Oct. 23, 2009
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut women's swimming 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, Providence and Fordham on the women'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.
It is hard for UConn swimming and diving coach Bob Goldberg to accurately forecast what he expects for the season ahead for the women's team because of the youth of the squad.
UConn had some very talented swimmers graduate over the past two years and it will be important for the newcomers on the team to supplement the quality that already exists.
Leading the way for UConn will be the three senior captains of the team. Freestyler Molly McGroarty (Linwood, N.J.) had grown tremendously during her time at UConn and Goldberg believes she will be an incredible team leader this season.
"Every so often you have someone who has all the intangibles that put them in the center of the spotlight," says Goldberg. "She walked onto our team three years ago and has emerged as the face and personality of our squad due to her work ethic, team presence and likeability. She has a giant role to carry with the team this year and I believe she is fully capable of carrying her role proudly."
Butterflier Katie Tice (Aberdeen, N.J.) represents the true team spirit that the Husky squad is noted for.
"Kate has endured so much over her career," says Goldberg. "She has had some serious ear problems which required surgery and interrupted her career and training. Kate has endured that, waited patiently for her delicate operation to heal and has been able to get back into training. Throughout the ordeal she never complained, and last season, she managed to come all the way back and swim some of her career best times. It was a heartwarming moment."
Freestyler Rachel Harrison (Holliston, Mass.) has been very steady in the distance lane and will continue to lead that group by her example of hard work and commitment.
The Huskies will rely on the talented junior class this year and their performance will be key to the team. Kate Baust (Reistertown, Md.) has had a great career and comes off a long course summer of her best times in the breaststroke and IM events. Butterflier Sophie Staskiewicz (Riverdale, N.Y.) continues to train well and should break through to score at the BIG EAST Conference meet. Colleen Bower (Cumberland, R.I.) adds strength and depth to the Husky distance corps. Redshirt backstroker Carlyn Lungmus (Sarasota, Fla.) is a former YMCA National Champion and is coming of surgery and an interrupted season. If she returns to form, UConn adds a potential BIG EAST champion back into their lineup. UConn's most experienced diver is Jessica Hovancik (Valatie, N.Y.) and is also part of this class.
The sophomore class is an enormous group, which experienced a great deal of success last season. Caitlin Gallagher (Lawrence, Kansas) swam to All-BIG EAST honors in both the breaststroke and IM and was named Honorable Mention All-Academic. Goldberg believes Gallagher has only scratched the surface of her talent and her future. Chelsea Peitz (Fenton, Mich.) developed well all last year leading to her surprise final appearance in the 200-yard butterfly at the BIG EAST championship. Ali Aserlind (Coral Gables, Fla.) continued to improve in her freestyle events with personal best times and will be called on this season to help in the backstroke events. Erin DeVinney (Avondale, Ariz.) will also branch out from freestyle and continue to develop her butterfly event.
Much is also expected from a trio of sprinters -- Anna Drinka (San Antonio, Texas), who has conference level ability in the fly, free and breaststroke events; Suzannah Glaeser (Lawrence, Kansas) in the fly and backstroke events; and Ye Ling (Lake Worth, Fla.) in the sprint free and breaststroke events.
Rounding out this talented sophomore group is Hannah Kelly (West Hartford, Conn.), who is developing in the breaststroke, IM and freestyle, Samantha Cisneros (Garden Grove, Calif.), who has great range in all of the freestyle events, and talented diver Kelly McCauley (Cortland Manner, N.Y.). Second-year transfer Emily Luchansky (Shelton, Conn.) has shown great promise in the backstroke.
"Our sophomore class is a team unto themselves and with continued development will be a long term force in Husky swimming," says Goldberg.
"Our freshman class is promising and they appear to be strong and talented," says Goldberg. "While you don't like to rely on freshman, it is hard to ignore their potential."
This group includes: Kim Fleming (Mississauga, Ont.) in the backstroke, Jordan Bowen (Lake Elmo, Minn.), Kate Dobler (Pittsford, N.Y.), McGuire Kelly (West Hartford, Conn.), Mary DeMarrais (Bernardsville, N.J.), Isabelle Nat (Barrie, Ont.) and Nicole Frost (Norco, Calif) in the freestyle; Kate O'Leary (Brookfield, Conn.) and Maddie Froehlich (Hamden, Conn.) in the IM; Savitri Horrigan (Westport, Conn.) and Alison Daly (Gainesville, Fla.) in the breaststroke; and divers Nicole Borriello (Montgomery, N.Y.) and Danielle Cecco (Hicksville, N.Y.).
"We can swim fast in all of our events and dive well at every level," says Goldberg "We also have multiple challenges in an exciting dual meet schedule, a good mid-season taper meet, and swimmers who have the ability to make NCAA time standards. At all levels of our team, we have challenges that if we can rise up to, we can make ourselves better, improve our conference standings and continue to represent what UConn swimming and athletics has been for quite some time."