2011-12 Swimming & Diving Season Preview
Few athletic programs in Washington & Jefferson College history have matched the consistent success that the Presidents’ swimming and diving teams have achieved the past two decades.
This winter, the W&J women are searching for their 20th consecutive winning dual-meet season, while the men’s squad appears primed for its 13th-straight winning year. Since 1992, the women’s program has posted a 197-35 dual-meet record (.849) and has captured eight Presidents’ Athletic Conference championships. During that same period, the Presidents’ men produced 149 dual-meet victories and won the 2000 PAC title.
Head Coach Mike Orstein enters his 25th season on the pool deck this year and is 14 wins shy of 400 for his career at the college. He will be once again joined by PAC Men’s and Women’s Diving Coach of the Year Vic Galati. Both coaches are focused on winning conference team titles, a feat not accomplished by both programs during the same season since 1999-2000.
The swimming and diving programs were boosted in 2010-11 by the success of senior Bethany Haver, who became the first PAC women’s diver to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships. The five-time conference champion competed in Knoxville, Tennessee, and finished as a two-time All-American, placing fifth at three meters and seventh on the 1-meter board. Haver returns with hopes of winning two final PAC championships and earning a return trip to nationals. Senior teammates Abbey Woodward and Sarah White also return to form a solid diving contingent.
Seniors C.J. Corcoran, a track & field national javelin qualifier, and Brittany Vogel provide Orstein veteran leadership in the pool. Corcoran was the PAC runner-up a year ago in the 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay, while Vogel joined Corcoran on that relay and claimed the conference 200 backstroke title as a sophomore. Senior Ellie Tecza, a two-time Second Team All-PAC honoree, is another versatile swimmer that will be relied upon to provide key points throughout the season.
Junior Katlin Dagg is the defending conference champion in the 500 freestyle, while also placing second in both butterfly events. Junior Jami Andrews has been a steady factor in each of her first two seasons and looks to make even more of an impact in 2011-12. Orstein is also excited about the return of a solid sophomore nucleus of Zoe Levenson, Isabella Diaz and Rosemarie O’Connor.
The men’s team features a six-member senior class which includes the defending 1- and 3-meter diving champion Justin Weifenbach. Andy Rish, a standout on the Presidents’ water polo team in the fall, has placed among the top three finishers at the conference championships eight times during his career. He owns the school 100 backstroke record and has been a part of four team-record relays.
Another senior, Michael Boutwell, is primed for his final collegiate season as the Presidents’ top competitor in the distance freestyle events. Boutwell owns the school record in the 500 and 1,000 freestyles. Keyton Kalakewich missed half of the season last year, but will once again be a factor in the sprint events, while Jonathan Weeks has been a solid performer and a member of the school-record 400 and 800 freestyle events. Andrew Putt rounds out the senior class as a versatile swimmer who provides depth in a number of events.
Junior John Szott, a 2011 First Team All-PAC selection, returns with Weifenbach to constitute the conference’s top diving duo. Classmate Patrick O’Toole is a two-time Second Team All-PAC choice, while junior Joey Weiland comes back off an injury-plagued 2010-11 season and hopes to return to form after a solid season with the water polo team. Junior Mike Johnson is another quality swimmer who earned Honorable Mention All-PAC laurels last year.
Orstein is also excited about the 14 freshmen (eight women) on the roster. He believes the new faces to the program will infuse energy to programs striving to increase those season win streaks.