Swimmers Aiming For Big Splash

Nine Of 12 Members Returning To Squad

November 17, 1991|By Contributing sports writer

Maybe the theme song for the Western Maryland swim team in the 1991-1992 season should be the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited."

If the Green Terrors themselves aren't ready to sing about being excited, then Coach Kim Easterday is.

"We are really excited about the season," said Easterday, and with good reason.

The Terrors are returning nine of 12 members from last year's men's team.

Included is two-time Middle Atlantic Conference champion Rob Newman.

Undefeated in the 50- , 100- and 200-yard freestyle, Newman was voted the Most Outstanding Male Swimmer in the MAC in 1990 and 1991. Newman was the only Terror and MAC swimmer toqualify for the NCAA Division III Championships last year in the 50 freestyle.

Newman is also only the second male from Western Maryland College to qualify for the nationals and the first MAC swimmer in five years.

"Last year, I planned to make it to the nationals in the 100-yard freestyle, but as it turned out I qualified for the 50," said Newman, a junior. "In the 200-yard I was a couple of seconds offfrom qualifying. This year the 50 seems to be what I'm training for to qualify."

Newman has the school records for the 50 (21.49 seconds), 100 (47.49) and 200 (1:44.18) freestyle. The only downer this season is Newman's plan, still tentative at this point, to transfer to a school with an engineering program, possibly before the end of the season.

Newman isn't the only school record-holder to return to the men's team. Co-captain, Matt Cook will attempt to lower his times in the 200 backstroke (2 minutes, 11.53 seconds) and the 100 butterfly(54.29).

"My goal is to have them (records) so low they never canbe broken again," said the senior Cook. "Or at least to be in the 52-second range for the 100 butterfly and to qualify for the nationals."

Cook is describe by Easterday as an all-purpose swimmer and doeseverything from the 50 freestyle to the 400 individual medley.

"Lack of depth is our biggest problem," said Easterday. "Right now we have a team of 12, and we are going against teams that have 20 or moreswimmers."

The Terrors finished 7-7 last year and have been hovering around the .500 for the last six seasons. This year it will be somewhat of a benchmark if the Green Terrors go over .500. With the talent at hand and returning numbers the possibility is there, but it isn't the only measure of the season for Easterday.

"We certainly want a winning record," said Easterday, "but there are other goals you set, such as improving times and qualifying for the conference championships -- that's the ultimate goal."

In addition to Newman and Cook, the Terrors also return Matt Byrne, Jason Drissel, Matt Gebhard, Mike Jekogian, Jeff Maslin and co-captain Trevor Wysong.

If experience is the main ingredient in the men's team, it is missing from thewomen's team.

The initial look would cause most coaches to look at 1991 as a rebuilding year: Six have graduated, with seven first-year swimmers and only four returners from last year's 3-12 season.

"Our women's team is a much improved team," said Easterday. "I look for school records to fall and a higher placing in the conference."

The women's team finished 13th out of 14 teams in the Middle AtlanticConference. Senior co-captain Valerie Shearer was highest for individuals with a 15th place in the 50-yard freestyle in the MAC championships.

"The team is really close, and we work together," said Anna Jakubiec, senior and school record holder in the 1,650-yard freestyle. "We have much more depth this year. We are much better with the addition of the freshmen."

For all of the woes that plagued the Terrors last year, talent seems to be an overriding factor this year.

In addition to the four returners -- co-captain J. J. Boggs, Michele Reavy, Shearer and Jakubiec -- the Terrors have some new life in the pool.

Buffy Burke and Alison Denlinger are two of the new faces to which coach Easterday is looking to improve the team.

Burke can swim anything from the 50 and 1,650 freestyle to the 200 individual medley. Burke is closing in on Jakubiec's 1,650 record in practice.

"The practices have been hard, and in the squad meets we've had good times," said freshman Burke.

Burke and Denlinger combine to make upthe core of the swimmers for the freestyle and backstroke.

Depth is a problem for both of the Western Maryland squads. Right now, Shearer is the only butterflyer on the women's team. Modifications are always made on such a small team, but the fly events are a weakness.

"You take the season one meet at a time," said Easterday. "You set the lineup by moving people around. If you are lacking in one event, you try to make it up in some other event, arranging everybody according to that opponent."

With a total of 23 swimmers on both teams, Easterday will have to do a lot of shuffling, but might come up with awinning hand.

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