CENTER VALLEY, Penn, October 15. IN their first season in the League as a men's swimming & diving member, the Navy Midshipmen were picked to win the Patriot League Men's Swimming & Diving title this year in a pre-season vote by the League's head coaches and sports information directors.
The Mids earned 12 first-place votes en route to 92 points, edging defending champion Bucknell, which had 82 points with two first-place votes for the top spot. Army was the first selection on one ballot to finish with 68 points, while Lehigh came in fourth in the pre-season poll with 66 markers. American, which garnered the final first-place vote, was fifth with 60 points followed by Colgate (38 pts.), Lafayette (26) and Holy Cross (16).
Bill Roberts takes over the reigns at Navy after mentoring both swimming & diving squads at Colgate for the past three years. The Mids are led by team captain Marshall Boyd (Pittsburgh, Pa.). The senior ended last season with three career-best times at the EISL Championship, including an eighth-place finish in the 200 freestyle. Boyd opened the 2003-04 campaign by winning the 200 free against Air Force Oct. 3.
Fellow seniors Terrence Fenningham (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Noah White (El Cajon, Calif.) are off to a good start for the Mids this year with individual victories against Air Force. Fenningham had 11 victories in dual meets last season, while White was second in the 100 freestyle at the EISL meet a year ago with an Academy-record time of 44.37.
Defending champion Bucknell returns a League-best four All-League performers. Senior Peter Garvin (Silver Spring, Md.) headlines the list of returnees after winning the 50 and 100 freestyle events at the PL Championship last year. Junior Adam Freeman (Barrington, Ill.) gained all-star status with a victory in the one-meter dive, while sophomore Mark Kretzer (Northport, N.Y.) touched the wall first in the 200 butterfly at the PL meet.
Sophomore Todd Bauer (Harleysville, Pa.) is also back for the Bison after earning All-League recognition as a freshman. He finished in the top five in each of his three races last year, including a runner-up performance in the 1,650 freestyle.
Army, which finished third at the 2003 Championship, has a pair of returning all-stars, including Men's Diver of the Year Doug Klein (Red Wing, Minn.). The sophomore claimed the gold medal in the three-meter dive and was the runner-up in the one-meter event to claim top diving honors. Junior Kevin Burke (Haddonfield, N.J.) was an All-PL performer with a third-place outing in the 1,650 freestyle and a fourth-place effort in the 500 free.
Lehigh will look to senior Brian Golebiewski (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) and junior Ross Green (Cranberry Township, Pa.). Golebiewski, who is a two-time All-League performer, was fourth at the PL meet in the 1,650 freestyle and sixth in the 200 backstroke. Green came in fourth spot in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 200 individual medley.
American, which has finished in the top three at the League Championship during its two seasons as a member of the PL, will look to improve on a third-place team outing at last year's PL meet. The Eagles are led by two-time All-Leaguer and All-American Dominick Szabo (North Wales, Pa.). Szabo broke the League record in the 100 breaststroke last year with a time of 54.89. He earned All-America honors with an eighth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke at the NCAA Championship.
Other notable returnees for the Eagles are all-stars Ethan Bassett (Potomac, Md.) and Erwan Jeffroy (Mareil-Marly, France). Bassett, a two-time All-Leaguer, touched the wall first in the 400 individual medley and the 200 breaststroke. His time in the 200 was a League record. Jeffroy earned All-PL honors by winning the gold medal in the 500 freestyle.
Leading the Colgate charge is All-League performer Rich Derrick (Liverpool, N.Y.). The junior stood atop the podium in the 1,650 freestyle and was sixth in the 500 freestyle.
Senior Chris Grabowski (Port Carbon, Pa.) is the top returnee for Lafayette. He claimed All-League accolades after coming in third in the 500 freestyle and fourth in the 400 individual medley.
Holy Cross will rely on senior Scott Rimm (Potomac, Md.), who finished third in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 100 freestyle at last year's PL meet.
Navy was the first team in the pool this season with a loss to Academy foe Air Force. Lafayette competed in the Lafayette Invitational last weekend, coming in second. American and Colgate start their campaign this weekend, while the rest of the League opens the 2003-04 slate at the end of October. The Patriot League Championship will take place at the United States Naval Academy, February 26-28, 2004.
The Patriot League, which was founded on the principles of admitting athletes who are academically representative of their class, is in its second decade of academic and athletic excellence. Participation in athletics at Patriot League institutions is viewed as an important component of the undergraduate experience. The Patriot League, which began as a successful Division I-AA football conference in 1986 and became an all-sport conference in 1990, includes American, Army, Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy as full members and six associate members. These institutions are among the oldest and most prestigious in the nation and their alumni have played leadership roles in the shaping of our country. In the most recent NCAA Graduation Rate Report of student-athletes, the Patriot League ranked FIRST among NCAA Division I conferences.
2003-04 Patriot League Men's Swimming & Diving Pre-Season Poll
Team Points (1st) 2003 Finish
1. Navy 92 (12) n/a
2. Bucknell 82 (2) 1st
3. Army 68 (1) 4th
4. Lehigh 66 2nd
5. American 60 (1) 3rd
6. Colgate 38 5th
7. Lafayette 26 6th
8. Holy Cross 16 7th