The UMBC men's swimmers have become the first team in Division I school history to finish a regular season unbeaten and untied, and the Retrievers did it with international help.
Jakub Sroczynski of Poland, Geza Szabo of Hungary and Karn Yisomruay of Thailand have led the Retrievers to a 10-0 record and a No. 8 national ranking among Division I mid-major schools. In local competition, Navy, Towson and one-time local power Johns Hopkins fell to UMBC this season.
Coach Chad Cradock gives two reasons for the arrival of international talent at UMBC.
"First, is obviously our team and the competitiveness of it," he said, "and also because UMBC is starting to be recognized far greater throughout the country through its sciences, math and engineering programs."
The Retrievers are heavy favorites in the America East championships at UMBC tomorrow through Sunday. The Retrievers won the title last season by a 901-576 margin over Binghamton in their first year in the league.
Before joining the America East, UMBC won six straight Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships.
Sroczynski, a senior, has won at least two individual events in six dual meets, dominating the competition in the 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke. He also had the best time in the league this season in the 500 freestyle (4:31.74).
He also owns the top America East times this season in the 200 free (1:40.73) and 200 back (1:50.95). Sroczynski enrolled at UMBC as a sophomore after transferring from Central Connecticut State, which dropped its swimming program.
Szabo, a junior, is the school record-holder in the 200 butterfly and has dominated opponents in that event. Yisomruay, a freshman, is the favorite to capture the 200 and 400 individual medleys.