Press Release courtesy of St. Bonaventure Athletics.
The St. Bonaventure University women’s swimming and diving team is set to kick off its 2017-18 season this Friday at the Justin Jennings Memorial Invite at Colgate University.
Bonnies head coach Brian Thomas is entering his second season at the reigns of the program.
“Expectations are higher this year,” Thomas said. “We are not looking backwards, always looking forward trying to get better. My team appreciates the routine swimming puts them in.”
Bona will be led by five seniors: Alyssa Levac, Michaela Ryan, Devon McFadden, Maria Rocchi, and Emily Wulff.
McFadden, Rocchi, and Wulff all spent the summer at St. Bonaventure, working on campus to prepare for the 2017-18 season.
“I told the girls the work they put in over the summer would definitely set them up for the fall,” Thomas said. “I also told them that it does not entitle them to anything, and that they will have to continue to work. Their mentality is rubbing off on the rest of the team.”
An Owego, N.Y. native, McFadden returns off a season that saw her break school records in the 100-backstroke (55.62), 200-backstroke (1:59.09), and the 200-IM (2:02.80). She was also part of the 400-medley relay team that broke a St. Bonaventure program record.
Rocchi posted personal best times in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.46) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.10). Wulff improved her times in the 100-breaststroke (1:08.34) and 200-breaststroke (2:29.46) during her junior season.
Ryan registered personal bests in the 200-freestyle (1:57.41) and 1650-freestyle (17:15.00), while Levac had personal best times in the 100-breaststroke (1:03.21) and 200-butterfly (2:08.43). Levac broke a school record in the 200-breaststroke with a time of 2:17.06.
The Bonnies have six freshmen joining the program this season: Lena Kutsko (Wheeling, IL), Gerle Kerescen (Budapest), Makenna McCartney (Saginaw, Mich.), Casey Prentice(Arnold, MD), and Katrina Wardner (Orchard Park, N.Y.).
“We have exciting new members that are raising expectations,” Thomas said. “I’m not trying to get overly excited or down in the early part of the season. The freshmen are adjusting well, and we are taking it one day at a time trying to be better than we were yesterday.”
Stephanie Fleming has come on board to be the diving coach this season, while Logan Arnold also enters his first season as assistant swimming and diving coach. Fleming joins the Bonnies after serving as head men’s and women’s diving coach at the University of Findlay from 2013-2016. Before joining the brown and white, Arnold previously assisted at St. Thomas University and most recently was a volunteer assistant at North Carolina State.
“Certainly adding Logan as assistant coach has been a big positive for us,” said Thomas. “His experience is good to be able to shoot some ideas at. Also adding Stephanie, she added some divers late in the game.”
This year’s St. Bonaventure roster features five divers, which is the most they have had on one team in a number of years. Divers include Izzy Aguilera, Brittany Hart, Elena Rohr, Riley Parker, and Anna Campos.
“I think our divers can make some noise at the A-10’s, earning a lot of diving points,” said Fleming. “We have five girls this year, which is the most in a long time. I would like to get as many of those five in the top eight if I can.”
The Bonnies will have three home meets this season. St. Bonaventure’s first home meet will not be until Saturday, Nov. 11 when Canisius visits the Reilly Center Pool. The final two will be on Jan. 12 against Buffalo and Jan. 13 against Binghamton.