CENTER VALLEY, Penn., October 14. WITH six returning All-League performers, Bucknell was selected as the favorite to win its second consecutive Patriot League Women's Swimming & Diving Championship in a pre-season vote by the League's head coaches and sports information directors.
The Bison were the first-place selection on 12 ballots to finish with 96 points. Last year's runner-up Navy garnered the final four first-place votes to come in second with 83 points. Lehigh edged out Army and Colgate for third place with 60 points. The Black Knights and Raiders recorded 59 points each to tie for fourth. Rounding out the voting were American (47 pts.), Lafayette (27), Holy Cross (17).
Bucknell won its first-ever Patriot League women's swimming title last year by the second-largest margin in League history (237.5 points). The Bison have a PL-best six All-League performers back in the fold, led by senior Meghan Freese (New Freedom, Pa.) and junior Jamie Flick (Bloomsburg, Pa.). Freese picked up all-star honors for the second time in her career after winning the 50 and 100 freestyle events in PL meet record time, while Flick stood atop the podium in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2003 Championship.
Other notable Bison that return are sophomore Lectie Altman (Syracuse, N.Y.), seniors Daniella Faas (Ludwigshafen, Germany) and Jennifer Cancro (Pearl River, N.Y.) and junior Jackie Feinthel (Cranford, N.J.). Altman gained all-star recognition with a gold medal performance in the 200 freestyle. Faas earned an All-League nod by coming in second in the 500 and 1,650 freestyle as well as the 400 individual medley, while Cancro was the runner-up in the 200 freestyle. Feinthel was fifth in the 200 butterfly and the 500 freestyle at the League meet.
As a team, Bucknell broke four Patriot League Championship relay records, including the 200 and 800 freestyle as well as the 200 and 400 medley.
Navy touts the return of 2003 Women's Swimmer of the Meet Jenn Windstein (Lancaster, Pa.). The sophomore touched the wall first in all three of her individual races a year ago, including a record-breaking performance in the 1,650 freestyle. She also claimed the gold medal in the 200 and 500 free.
Joining Windstein on the list of returning all-stars are junior Tori Throckmorton (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and senior Allison Moon (Bradenton, Fla.). Throckmorton was an All-Leaguer for the second-straight year after winning the 100 butterfly with a PL meet record time of 55.91. Moon garnered All-PL status for a second time after Top 10 finishes in all three of her races.
Lehigh, which was third at last year's Championship, has a pair of All-League selections to lead the charge, including sophomore Linda Hendrixson (West Chester, Pa.) and senior Linsey Kokal (Warren, Ohio). Hendrixson was victorious in the 200 individual medley at the 2003 PL meet, while Kokal turned in three solid performances including a fourth-place outing in the 200 freestyle.
Army also has three returning All-League performers from last year, led by sophomore Chelsea Haviland (Thief River Falls, Minn.). Haviland earned Women's Diver of the Meet honors after winning both diving events at the League meet. Juniors Shannon Kelley (Windsor, Conn.) and Liz Wannstedt (Millstadt, Ill.) gained all-star status thanks to three solid outings. Kelley improved on her career-best in all three races, headlined by a fourth-place performance in the 1,650 freestyle. Wannstedt picked up the silver medal in the 100 freestyle to go along with Top 10 finishes in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley.
Senior Alice Garnett (Wilmette, Ill.) leads the Colgate list of returning All-Leaguers. She earned an all-star spot for the third time in as many years with a victory in the 400 individual medley. The Raiders also bring back All-PL performers Meghan Binder (Sudbury, Mass.) and Chrissy Zaika (Syracuse, N.Y.). Binder, who was also an all-star in 2002, was the runner-up in the breaststroke, while Zaika was third in the 50 freestyle.
The lone returning All-Leaguer for American is Jessica Lidstrom (Stockholm, Sweden). The senior took a spot on the all-star squad for the second time in as many years after posting three top five finishes at the 2003 PL meet, including third-place outings in the 100 and 200 freestyle.
Lafayette is led by sophomore Jen Totten (Mantua, N.J.), who broke the school record in the 200 breaststroke at the League Championship.
Headlining the Holy Cross squad is senior Laura Brennan (Eglin AFB, Fla.). At the 2003 Championship, she finished seventh in the 50 freestyle.
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, claiming the team title. 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 Women's Swimming & Diving Pre-Season Poll
Team Points (1st) 2003 Finish
1. Bucknell 96 (12) 1st
2. Navy 83 (4) 2nd
3. Lehigh 60 3rd
4t. Army 59 5th
4t. Colgate 59 4th
6. American 47 6th
7. Lafayette 27 8th
8. Holy Cross 17 7th