PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Another sports season gets underway at Plymouth State College this weekend when the women's swimming and diving takes to the pool at the Betty Spears Relays in Wellesley, Mass., hosted by Wellesley College.
The Panthers are one of six teams competing Saturday (Nov. 8) in the one-day meet, beginning at 1 p.m.. Numerous events are held in both swimming and diving, giving the teams plenty of early season action. The Panthers return home next Saturday (Nov. 15) for a dual meet against Westfield State at the PSC Natatorium (1:00 p.m.), one of just three home meets this season and the only home meet this semester.
The Panthers are looking for another solid season under seventh-year head coach Al Switzer. PSC turned in a 10-2 record last season, and has a 40-19 mark under Switzer. Plymouth State always sends a solid contingent to the New England Division III Championships, and is on the verge of qualifying one or two individuals for the NCAA Championships. PSC will have meets on 10 different dates this season, leading up to the New England Championships, hosted this year by Wesleyan University (Conn.).
"There are exciting possibilities ahead for PSC," said Switzer, who coached the University of Maine men to a pair of Division I New England championships before coming to Plymouth State. "A number of last year's swimmers and divers return for this season, although the graduation loss of two key swimmers leaves a challenge for returnees and newcomers alike. Many of the incoming women lack considerable competition experience, but look good in the water. They must develop as racers, quickly. Their rapid development could be the key to the team's success this year."
1997-98 Coach's Preview
Freestyle events will be represented well at all distances. Sophomore record holder Meagan Buckley (Haverhill, MA) will lead the sprinters, with good support coming from seniors Rebecca Ritchie (Auburn, ME) and Danielle Paturzo (Marlow, NH). Middle distance and distance events will be paced by junior Christa Smith (North Yarmouth, ME), a record holder in the 500, 1000, and 1650. She will be joined by Aimee Cormier (Milford, ME), Joyce Mailhot (Lewiston, ME), and Sandy Twaddell (Jaffery, NH). Several newcomers who are expected to give excellent support in this area are Christina Crow (Chelmsford, MA), Karli Hastings (Cumberland, RI), and Rachel Lorenz (Moultonborough, NH).
One of the strongest areas for this year's team should be diving. Last year's strong group of senior Kathy Boyd (Manhasset, MA), sophomore Sarah Lagasse (Haverhill, MA) and senior Gail Sweeney (Simsbury, CT) will be joined by freshman Chrissy Sullivan (Haverhill, MA).
Backstroke will have solid depth, drawing from returnees and newcomers. The question will be how well the quality will develop from this group. Junior Mamie Ramback (Franconia, NH), returns after a year's absence. She held the record in the 100 back as a freshman. Paturzo and Mailhot will be strong contributors at all backstroke distances. Lorenz should also see plenty action in this event.
Boyd, doubling well in diving and swimming will lead the butterflyers. Hastings will provide a strong balance with Boyd. Cormier and Raleigh Lapierre (Haverhill, MA) will give good support at the 100 and 200 butterfly distances as well.
The loss of Lisa Gordon (Attleboro, MA) in breaststroke leaves one of the biggest challenges for the PSC Women. Denise Lombardi (Salem, NH) must close the gap in this event, getting as close to Lisa's outstanding swims as possible. Boyd could also see some action in this area, as could Cormier and Paturzo.
The I.M. will see several women vying for places in the dual meets. This this may be Boyd's best swimming event. Paturzo, Cormier, Crow, Mailhot, Lorenz, Hastings and LaPierre may all see action as well.
"The team is optimistic and excited about the season," said Switzer. "With commitment and hard work, they should again enjoy a very successful year."
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