Sixteen letterwinners return to the Leopards' squad in 2001.
Oct. 10, 2001
EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - The men's swimming and diving team is coming off a successful year that included a 5-4 record overall and a fourth place finish at Patriot League Championships. Head coach Jim Dailey expects a talented group of 16 letterwinners to lead the team to a great season for the Leopards.
A strong freshman class will be depended upon to make up for losses to graduation. Dailey looks for immediate contributions from Jakub Pritz in the free and breast events, Colin Sinatro in the fly and individual medley events and Stephen Connlain in the fly and free events.
"We have to make up for the graduation of a strong senior class especially in the diving and IM events. Our incoming first year class is very talented and athletic," Dailey said. "They are strong workers and fast swimmers. The first-year class will also push the upperclassmen to reach towards their potential."
Freshmen Stephen Jacobson and Fritz will compete in the freestyle sprinting events while Cliff Haldeman will hit the water in the breastroke. Dailey expects them to rely on successful high school seasons to make the transition to collegiate swimming.
Senior tri-captain Asoka Ratnayake will be a role model for a young team in his dedication, hard work, and team spirit. Both his athletic and academic abilities will likely contribute in his leadership as a captain. Outside the pool, he earned two academic achievement awards for holding the highest GPA on the team.
Dan Sherry will also assume a leadership role as a tri-captain. Sherry's success in the sprinting and breastroke events will help drive the team. Matt Haggerty's experience and versatility will help ensure continued success in multiple events, including distance freestyle and individual medley competitions.
The junior class should provide a number of scoring opportunities for the Leopards, especially in the diving events. "Diver Justin Gaudreau will be carrying the men's diving on his shoulders this year. This is a task which he can handle very well," Dailey said.
Classmate and tri-captain Lucas Kimmel will be contributing in a variety of events including distance freestyle, individual medleys, and backstroke events.
"The sophomore class really came together last year as first year student-athletes," Dailey said. "With their championship experience, they have the ability to drive the team and challenge everyone to set high standards and achieve them."
Sophomore Kris Klein, who posted his personal bests at his first Patriot League Championships, is expected to challenge for the record boards this year in the backstroke events. Janis Eisl will compete in a variety of events including the 500 and 1000 freestyle, and 200-meter butterfly event.
Sophomore sprinter John Veltri will race in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. Classmate Nate DeLong is expected to fill holes from graduation in the backstroke events. Steve Berkowitz struggled with illness after a strong start last season, and is expected to post improved times after a full season of training several events. After posting personal bests in all of his events, Dave Watts will again focus his energy in the distance freestyle events.
Leadership is vital to a successful 2001-02 season, and Dailey expects to rely on his tri-captains: "Tri-captains Sherry, Ratnayake and Kimmel will have their hands full this year. If the captains can continue to keep the team focused on winning and challenge them with individual goals, they will enjoy the rewards of their effort."