Oct. 21, 2010
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut women's swimming and diving team for 2010-11 looks to be a repeat of the same high quality swimmers of the teams that the Huskies has been blessed with in recent years. The team opens the season on Saturday with the Husky Invitational at the Wolff-Zackin Natatorium. Besides UConn, the field consists of Providence, Fordham and Fairfield.
Head coach Bob Goldberg has been able to maintain a consistent flow of swimmers who have the skills and the goals of competing at their highest level. The team has had the work ethic and motivation to work towards constant personal improvement and women have the pride to represent the Huskies in the best manner possible.
With so many swimmers at UConn on the same page, it is no wonder that the women maintain such a high level of performance. Goldberg proudly reinforces the fact that they have produced a high level of performance both in the pool as well as in the classroom under the guidance of academic advisor John Miceli.
Leading the group of Huskies this year are three member of the senior class. Co-captain Kate Baust (Reistertown, Md.)has been a top performer for the Huskies in each of her first three seasons. She is a gifted breaststroker who can swim in the IM events and is also very good in the sprint freestyle. She has clearly stepped up as a swimmer and as a leader being elected as a team captain.
Her fellow co-captain is Sophie Staskiewicz (Riverdale, N.Y.), who can swim in so many events including all the freestyle events and both butterflies. Staskiewicz is also a role model in all phases of training as she is a very accomplished performer in the Huskies dry land program as well. Emily Luchansky (Shelton, Conn.) is the third member of this group and has seen good improvement in her backstroke events and will become a factor this season for the Huskies.
"This senior class has been here for three year and seen a lot of very good swimming," says Goldberg. "They know what it takes to excel and are willing to lead this group in that direction."
The juniors are a major part of this team and carry a large part of the responsibility for how far this team will go. Ali Aserlind (Coral Gables, Fla.) is a quality backstroker and mid-distance freestyler, who shows a great deal of dedication to the program everyday. She is a top student, a learning group leader and talented swimmer. Aserlind sets high standards for herself as well as those around her. Samantha Cisneros (Garden Grove, Calif.) is another top student who excels in all things that she does. Last year was a good year for Cisneros as her free and IM showed real improvement.
Erin DeVinney (Avondale, Ariz.) has set her sights on erasing her sister Katie's name from the record board at UConn is the 200-yard butterfly -- as well as establishing a new mark on the DeVinney's sisters record board. Balancing her commitment as a nursing major with a commitment to swimming has been something that DeVinney has done very well and been successful with at UConn.
One of the emerging stars for the Huskies is Caitlin Gallagher (Lawrence, Kansas). Over the last two years, she has shown improvement is all areas and now Gallagher will focus mainly on breaststroker in an effort to advance to the NCAAs.
Hannah Kelly (West Hartford, Conn.) has shown steady progress in her IM events and should continue to score for the Huskies. Ye Ling (Lake Worth, Fla.) emerged last year to set the school record in the 50-yard freestyle and can continue to lower that mark as her sprints are needed for the relays. The final member of this group is Chelsea Peitz (Fenton, Mich.) who continues to improve in the butterfly events and is a team leader in many areas outside of the pool.
"These six athletes are great representatives of UConn swimming, UConn athletics and college swimming in general," says Goldberg. "I am proud of what they have accomplished in their time here and look forward to see them continue to improve for the next two years"
The sophomore class for the UConn are another very impressive group and will make some noise this year with one year's experience under their belt
Jordan Bowen (Lake Elmo, Minn.) is one of the quality athletes in this group and a lot is expected from her.
"Swimming a career best 4:49 in her 500-yard freestyle was no accident from Jordan and she can go faster in that event and all her freestyle events," says Goldberg.
Hard on her heals are a group of very fast swimmers in several events led by Mary DeMarrais (Bernardsville, N.J.).
"Mary's best swimming is ahead of her in so many ways and I am happy to be able to be here to watch her improve. We just have to decide which of her many events is best for her," says Goldberg.
Another emerging star is Kate Dobler (Pittsford, N.Y.). Coming out of `nowhere' onto the college scene, Dobler made fabulous strides last year and stayed on campus to get stronger this summer.
Kim Fleming (Mississauga, Ont.) anchored the backstroke last year and had a productive summer in Canadian swimming. "I expect great things from Kim in backstroke this year," says Goldberg.
Maddie Froehlich (Hamden, Conn.) made a great contribution in the IM's last year and looks to continue to do so this year. Another key swimmer is Nicole Frost (Norco, Calif.), who swam well last year and is needed in the sprint events, but has to rebound from an injury last season.
Savitri Horrigan (Westport, Conn.) is a quality breaststroker who can be a factor at the BIG EAST Conference meet. A surprise for the Huskies last year was McGuire Kelly (West Hartford, Conn.) in the freestyle events and with continued improvements is hoping to be under 5:00 this year in her 500-yard freestyle.
A backstroker with some potential is Tanya Lama (Monterrey, Mexico) who can improve to BIG EAST Conference standards this year. The final two members of this year's large class are Isabelle Nat (Barrie, Ont.), who has quality potential in the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle, and Kate O'Leary (Brookfield, Conn.), who can swim any number of events including free and breaststroke.
"Isabelle and Kate, along with the rest of this class are all quality people, quality swimmers and a group I love to be around," says Goldberg. "I am happy they are sophomore because they have one year of experience under their belt and know what to expect and, as sophomores, I will have three more years to be around and enjoy them."
The freshmen class is small in numbers but a talented group of three swimmers.
"We really did not have a lot of room on the team so we focused on a few athletes that would help us and are really happy with them," says Goldberg.
Catie Chang (Savage, Minn.) can swim everywhere and will contribute in the IM and breaststroke, but has a competitive freestyle as well. Kati Kyle (Lithia, Fla.) has a great backstroke and big-time potential in the event with good underwater technique and a strong stroke. Courtney Gregorian (Burlington, Ont.) has a great butterfly stroke with potential to go under 2:00 in the 200-yard butterfly.
"These are three swimmers who can make an immediate impact on our program at the BIG EAST Conference level. Every day I watch our women train and I know what our potential can be," says Goldberg "Everyday I also hear them talk about their personal and team goals and I am excited for them. If we can put together their goals and their potential on the same day, we can and will be a very good team."
On the diving side, there are a number of talented performers. Sophomore Danielle Cecco (Hickville, N.Y.) had an outstanding first season as she finished in third place at the BIG EAST in the three-meter event, to earn All-Conference honors, and made the consolation round in the one-meter. At the NCAA Zones, she was fourth in the three-meters and sixth on the one-meter.
Senior Jessica Hovancik (Valatie, N.Y.) was a consolation finalist at the BIG EAST meet as a sophomore, but missed most of last year with an injury. She will look to rebound this year. Junior Kelly McCauley (Cortland Manor, N.Y.) made the consolation finals at BIG EASTs last year and will look for continued improvement while sophomore Nicole Borriello (Montgomery, N.Y.) made the consolation finals at the BIG EAST meet as a freshman and qualified for the NCAA Zone meet.
The women's swimming and diving team has the potential to have a great year for the Huskies. A team of quality athletes, a staff of quality and excited coaches and a challenging schedule will only serve to get the Huskies ready for a great conference meet in February.