2007-08 Swimming and Diving Preview
Oct. 16, 2007
FORT WORTH, Texas - The TCU swimming and diving season will officially get underway on Thursday, as the women's squad will travel to Fort Collins, Colo., to compete in a dual meet against conference opponent Colorado State. The men and women will participate in the CSU Early Bird Invite on Friday and Saturday.
Both squads will be full of new faces this season, as 24 freshmen will join the Horned Frogs. TCU will look to rebuild after losing 13 seniors from last year's squads that both finished sixth in the Mountain West Conference Championships. Both teams are tabbed for another sixth-place finish in the preseason MWC coaches' poll, but TCU head coach Richard Sybesma's goals for both squads is to be this year's surprise team and secure a top-three conference finish on both sides.
"I feel that top to bottom, this could be one of our best men's teams we've ever had," said Sybesma. "I really expect some great things from our men's program because it's the largest team we've had in several years. I think our upperclassmen bring us a lot of quality and we have signed some quality recruits as well. We have depth at every event, which has hurt us in past years. Our seniors are all integral parts of us being a great team."
Fellow senior Jonathon Berrettini will also compete in the sprint events. Berrettini's top event is the backstroke, but the Lewisville, Texas, native still earned a strong sixth-place finish in the 50-free at last year's MWC Championships. Josh Bagby is another returning swimmer who will be competitive after an outstanding summer that including making the U.S. Nationals.
"We are loaded in the sprint event," Sybesma said. "Scott had an unbelievable summer. Behind him you have Berrettini, who is not really a sprinter but can do some awesome things on his stomach as well as his back. In addition, we have Bagby, who I believe is going to have an unbelievable career here at TCU."
Up to nine newcomers could see also see action in the sprint events. Jeff Hendricks, a 10-time High School All-American who finished third in the 200-free at the state meet, will be relied upon to make an immediate impact. Dan Bodin, Kevin Brown, Ben Iannacone, Mike Majek and Josh Schifferer will also look to be difference makers in the sprint events.
"Jeff Hendricks is a freshman that is the real deal in terms of freestyles," Sybesma added. "We have a pretty good sprint core all the way down, from kids that can go anywhere from 20.0 to 21.5, and we probably have six or seven guys there, which will also help with our relays."
Jason Hauck, a junior from Eden Prairie, Minn., is the top returning mid-distance swimmer, and will swim in the freestyle events up to the 500-free.
"With Hauck and Hendricks, we should be pretty good in the 200-free," commented Sybesma. "Hauck is going to be a real key part in our program because he can swim the butterfly and can really help our relays with the 100- and 200-free."
"Those three guys are all going to push each other and I think by the end of the year we are going to be pretty good," said Sybesma. Right now we don't have the quality in the distance events like we did with Alejandro last year, but our depth is much better because we will have three guys in the 500- and 1000-free that can do some damage."
"Our butterfly is solid with Hauck," said Sybesma. "We've got some kids we think are really going to come on, and that would be Garrett and Mike."
Jeff Gettel, a freshman from Plano, Texas, will get the nod to help replace the loss of Ramirez in the backstroke events.
"Gettel is a really good backstroker," Sybesma commented. "Between him and Berrettini, our backstroke will be good like it has been in the past. I feel that Keegan Walkley, our new assistant coach who is a backstroke specialist, will really help those guys improve."
Edgar Peyro, a freshman from El Paso, Texas, is expected to make an immediate impact after earning High School All-America honors in the 100-breast and placing fourth in the event at the state championships. Sophomore Chas Murphey will also get a shot after an impressive off-season this summer.
"Chas really had an outstanding sectional meet this summer and he's going to have a really good career here," said Sybesma. "He's really come into his own and become a swimmer who can really help our team."
"Our IM is going be in pretty good shape with the addition of Edgar, who was in the top three in the state meet in the 200 IM," Sybesma added.
"It's awesome when you have a returning NCAA qualifier," Sybesma explained. "In addition to R.J., Kyle Callens is going to be someone who will surprise some people. Wayne (Chester) has been really impressed with what our diving core has been doing."
"We're probably as good a team as we've been, and if we get everybody to perform like we're capable of, we could be a real surprise," said Sybesma. "I like the cohesiveness and the way they're training. Where we are going to go is where our seniors will lead us, and I feel good about that right now."
"Melenric had a great butterfly last year and we feel like we've made some changes that can help her sprint," explained Sybesma. "In addition, we have several newcomers who could really make an impact, with Nikki, Macy and Mychala. On top of that we have Melanie, who is going to be a real surprise for us. She had a great summer and she could be a difference maker for our program."
Three veterans will anchor the Frogs in the distance events, with seniors Michelle Pottenger and Keilah Walker and junior Sarah Bardwell. Jessica Miles, a newcomer from nearby Colleyville, Texas, is expected to make an immediate impact in the mid-distance and distance events after earning All-America accolades in the 200- and 500-free this past season.
"Jessica is going to be a difference maker in the 200-, 500- and 1000-free for us," said Sybesma. "Where our distance swimmers have always been good, we feel Jessica will take us to that next level, and I can't sing her praises enough."
"There's been some pleasant surprises in the fly events," Sybesma said. "Shannon Jones' times have been really competitive and we think she will really help us in the fly. Mychala has been really outstanding in the 100-fly."
"Crystal is having an outstanding fall for us so far," Sybesma said. "Samantha had a great senior year and we feel will really help us. Macy really has the potential to have a great college career."
"Both Maribeth and Katie are very good breaststrokers and were all-conference for us last year," said Sybesma. "We think they can have outstanding seasons this year and we're counting on them."
"We're really excited about Cheryl and how Meredith came along last year in the IM events," added Sybesma. "Meredith had an outstanding freshman year, and we think she will have a great sophomore year. She's really motivated and trains well and has the right attitude. Kim Jones and Michelle Pottenger will also be able to fill some spots for us in the IM events."
"Our depth in the diving events is really good," explained Sybesma. "We have what I would call four really solid divers. Jen Ferguson can be a difference maker. She's coming off an injury and we're looking for her to have an outstanding sophomore season. We signed Nikka Campora, and the higher you go from the one-meter to the platform, the better she is. Wayne (Chester) has been really pleased with her."