October 16, 2009

W&L 2009-10 Women's Swimming Preview

The Washington and Lee women’s swimming team may have a youthful look, but third-year Head Coach Kami Gardner is excited about the upcoming campaign.

“We will have a young team this season, but we will not be short on talent,” said Gardner.

Fourteen first-year swimmers are on the Generals’ roster this season, a trend that has been prevalent in recent seasons. Part of the recent growth and success of the women’s swimming team at Washington and Lee has been due to Gardner’s success recruiting talent to the school, bringing in some of the largest first-year classes the team has seen in years.

“It is one of the largest and most talented first-year classes coming in,” stated Gardner. “We have high expectations for them and the team to do well in the ODAC this season.”

Charged with bringing along the younger members of the team will be a talented group of seniors who will be looked upon to provide excellent leadership.  It all starts will captains Lynn Bazzel (Atlanta, Ga./Lovett) and Sarah Simpson (Charlotte, N.C./South Mecklenburg), though classmates Jenna Worsham (Cumming, Ga./Wesleyan School) and Ryan Pinney (New York, N.Y./Riverdale County) will also be charged with leadership responsibilities in the pool and out.

“They [senior class] may be outnumbered, but they are the heart and soul of the team,” remarked Gardner. “They are hard workers both in and out of the pool and set an easy example for the first-years to follow.”

Three of the four members of the senior class set school records last season, and Gardner expects them to continue to swim at a high level this winter as they pursue even faster times.  Bazzel established record times in the 100 breast and as a member of the 200 medley relay, while Simpson was a member of record-setting 200, 400 and 800 free relays and 200 medley relay squads.  Worsham contributed to the record-setting squads in the 200 and 400 free relays and 200 medley relay. Pinney is also expected to have a breakthrough year after a strong performance during her junior campaign, her first season swimming with the Generals.

The two junior swimmers, Tess Hayden (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) and Becky Guynn (Salem, Va./Salem), will also add to the upperclassmen leadership for the Generals. Hayden will look to continue the success from her first two seasons on the Generals’ squad, which included winning the 1650 free each of the past two years. She earned All-ODAC honors both season and was named the 2008 ODAC Rookie of the Year.

“Hayden is a quiet leader on the team,” stated Gardner. “She is a calm presence, but once she is in the pool she becomes a ferocious competitor.”

The sophomore class also holds a strong presence on the roster, boasting 10 members. Jocelyn Cassada (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Country Day), Dana Fredericks (Yorktown, Va./York), Kate Gibbs (Midlothian, Va./Clover Hill), Joanie Hudak (Boxford, Mass./Masconomet), Claire Moryan (Westfield, N.J./Mount Saint Mary Academy), Katie Salvati (Roselle Park, N.J./Mount Saint Mary Academy), Erin Schwartz (Laytonsville, Md./Stone Ridge Sacred Heart), Elizabeth Starnes (Harrison, Tenn./Girls Preparatory School) and Brielle Weinstein (Summerville, S.C./Pinewood Prep) will be joined by transfer Laura Walsh (Bethesda, Md./Stone Ridge Sacred Heart/Walt Whitman) as they look to progress following a strong first-year campaign.

Gardner is especially excited about the potential for strong seasons from Fredericks, Salvati and Starnes. All three demonstrated all-conference ability during their rookie seasons and with a year of seasoning, are ready to challenge for not only conference titles, but NCAA cut times as well.

In 2008-09, Starnes earned Conference Rookie of the Year honors after claiming conference championships in the 200 and 500 free. Salvati swam some solid times in the IM and back events and Fredericks was a consistent scorer all season long in the breast and IM events.

“Fredericks has been working hard and doing everything right to set herself up for a tremendous season,” said Gardner. “We are looking for her to be a strong contender in breast and IM events.”

The large first-year class will not only add immediate depth in a bevy of events, but Gardner expects them to help her program contend on a national level.

“Four first-year swimmers are coming in at or under current school records for their event,” she said. “We’re not only looking for them to add depth, but to score for us all season long.”

The first-year roster includes Megan Bock (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel), Izzy Brassfield (Greensboro, N.C./Greensboro Day School), Krista Camp (Media, Pa./Episcopal Academy), Stephanie Krasnov (Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill), Ann McCampbell (Oklahoma City, Okla./Casady School), Rachel Mensch (Edina, Minn./Edina), Colleen Moore (Ridgefield, Conn./Ridgefield), Rachel Pityk (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest), Delaney Rolfe (Dallas, Texas/Highland Park), Kelly Mae Ross (Endicott, N.Y./Maine-Endwell), Brittany Ross (Chatham, N.J./Chatham), Andrea Seffens (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) and Teresa Soley (Lebanon, N.J./Mother of Divine Grace).

While the team’s goals including claiming another ODAC title and advancing swimmers to the NCAA Division III Championships in March, Gardner is just as proud of the Generals’ accomplishments outside the pool.  The 2008-09 squad was recognized as an Academic All-America Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, while Simpson received individual recognition on the team.

“Our swimmers are successful not only in the pool, but also academically,” stated Gardner. “Success in both fields is what helps set this team apart and make us a strong program.”

The women will take to the pool Friday for a meet at Mary Washington and then return home Saturday for a meet against Centre.