Oct. 21, 2010
STORRS, Conn. - The 2010-11 version of the University of Connecticut men's swimming and diving team opens its season on Saturday when it plays host to the annual Husky Invitational. This year's field includes UConn, Providence, Central Connecticut, Fordham and Fairfield. The action begins at noon at the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium.
This year's Husky team is one that head coach Bob Goldberg has been waiting for a long time.
There have been some great individual swimmers and some really good teams that have come through the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium doors at UConn, but Goldberg feels this could be one of the best.
"This team is not relying any one person and that is what could make this team so special," says Goldberg. "We have talent from top to bottom, and while perhaps we don't have a potential record holder in every event, we can challenge our records in just about any event. When I look at our lineup I see no holes, no weaknesses and no liabilities. Of course, that infers that everyone has to do their job in their events, perform up to expectations and stay healthy, but I think this group wants to do just that!"
There are losses to graduation that the Huskies must make up for. At the diving end, a big loss comes from the graduation of NCAA qualifier Steve Ferreira. Also gone is World Swimming Championship competitor Jon Wong and UConn Club Outstanding Senior Athlete John Hogan. Also missing will be proven relay star Bill Magin and breaststroker- IM'er Steve Kustra.
The undisputed leader of the team and co captain is senior Alex Davidson (Pointe-Claire, Que.). One of the hardest workers ever for the Huskies, Davidson owns the records in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke. He has earned All-BIG EAST Conference honors and has had outstanding success during his career at his home Canadian Nationals, finishing in the top eight nationally several times.
"Alex has his sights set on the NCAA qualifying mark of 1:44 for the 200-yard backstroke, and while very difficult to achieve, I believe he can go that fast," says Goldberg.
Equally hard working is fellow co-captain Tim Krompinger (New Fairfield, Conn.). "There are times I have to hold Tim back in his training so he can rest enough for meets," says Goldberg.
The third member of this class is Tomasz Sobek (Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland), a gifted breaststroker who has yet to reach his potential despite owning UConn records. NCAA times are within Sobek's reach.
Like the seniors, there are only three juniors on this year's team, but they are very important members.
Nick Majtenyi (St. Catherines, Ont.) has evolved into one of the most accomplished swimmers on the team in freestyle and fly and has the added influence of being one of the academic study group leaders for the Huskies. The other study group leader is Matt Connor (Venetia, Pa.), whose best event is the 400 IM with strong breaststroke events. Mitch Dansky (Winchendon, Mass.) is the third member of the class with skill in mid-distance and distance freestyle along with good butterfly and backstroke. These three performers can cover a lot of events and will be counted on this year and next for their leadership skills.
The sophomores are an intimidating group of swimmers with a big impact on the Huskies. These eight performers can comprise a team of their own and as they go, so will the fortunes of the Huskies.
Jeremy Ramshaw (Mississauga, Ont.) has unlimited potential for UConn as he can swim about everywhere and Goldberg is still unsure what his best event may be. With great backstroke and IM, he also has had some impressive freestyle times. Joe Glowacki (Erie, Pa.) is one of the best all- around athletes on the team and is quickly becoming a force in the butterfly and free events. He could certainly step into the hole left by Magin on the relays.
Sean Cook (Doylestown, Pa.) is another versatile swimmer who will continue to improve in backstroke, but needs to give equal time to his freestyle. Kyungsoo Yoon (Toronto, Ont.) can do everything - sprint, swim mid-distance free and is strong in several strokes - and has strong potential in all of them.
"Kyungsoo can certainly qualify for the NCAAs with the right race," says Goldberg.
The final three members of this class have not yet swum for the Huskies despite being sophomores and that makes Goldberg very excited. Nick Cerra (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) fractured his wrist early last year and had to do rehabilitation all season. He is a quality butterflier and IMer. Jens Peter Traff is a transfer from Denmark. His freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke are all great. The coaching staff has waited for Karim Zayed (Montreal, Que.) to race for the Huskies for over a year as he did not compete last season.
The freshmen are an unusually large group for the Huskies, but are full of talented swimmers.
Asher Garcia (Pinecrest, Fla.) will be heard from in several events while Keith Piper (Naperville, Ill.) is only a few weight room workouts away from becoming an outstanding backstroker. Sean Battle (Allison Park, Pa.) has some great high school times and will play a role, as will distance freestyler Zach Coleman (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.). Ben Yacano (Glen Allen, Va.) had a great Juniors last summer and has an impressive butterfly. Adam McNally (Leominster, Mass.) is from neighboring Massachusetts and has quality potential in the breaststroke.
"With new coaches, a challenging and difficult schedule and a talented team there is a lot of energy and optimism around the team and pool this year," says Goldberg. "I feel that Tyson Hurst and Janelle Wignall Atkinson are great assistant coaches and UConn record holder John Hogan will be an invaluable coaching asset since he `knows the ropes' so well and has a very high swimming IQ.
"We have a team of veterans who want to be good and know what it takes to get there, and we have a group of young swimmers trying to make their mark on an already established team. Everyday they are pushing each other to get faster, tougher and better. Guiding them are several pairs of coaching eyes who have a great deal of experience and their sights set on producing excellence! The result will be a pretty high quality team at our BIG EAST Conference meet in February and some post-season swims that will make UConn proud."
The diving side of the team lost a talented performer in Steve Ferreira from last year, but return a solid group. Senior Adam Genuario (Norwalk, Conn.) was a BIG EAST finalist on the three-meters last year while sophomore Sophomore Grant Fecteau (Delmar, N.Y.) was a BIG EAST finalist on the one-meter and made cuts at the NCAA Zone meet. Junior Brad Schott (Wilton, Conn.) will look to make the conference and zone meets while newcomer junior Anthony Cortright will also be a factor.
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