth in the one-meter and seventh in the three-meter last season at the BIG EAST Championship. He also finished in the top eight of each event at the NCAA Zone championship. Fecteau has plenty of natural ability and works hard looking to make an advance on both championships with a refined focus. He has the potential to be in the hunt for an invitation to NCAA nationals.
Anthony Cortright (Wallingford, Conn.) is only his third year in the sport and has made tremendous strides. He is a former gymnast, who has explosive moves. With improved boardwork, Cortright has the competitive edge to make the finals at the BIG EAST Conference Championships and compete well at the NCAA Zone meet.
The juniors are led by Keith Piper (Naperville, Ill.) who is the main backstroke threat for UConn, but always makes his presence felt on relays in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle. Sean Battle (Allison Park, Pa.) is another junior who is key for the Huskies and who made great competitive strides last season.
Ben Yacano (Glen Allen, Va.) is a solid butterflier who is challenged to bring his long course time to the 25-yard course in helping the Huskies be competitive. While a junior, Justyn Alexandre (Wallingford, Conn.) is only in his second season swimming after redshirting his first year on campus. He has made some big improvements in his backstroke last year and has shown real speed in sprint butterfly. Both Chris Alvanos (Chester Springs, Pa.) and Zack Coleman (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) are challenged with rehabbing injuries in order to become competitive this season.
The sophomore class is led by Lachezar Shumkov (Sofia, Bulgaria), who had a remarkable first season for the Huskies. He swam well for the Huskies all season then established the 200-yard breaststroke record at the conference meet in February. Capping off a great year, he won his first Bulgarian National Championship in breaststroke this past summer.
Giving UConn a strong 1-2 punch in breaststroke is teammate and classmate Wyatt Boliek (Greenville, S.C.). He also had a strong first season at UConn, then went home and swam his best ever long course times this summer in preparation for his sophomore year with the Huskies.
Luke Zalewski (Burlington, Conn.) experienced a successful transition as a freshman from sprint and mid-distance swimmer to a quality miler at the conference meet. He should be even stronger this year. The final second year swimmer is Sawyer Franz (Pine, Colo.), who has a great deal of potential in several events. His record setting swims in the 400-yard IM and mile at the BIG EAST Conference meet are indications of good things ahead for him.
The freshmen are an exciting group who can be real positive forces for the Huskies. London Olympian Diguan Pigot (Miami, Fla.) adds to the Huskies incredible team of breaststrokers, but his abilities include every stroke and a solid IM.
Another potential impact swimmer is Mike Lennon (Williston Park, N.Y.). Fresh off the 2012 United States Olympic trials, his distance free is impressive along with strokes and IM's. YMCA National finalist Greg Baliko (Fanwood, N.J.) is another IM'er and breaststoker, who can swim many events. Sprinter Jeff Flynn (Absecon, N.J.) adds depth and potential on the short free and fly events.
Jeff Magin (Brookfield, Conn.) comes to UConn following in his brother Bill's footsteps. Bill capped a great UCONN career as team captain and is now in med school. Jeff appears to have championship level speed in the backstroke events. Another sprinter who will contribute is Jeandre Pretorius (Maitland, Fla.), a native of South Africa and competed this summer in the Olympic Trials. The final freshman is Ryan Walsh (Monroe, N.Y.), who is multi-talented in several events including butterfly and backstroke. This group presents a solid core of swimmers who will be factors for the Huskies for the next several years.
On the diving side, John Brice (Bala Cynwood, Pa.) had a very solid Junior Olympic career and has a tremendous sense of how to get in the water from any which way. With hard work on fundamentals, Brice should compete for top spots at the BIG EAST Championship, as well as make the finals at the NCAA Zone championship.
There are scoring threats in every event and potential conference championship swimmers in several events. Following the Huskies men this season will be fun with so much talent and youth on the team. The key will be each member of the group taking their responsibility to train hard and swim fast in their spots. If they are able to do that they will certainly add up to a very strong team.