Panthers aiming for solid 2013-14 campaign
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's swimming and diving team faces its first competition of the season this Saturday at the annual Louise Goodrum Invitational hosted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The Panthers, led by 23rd-year head coach Al Switzer, will swim in a tri-meet the following Saturday, Nov. 16, at Colby-Sawyer College along with Elms College. The home opener is Saturday, Nov. 23, at the PSU Natatorium against the University of New England.
The remaining two meets of the first semester are the first two Saturdays in December -- the annual Little East Conference Championships at UMass Dartmouth on Dec. 7 and a tough dual meet at Westfield State University on Dec. 14.
The Panthers will have three more home meets to highlight the second semester slate. The annual New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) Championships are set for Feb. 14-16 at the University of Rhode Island.
2013-14 Panther Season Outlook
Coach Switzer welcomes back eight veterans from last year's team, and they are blending well with the group of seven newcomers in the preseason workouts. The Panthers should have a good balance of quality and depth in most events, according to Switzer.
"Early indications point to an exciting season for Plymouth State women's swimming and diving," said Switzer. "Squad numbers have improved significantly, and the combination of returning swimmers and new one should give PSU a good base."
The Panthers are led this season by senior captain Delia Foley (Londonderry, N.H.), who is the top returning distance freestyler on the team. Foley (right) placed in the top 18 at the New England Championships last season in all three distance races, the 500, 1,000 and 1,650. Foley is supported in the distance events by senior Jackie Viotto (Morristown, N.J.), and freshman Katia Wyman (Portsmouth, N.H.) should be a strong addition to these events.
PSU has solid depth in the sprints and middle distances, according to Switzer. Juniors Jess Bierschied (Portsmouth, N.H./Great Bay Charter School) and Lauren D' Iorio (Kennebunk, Maine) and sophomore Kelly Merkle (Salem, N.H.) are the top returnees and they will be joined by freshmen Jessica Blake (Portland, Maine) and Kelsey Cronan (Framingham, Mass.) and sophomore Kimberly Bain (Spofford, N.H.).
Junior Nora Doherty (Dorchester, Mass./Bostin Latin) is the top returning backstroker on the team. Switzer says junior newcomer Sam Carberry (Shrewsbury, Pa.) will help fill the void. The butterfly and breaststroke events will be filled mostly by newcomers, with Carberry and Blake setting the pace in the butterfly and junior Erin Campbell (Marshfield, Mass.) and freshman Meaghan Doherty (Charlestown, Mass.) in the breaststroke.
Switzer added that Merkle could also help out in the butterfly and Viotto and Cronan could see action in breaststroke events. Campbell, Wyman, Carberry and Blake are all experienced individual medley swimmers.
Senior Shannon Rogers (Beverly, Mass.) gives PSU a solid entry in the diving events after placing fifth on three-meter and ninth on one-meter at last year's New England Championships. Additional support on the board comes from senior Yulan Millican (West Kingston, R.I.).
"Although improved, depth will be a factor in some meets," said Switzer. "We will continue to work towards bringing numbers up. I am very excited about the prospects for the season, and anticipate a very successful year."
-- 30 --