AMHERST, Mass, May 31. UNIVERSITY of Massachusetts men's swimming and diving Head Coach Russ Yarworth has announced the incoming class for next season. Nine new swimmers will be joining the 2004 Atlantic 10 Champions as they attempt to successfully defend their title for the fourth consecutive time.
"With this group of student-athletes we hope to continue to compete for the Atlantic 10 Championship," said Yarworth. "We have a solid returning base of swimmers and divers and have certainly improved our depth and strength in several events."
The UMass squad has won four consecutive Atlantic 10 Swimming and Diving Championships. They graduated four seniors and are looking to this year's incoming athletes to replace the points lost due to graduation.
Leading the way is Rueben Rappe (Farmington, Minn.), the reigning Minnesota State High School Diving Champion.
"Rueben is one of the most talented prospects this region has seen in quite some time," said Head Diving Coach Mandy Hixon.
Coach Yarworth has two new swimmers coming form the Bay State. AJ Vozella (Weymouth, Mass.) was team captain of the Xaverian Brothers HS team and captured the Massachusetts state championship in the 100 Freestyle. Vozella was also voted Boston Globe and Boston Herald All- Scholastic.
"Vozella has the potential to be a top sprinter in the conference this season," said Yarworth.
Brian Porter (Holliston, Mass.) will transfer in as a sophomore. He is a former MVP of the Shawmut Aquatic Club and was second in the High School State meet in the 100 Butterfly during his senior year of 2002.
The Minutemen reached out to the Ocean State to bolster this year's recruit class by landing Rhode Island Co-Swimmers-of-the-Year, Mark Pechak (Warwick, R.I.) and Zack Priest (Cranston, R.I.). Pechak was RI State Champion in the 50 and 100 yard Freestyle events, while Priest was the state champion in the 200 IM and 100 Butterfly.
"Both of these swimmers come from the highly respected Bishop Hendricken High School program", said Yarworth. "They should be ready to contribute at the A-10 level fairly quickly."
Three Connecticut residents will be making their way north to matriculate at UMass next year. Pete Cegelka (North Haven, Conn.), Isaac Ebert (Oxford, Conn.), and Pat Seeley (Brookfield, Conn.) all bring a wealth of high school and club experience to the Minutemen. All three athletes are All-State Swimmers in their individual events and should bring the aforementioned depth and strength to the Minutemen's roster.
Rounding out the class of 2008 is Colin Politi (Newburgh, N.Y.). Colin is a three time HS All-American and 4 year NY State Championship qualifier. Politi was the captain of his team is a butterfly and is a freestyle sprint specialist.
"Colin has unlimited potential and could really be a top swimmer in the A-10," said Yarworth.
The Minutemen begin their season next September, when students return to school and prepare for the beginning of pre-season practice.