The SUNY Potsdam swimming and diving teams open the 2012-13 season at home on Saturday, Oct. 27, when the Bears host Skidmore at 1 p.m. Potsdam is home for six meets this winter, including the annual North Country Invitational on Nov. 16-17. The SUNYAC Championships occur later in the season this year, from Feb. 20-23 at Erie Community College in Buffalo, N.Y.
Ken McLaughlin returns for his 11th season as the Bears head coach. Joining him this year are assistants Nathan LaRowe '10 and Brittany Berrus '11. LaRowe was a four-time All-American at Potsdam, capping his career with the 2010 1-meter diving national championship. Berrus finished her career as a SUNYAC finalist as well as part of the record setting 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
The Bears battled through a long season in 2011-12, but hit their stride at the SUNYAC Championships with some outstanding individual performances. The Bears set six new records and Alexander Taylor won SUNYAC titles in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events on his way to being named Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet and first team all-conference.
Below is a breakdown of each team entering the upcoming season.
Returnees: Alexander Taylor (Sr., IM/BR/FR) – first team All-SUNYAC; Richie Zimmerman (Jr., BR/IM/BK) – SUNYAC finalist; Dan Costa (So., BK/FR), Marcus Domfort (Sr., FLY/IM), Ed Smith (Sr., Clay, FR/FLY), Andrew Rao (Sr., BR); Jeff Scarano (Sr., Diving), Jeremy Rose (Jr., BK/FR)
Newcomers: Tyler Zapisek (Fr., FR/FLY/IM), Delvyne Santiago (Fr., IM), Chris Carlini (Fr., BR) Juan Perez (Fr., FR), Andy Szentkuti (Fr., Diving), Alec Covey (Fr., BR), Will Dawson (Sr., Diving), Joe Roger (Fr., BK)
Outlook: The Bears men have a strong group of veterans returning led by captains Taylor, Zimmerman, Domfort and Smith. Taylor, Zimmerman, Domfort and Ryan Wentz '12 set a new school mark in the 800 free relay at SUNYAC's last year. Costa, Potsdam's top backstroke sprinter is also back. A strong freshmen class, including Zapisek, Santiago and Carlini, will make the Bears men much improved. McLaughlin is impressed with the combination of experience and young talent.
“The guys will take down some more records this year,” McLaughlin said.
Returnees: Liz Ringer (Sr., FLY/IM) – SUNYAC finalist, Paige Montroy (Sr., BK/FR), Kylie Barr (Sr., BR/FR/IM), Michelle Faughnan (Sr., FR), Ghena Binzer (Jr., BR), Christina Smith (Jr., Diving), Victoria Blakeslee (So., IM/FR/IM), Kallee Frego (So., FR), Emily Kanoza (So., FR/BK)
Newcomers: Jackie Cunningham (Fr., FR/FLY), Errolynn Bradley (Fr., FR), Melissa Moreland (Fr., FR), Jackie Ranieri (Jr., FR), Rosalie Wendling (Fr., FR/FLY), Grace Zimmerman (Fr., FR)
Outlook: The women's team had several departures making the experience and leadership of Ringer, Blakeslee and Kanoza all the more important. Ringer set a school record in the 100 butterfly and joined Blakeslee and Binzer on the Bears' school record setting 200 medley relay team at SUNYACs. While overall, the women remain in a rebuilding phase, McLaughlin has already identified one bright spot in Potsdam's rookies.
“Jackie Cunningham will be one to watch,” added McLaughlin. “She's a very good sprinter.
Due to the shifting of the swimming schedule, the Bears started training a bit later this season, but McLaughlin is pleased by what he's seen from his team so far.
“We're looking pretty good at this point,” McLaughlin said. “The training is getting tougher, so our swimmers our tiring, but they've shown promise in the preseason.”
When the Bears hit the pool on Saturday morning, they'll be ready for the Thoroughbreds.