Chinyere Pigot was an Olympian for Suirname in 2008 and 2012.
Oct. 18, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut women’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 men’s swimming and diving team will also open action at the same time against the Rams and Bison.
As has been the case for the past 24 years under head coach Bob Goldberg, the UConn women will pose a serious challenge to every team they swim against this year with versatile swimmers in every class and in every event.
“There are a lot of swimmers on our team in each class and in each event that are leaders in and out of the pool,” said Goldberg. “We have been fortunate at UConn to identify and recruit great student-athletes to complete our team. They work hard, swim fast, do well in school and are a joy to be around.”
The senior class will be counted on as the leaders in every respect. Heading this class is Jordan Bowen (Lake Elmo, Minn.), who was a top recruit four years ago and who has lived up to her promise with a remarkable career. She is the school record holder in four individual events as well as three relays and is a consistent threat at in-season meets and a major factor at the BIG EAST Conference Championships. The NCAA’s are within Bowen’s reach this season.
Mary deMarrais (Bernardsville, N.J.) is another freestyler who can also double in butterfly and IM.
“She is so versatile, it is difficult to know Mary’s best events”, said Goldberg.
Along with Bowen and deMarrais is the team’s third captain Kate O’Leary (Brookfield, Conn.).
“Coming from walk-on to scholarship swimmer, Kate leads by a ‘work hard’ example in everything she does, and an example that has shown success through motivation and determination,” says Goldberg
Kim Fleming (Mississauga, Ont.) is another talented swimmer who is best in backstroke. “Kim has been under 56 seconds and 2:00 in the backstrokes and hopes to be there again at season’s end,” says Goldberg.
Isabelle Nat (Barrie, Ont.) is a quick and quality freestyler who is best in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyles and loves to perform under pressure. Nat always comes through in close races.
The final senior is Kate Dobler (Pittsford, N.Y.), who also has had a remarkable career, breaking the 1:50 barrier twice last season at the BIG EAST Conference.
“I believe she can go even faster this year and post a 1:47 or 1:48 in her 200 freestyle,” says Goldberg.
UConn has two highly-decorated senior divers. Danielle Cecco (Hicksville, N.Y.) was the BIG EAST Champion last year in the one-meter and runner-up in the three-meter. She also defended her three-meter NCAA Zone championship as well. Cecco scored at the NCAA National Championships and is looking to further refine skills in boardwork and entries to have another terrific year.
Nicole Borriello (Montgomery, N.Y.) finished tenth in the BIG EAST Conference on the one-meter last year. She has an incredible ethic and is striving for consistency to reach career peaks this year. She has all the potential to make finals on both boards at Conference and Zone championships this season.
The juniors, while not imposing in size, are also very talented. They are led by Kati Kyle (Lithia, Fla.), who has been an incredibly solid and reliable backstroker.
“She is as good in the 50-yard backstroke leading off a relay as she is in the 200 back and always can pull out a close race” said Goldberg. “She has great turns and underwaters.”
Catie Chang (Savage, Minn.) is a versatile swimmer, who can be used in the IM’s, butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle. She adds great quality depth to the team. The third member is Courtney Gregorian (Burlington, Ont.), who has potential in the butterfly events. Finally, Sharon Scott (Shelton, Conn.) hopes to continue to develop into a solid contributor for the Huskies.
The sophomores are led by Chinyere Pigot (Miami, Fla.), who is already building a great swimming resume. She holds the UConn 50-yard freestyle record, was All-BIG EAST Conference selection as a freshman and has swum in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games representing her native Suriname. In the 2012 London games, she was selected to carry their national flag in opening ceremonies.
Holly Gallagher (Haddon Township, N.J.) is in a position to take over the lead butterfly spot for UConn, posting a solid 2:02 last year and looking to go faster. Katy Munzenmaier (Lake George, N.Y.) has developed into an all-around swimmer with her best events appearing to be the 200-yard IM and 200-yard freestyle. Hannah Perna (Hillsborough, N.J.) backs up the distance group but has shown real promise in the 200-yard butterfly. Caryn Smith (Huntington, N.Y.) is a solid sprinter who adds depth and spirit to the sprint crew.
The freshmen always present a new look for the team and new challenges for the coaches to develop them. A late addition to the Huskies, Laura Hyland (Southport, England) appears to be a real quality find. She has great potential in the breaststroke events but has shown remarkable ability in the freestyle also.
Rachel Burke (Wayne, Ill.) is another newcomer who has the coaches excited. She can become a major factor for the Huskies in all the freestyle events and will impact the relays. Laura Ruttan (Stittsville, Ont.) will join Hyland in the breaststroke events and they look to give the Huskies a solid freshmen scoring punch.
Connecticut natives Caitlin Cole (Trumbull, Conn.) will add greatly to the UConn distance lane as will Alexis Henry (Old Saybrook, Conn.) in the sprints. Emily Boyko (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) in the butterfly and Marston Fries (Mission Hills, Kansas) in the freestyle are solid additions for the Huskies and Kennedy Meier (Winnipeg, Man.) and Kristen Goodson (Fort Myers, Fla.) are impressive in early training in the backstroke events.
In diving, Taryn Urbanus (Quincy, Mass.) has a strong background in high school and possesses great natural ability in her moves and graceful lines. She has a great attitude, is willing to work hard and has the potential to score at the BIG EAST Championship in her first year, as well as qualify for the Zone Meet.
The UConn women have had a very long and strong history of team success in the pool and in the classroom that should continue to be enhanced this year. They look to continue their incredible academic success which has become legendary on campus. In the pool with their strong leadership in the senior class along with the large infusion of young swimmers and a very solid group of sophomores and juniors, the Huskies will be exciting to watch.