2018-19 Season

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2018-19 Season

Postby wvswimfan88 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:22 pm

Well, we're just over two weeks from the start of the 2018-19 season, so I figured that now was as good a time as any to kick off the thread for the year on here!

We're coming off a year of extremes for the conference in 2017-18, a year that saw some of the best top-end swimming in quite a few years with a national champ, two more national A-finalists/First Team All-Americans, an HM All-American, and a national qualifying relay but at the same time saw the saddest level of depth that the conference has seen in many years as well. A few rosters are already posted for the 2018-19 season, so we have our earliest ideas of whether that could change for this year.

(For reference from the rest of the post, I want to explain language I'll use for team previews. If I refer to someone as Top-3/contending for a title, that means their best HS/club times surpassed the 3rd-place finals time in a given event in the 2018 PAC Championships. If I refer to them as a potential A-finalist, their times are better than the 8th-place time from prelims at PACs. B-finalists are the less clear ones - I tried to use a standard of time for this that excluded the true outliers (swimmers who very clearly only qualified for finals because of lack of depth). So, it's a floating rank based on wherever the biggest dropoff seemed to be. Certainly not scientific, but hard to make assessments given the situation.)

*Bethany men/women - Has "2018-19" rosters listed, but so far they are simply last year's rosters with seniors removed (class years of the athletes aren't even updated). We will update more on Bethany once more info is available. In terms of graduation, the Bison men lost no one while the women lost Alaina Geer, who scored 14 of the team's 21 individual event points at PACs in '18, and Mackenzie Bosley.

*Chatham women - The first thing to note is that Chatham, led by new coach Rebecca Yost, has apparently decided to shut down men's swimming and diving...for now. The website shows that they plan to give launching a men's program another go in 2019-20 - hopefully they can keep a consistent coach long enough to see it through. As for the women, who graduated no one from last year's squad (and seemingly returned all 11 swimmers), former coach Crosby and Coach Yost brought in five freshmen, three of whom (Artalee Braglee, Charity Fannie, Molly Hunter) appear capable of reaching B-Finals already.

*Grove City men - No roster yet. The Wolverine men only lost one swimmer who was a factor in Brett Gwynn (42 indiv. points, three relays) but lost all three of their scoring divers from last year in Archibald, McClure, and Tobias (80 total points). While those three certainly weren't on the level of Westminster's divers, with last year's lack of depth in PAC diving, they scored enough points to keep it a close meet. Grove City certainly can't replace close to 80 points with an 18th-best swimmer, so hopefully (for their sake) they brought in a few divers to help replace those points, especially given what Westminster brought in there (more on that later). Jonah Sutter was the only other Wolverine diver to compete at PACs last year as an exhibition competitor, but he competed only on 1-meter.

*Grove City women - No roster yet. The Wolverine women graduated five scoring seniors and one diver who earned a significant 221 total individual points - a large void to fill heading into the year. Certainly the most significant loss is Megan Crutcher, who won several conference titles and swam the breaststroke leg of GCC's successful medley relays. Her presence on the relays shouldn't be to severe from a conference standpoint, as GCC has other strong enough swimmers there, but her 57 individual points, combined with lots of points from Robison, Bartlett, Noll, Darnell, and Shoemaker, will be a lot to make up from returners not on last year's conference roster and newcomers.

*Saint Vincent men - No roster yet. The Bearcats return some heavy hitters in Baum, Davis, and the Martin brothers, but did graduate three of their top-seven scorers in Alex Bolen (45 points, 4 relays), Adam Gordish (36 points, two relays), and Kam Faychak (35 points, one relay) and lost two other scorers in Sean Doyle (16) and Marshall Grubb (5).

*Saint Vincent women - SVC women didn't lose as much to graduation as the men did, but the graduation of Kelly Kramer (53 points, 4 relays), one of the conference's most versatile swimmers, is a big one. Added to the graduations of Gianna Boburka, Casi Smith, and Gabby Bobak, the Bearcat women lose 115 indiv. points in total from the Class of '18.

*W&J men - Roster is online. This one is encouraging for the conference and for the Presidents. W&J only had six competitors at PACs last year, and three of those - Jared Rebman (11 pts), Owen Hanna (9 pts, five relays), and Matt Noel (1 pt, 5 relays), graduated. Worth noting is that Theo Skoric, a multiple-time conference champion diver and the team's top scorer from last year with 35 points, is NOT listed on the team roster. However, new coach Matt Rochna does have nine freshmen, most of whom appear to be able to make major contributions right away. Don't know anything about their one diver, Dominic Gray, and could only find water polo info on Jason Wright. Nick Belofsky, Robby Koch, and Dustin Reinke are all B-final swimmers already while sprint freestyler Jack Cusick and breast/IM swimmer Andrew Ivory both would have reached A-finals in three events. I don't think Colin Higinbotham will challenge Jacob Davis, but his best time is already top-3 in the 50, and Dean Kralic should challenge for the league crown in the 100 Fly while scoring in a few other events.

*W&J women - Roster is online. The news isn't quite as encouraging for the W&J women, who graduated their top two swimmers in Alexis Glenn (47 points, All-PAC, 4 relays) and Madison Babicka (25 pts, 4 relays) as well as Hayley Georgetti (2 pts, 1 relay). Additionally, four other swimmers who competed at PACs in '18 are not listed on their roster in Alex Daum, Jillian McElhaney, Tara O'Toole, and Kaylyn Novitski, who combined for 48 individual points and six relay slots). Kaitlyn Pawcio, the runner-up in both diving events, is back, as are Kiera Macwhinnie (10 pts, 4 relays), Tori Metz (6 pts), and Kaitlyn Ewing (1 pt, 1 relay), but that's it. Callie Wiebel will score points as a diver and Kimber Randolph should score in the sprint freestyle and both backstroke events while Emma Rearson could be an A-Finalist in the 500, but, as for now, it looks like it's getting worse before it gets better for the Lady Presidents.

*Westminster men - Roster is online. After several years of minimal volume losses to graduation, the Titans finally took a hit this year, graduating seven seniors who combined for 222 individual points and five relay swims. Mitch Stahara is clearly the biggest lost (49 points, 4 relays, multiple conference titles in previous years), but Kolesar, DiDomenico, and Bogen all surpassed the 30-point mark last year while Barrett and Morosetti both scored 28 and 27, respectively. Eric Shannon, who wasn't on last year's conference roster but would have scored in all three of his events, appears to have not returned, but the Titans do still have a lot of firepower to go with a 13-member freshman class. Trevor McCabe seems to be the best of the newcomers, as he already has top-3 times in both the 50 Free and 100 Breast, while Jacob Musselman, Tyler Liston, and Nicholas Pirollo all are potential A-finalists in the sprint freestyle events. Charles Gordon, Constantine Kallaur, Kevin MacMurdo, Zayne Trebour, and Cameron Wood all also appear capable of scoring points. The Titans also added three more divers to their wealth of riches in that area; given that Grove City's Sutter and Yaich (if they return) and W&J's Gray are the only other three divers known in the conference , I could see the Titans using two roster slots for divers, as they could earn as much as 160 points in that way.

*Westminster Women - Roster online. Coming off their first third-place finish in some time, the Titans graduated five seniors, led by top point-scorer and former conference MVP Megan Douds (48 points, 2 relays), for a total of 130 individual points. Alyssa Hampton (20 points, 2 relays) didn't graduate but isn't on the current roster, marking another loss. The Titans DO return two swimmers from their 2016-17 team who didn't compete at PACs in 18 in Courtney Kinkead and Caitlyn Peace, both of whom were exhibition swimmers who would have scored. Add that to a 13-member freshman class, and the Titans should be continue to challenge for the top of the league. No apparent immediate title contenders in that crop, but Marissa Bowers (100 Free, 1Back, 2Back), Anna Grimenstein (1650, 2Fly, 2IM), Regan Kelly (50-200 Free, 1Back), and Megan Routch (100-200 Free) all come in with multiple A-Final times. Juliana Diehl, Carinna Lapson, Kelly Somora, and Ryann Stewart all should be capable of scoring, too. The Titans also bring in 4 divers to add to their three returners. Like the men, I expect the Titans to use two of their 18 roster spots for six divers - a worthwhile strategy as long as the conference remains to thin in that area.

So, as of now, if Bethany were to have the same roster size as is currently listed and SVC fills both rosters (based on # of potential returners, I'm pretty confident GCC will do so), it looks like the men's side of the conference meet will still be about 10 swims short of full this coming year and the women's will be 14 over. Hopefully Bethany was able to bring in a few on each side... and W&J doesn't lose anyone.
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Re: 2018-19 Season

Postby PACswimmingnerd » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:01 pm

Great analysis!

I couldn't agree more with what you have already laid out.

Can't wait for season to start! Looking like a promising season.

Excited for the top end of the pool - hopefully more trips to NCAAs come march for all returning qualifiers. Hopefully some new additions on that trip as well!

The conference seems to have deepened a bit, hopefully a trend that can continue in the future with the re-instation of the Chatham men's program in 2019-2020 and upward momentum with W&J. Honestly, I wish Thomas More were still in the PAC because they recently started a program, and nabbed the former Cincinnati coach at the helm. Given their prowess in all other PAC sports in the past, it seems like they want to build a good swim team as well. Unfortunate that they left at this time!

All in all, (WAY too early predictions here) it's looking to be another shootout this year on BOTH sides! WC and GCC - all other teams trying to throw a wrench in someone's points.

On to the previews (why can't all rosters be updated this early? :x ):

*Bethany still seems to have abysmal conference impact, but as you said, it doesn't seem like their rosters are *actually* updated unless they really didn't bring in any freshmen. Hope that isn't the case! Really hope they can get more people in the upcoming years. Seems like they have not been able to use Stresky to tout their coaching abilities, and with him being a senior, their time with that has run out.

*Chatham women seem to be still solid with a couple more additions, hopefully they will all stay on board with the coaching change. I hope that Rebecca Yost will stay the coach there for a while and help with consistency - also hopefully coach similarly to the level Crosby was at. He seemed to develop his swimmers well in the short time they were together. Sad to see no men given the depth of the conference last year, but I understand it must be difficult to start a men's program from scratch when there's already been an established women's university for so long. It's a great school in the heart of Pittsburgh, hopefully they can recruit some talent in the future.

*Grove City women graduated a hell of a lot, like you said - 221 points. That is huge and as you stated, going to be hard to overcome. Anxious to see who they get when their roster is up! Hopefully the monumental success of Dassow last season boosted their recruiting.

*Grove City men are losing most points in the form of all three scoring divers - reiterating the point you brought up - this is monumental given what WC added. They may be able to get three divers and get them good enough for both boards to at least get points in those events. Until they release their roster it will be hard to tell if they can begin to make up those lost points. They also lost Brett Gwynn (42 ind. points), but he was honestly replaceable (due to many strong underclassmen) in all of his relay spots and GCC would have still had the same outcome as last year. All in all, they lose returning 122 points. Hopefully building on their momentum from last year and the monumental success of Brouwer, they are looking hungry for their first conference title in five years. Some returners (especially Rhys Dickudt and Ben Slate) will be looking for redemption after lackluster individual performances last season. Excited to see what they may have brought in - their hopes of a title literally depend on it.

*Saint Vincent men again return their heavy hitters, but lost a lot with senior Alex Bolen (45 ind. points and huge splits on PAC champion 200/400 Free relays as well as a 20.37 split in the 200 Medley), but
that may not hinder their ability to contend for PAC titles in the Free Relays due to Zach Baum (3 titles and 20.65 and 46.42 lead off legs) and All-American Jacob Davis (3 titles and absolutely ridiculous 19.83/44.05 splits) carrying the team. John Martin will hopefully improve his splits - leaving them to fill in the gap with someone who can hopefully help them contend. Their 400 medley relay takes a hit with the loss of backstroker Adam Gordish, because they cannot replace him without moving around their studs on those relays. Their women lose a lot, graduating a loss of 115 points. That will be hard to overcome. We won't see the entirety of their freshmen class, but they posted (maybe?) all of them on their Instagram account already, and some time digging reveal no real standouts, but adds depth do both teams. They don't seem to have many freshmen in numbers, but again that will be revealed in time.

*W&J tabbed a young and energetic head coach with Matt Rochna. A standout swimmer at St. Bonaventure, he was a team captain, 200 Fly school record holder, and helped the Bonnies win back-to-back A-10 titles in 2013 and 2014. Additionally served as a grad assistant for IUP and was briefly the assistant coach at MAC Women-only Ohio University - also is an elite age group club coach. Hopefully all of that rich coaching experience adds up to what could be the start of a newly envigorated and competitive W&J team. Their women are definitely not as strong as the men this year - not bringing in as much speed and definitely losing a lot, seemingly to quitting. The men bring in multiple A-Finalist times and *may* look to challenge the other schools in relay power. Dean Kralic is a top-notch butterflyer (50.2 flat start and 22.42 50 Fly split) with some solid free times (22.3/47.8 flats) and Andrew Ivory is a top-notch sub-minute breaststroker. Excited to see what they do!

*Westminster men graduated 222 points (100 more than GCC), but were able to reload with a whopping 13 freshman. Heath Calhoun added even more top end talent and depth to their diving squad, and they should score some serious points with five very good divers in February. They lost some top end relay speed with the graduation of Mitch Stahara (20.05/multiple sub-45 splits/consistent 1:40's), and if their relays don't scale, GCC could possibly match them in all of the Freestyle relays. Overall, their senior class was obviously deep with Kolesar, Stahara, Dan Bogen, Didomenico, Sheets, Morosetti and Barrett, but they also bring in a lot of depth/capable point scorers, and are looking to develop them to secure a fifth consecutive title this season.

*Westminster Women have brought in a deep and talented freshmen class as well as the two aforementioned returners from 2016-17 season to reload and honestly be itle contenders with the huge loss from GCC to graduation. Like you said, Marissa Bowers, Anna Grimenstein , Regan Kelly, and Megan Routch all have multiple A-Final times and Juliana Diehl, Carinna Lapson, Kelly Somora, and Ryann Stewart all seem to be capable of scoring too. Not to mention their diving corps is also six-deep, hopefully going to rake in some much needed points. Very exciting time for the WC women! Hopefully they can contend with GCC for a PAC title this year! They are definitely hungry after not seeing a title in over a decade.

Going to be a great season of college swimming, can't wait to see it all unfold!
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