Oct. 23, 2009
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men's swimming and diving team will open its 2009-10 season on Saturday when it plays host to the Husky Invitational at noon. at the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium. The event will feature Connecticut, Fairfield, Fordham, Providence and Merchant Marine on the men's side.
Fairfield swept Holy Cross in both men's and women's swimming on Oct. 18 before participating in Fordham's dual meet with St. Peter's. The Rams opened the year with a victory at Marist on Oct. 22. The United States Merchant Marine Academy's men's tennis team was selected to win the Landmark Conference as the King's Point Mariner's season starts at the Husky Invitational on Saturday.
With the graduation of a great senior class and one of UConn's best all-time swimmers in Adrian Astiz (Rockville, Md.), the University of Connecticut men's swimming and diving team will face a challenge this year.
The Huskies have several holes in the line up to replace and are focused on doing just that with a very talented senior class. Leading the way in the pool will be butterflier-freestyler John Hogan (Walkersville, Md.), who comes off his best summer of long course swimming with a successful appearance at the U.S. Open. Last season was a tremendous one for him as he established a new school record in the 500-yard freestyle and looks to lower that mark and add a butterfly record this year.
Jon Wong (Toronto, Ont.) also had a productive summer as he qualified for his second World Championships representing his native Jamaica. Bill Magin (Brookfield, Conn.) has improved his freestyle sprints and should be in a position to step in for the graduated Jules Alexandre. Stephen Kustra (North Huntington, Pa.) is recovering from surgery and should be up to full form by mid-season strengthening the Husky breaststroke and IM events.
Stephen Ferreira (Madison, Conn.) is the lone senior diver and has been a BIG EAST finalist on both the one-meter and three-meter boards. He is a school record holder in both those events and is a NCAA Zone Regional finalist. Backstroker Alex Davidson (Pointe-Claire, Quebec) leads a small, but potent, junior class. "Alex has improved more than any swimmer we have ever had at Connecticut," says Goldberg. "He is starting to earn a stellar reputation in his native Canada and will challenge for the BIG EAST Conference crown and an NCAA berth in the 200-yard backstroke this year."
Tomasz Sobek (Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland) is another jewel in the junior class. His breaststroke times can get him to the NCAA's if he can put together the right race at the BIG EAST Conference meet. The third member of this class is Tim Krompinger (New Fairfield, Conn.), who has improved his swimming and his strength and could be a scorer at the conference level. Also with the juniors is diver Adam Genuario (Norwalk, Conn.). The sophomores are a pretty tough group, according to Goldberg.
Nick Majtenyi (Catherines, Ont.) was a real surprise last season coming and swimming his best times at the conference meet and repeating success during this summer's long course season. Matt Connor (Venetia, Pa.) had his true times hidden last season by a severe case of the flu at the BIG EAST Conference meet, but there is a lot of potential there. "Matt has a lot to show this year and we will need him in the IM's and breaststroke," says Goldberg.
The wild card of this class is Mitch Dansky (Winchendon, Mass), who is clearly the best trainer everyday in the water for the Huskies.
"Despite swimming his best times last year, there is a lot more in Mitch," says Goldberg. "My goal is to see him race in big meets as fast as he trains everyday." Sophomore diver Brad Schott (Wilton, Conn.) earned a spot in last year's NCAA Zone Diving Regional.
This year's team will rely heavily on a group of freshman that may prove with time to be the best in the history of the UConn program. A trio of Canadians in Karim Zayed (Montreal, Que.), Kyungsoo Yoon (Toronto, Ont.) and Jeremy Ramshaw (Mississauga, Ont.) all look to make an impact on the team immediately.
"These three swimmers could have a tremendous influence on UConn and BIG EAST swimming this season," says Goldberg. "I'd be surprised if some of these swimmers are not still swimming in March at the NCAAs."
The freshman class also includes Brendan Murphy (Watertown, Conn.) and Nick Cerra (New Hyde Park, N.Y.), who are conference-level scorers. The class is rounded out by Joe Glowacki (Erie, Pa.), Taylor Volpe (Washingtonville, N.Y.), Peter Zalewski (Burlington, Conn.) and Sean Cook (Doylestown, Pa.). Grant Fecteau (Delmar, N.Y.) is a freshman diver.
"I expect that we can have some real success in the BIG EAST Conference this season, even more than in some previous years because our relays look to be stronger than they have been," says Goldberg. "We have several individuals competing for spots on those relays and that brings out the best in us. I also think we have a good chance at sending swimmers to NCAA Championship."