Panthers head to Regis College for first two meets
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women’s swimming and diving team is set to open the 2010-11 season, beginning the first two weekends in November with a pair of meets at Regis College in Weston, Mass.
The season debut for the Panthers will be this Friday, Nov. 5, at Regis for a 5:00 p.m. dual meet. PSU will return to Weston the following weekend for the Regis College Diving Invitational on Friday (Nov. 12) and Swimming Invitational on Saturday (Nov. 13). The Panthers will also have one more meet before Thanksgiving, a dual meet at Colby-Sawyer College on Sunday, Nov. 21.
|Head Coach Al Switzer|
After the annual Little East Conference Championships the first weekend in December, the home opener at the PSU Natatorium and the only home meet of the first semester is Saturday, Dec. 11, vs. Westfield State. The Panthers will have four of their seven meets in January and February at home, leading into the New England Championships the middle of February.
Led by 20th-year head coach Al Switzer, the Panthers have a strong nucleus back from last year’s team that finished ninth out of 22 teams at the New England Championships.
2010-11 Panther Season Outlook
PSU is coming off back-to-back successful regular seasons, winning its final five meets to finish with a 6-4 record in 2008-09 and completing a 7-2 campaign last winter, the best dual meet record for the Panthers in over a decade. Coach Switzer is hoping to make it three in a row this season.
The Panthers lost three key swimmers from last year’s team, and have eight returning members. With only 11 on this year’s roster, including 10 swimmers and one diver, Coach Switzer says the depth may be a little lacking but the quality is there.
“Although the incoming group is small, and the roster is one of the smaller ones we’ve had in recent years, we have the potential to be a strong team,” said Switzer. “Everyone on the roster is a solid competitor and can score points for us in meets. They are working very hard and we are anticipating a good year.”
Leading the group of returnees is junior Nicole Brodeur (Claremont, N.H./Vermont Academy), who owns individual school records in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. She has finished in the top nine in three events at each of the past two New England Championships, and can win points for PSU in freestyle events ranging from the 50 to the 500.
Joining Brodeur for PSU in freestyle events will be junior Brittney Gondek (South Glastonbury, Conn.), who is solid in the 100- and 200-yard distances. She is especially explosive as an anchor in freestyle relays, according to Switzer. Juniors Lara Gruner (Center Barnstead, N.H.) and Brittany Shortell (Ansonia, Conn.) and sophomore Jennifer Samaro (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic) will cover for PSU in the distance events, from 500 and up.
Two newcomers in the freestyle events, according to Switzer, are Jackie Viotto (Morristown, N.J.) and Delia Foley (Londonderry, N.H.) Viotto will add strength to the middle distances, and Foley from 100 and up.
PSU should be solid in the breaststroke events with the return of junior Brittanie Bradley (Scarborough, Maine) and senior Lindsay Graham (Framingham, Mass.). Bradley was a top eight finisher in the 50 breast at the New Englands last year, and Graham, the team’s only senior, has shown consistent improvement for four years and is primed for a good season.
Brodeur will lead the butterfliers, as the school record-holder in the 100. Viotto is also strong in the butterfly, and additional support can come from Samaro, Graham, and sophomore Amy Mulhern (Taunton, Mass.). The Panthers return three of their top backstrokers from last year in Samaro, Mulhern and Shortell, all of whom had excellent swims at the championships, says Switzer.
One of the team’s strongest areas will be the I.M. Samaro can produce outstanding times, especially at the 400 distance, and Graham, Viotto, and Mulhern round out a solid event.
Diving will lack the depth to which it has been accustomed. Newcomer Shannon Rogers (Beverly, Mass.), who has some diving and gymnastics experience, should learn and improve rapidly.
Switzer summarized the team outlook by saying, “the season should be exciting. Keys to its success will be the development of the sprints, rapid improvement in the diving, and added growth of the depth in all areas. We look forward to a successful and rewarding year.”
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