Today, November 8th, 2012 is exactly one year after the swimming community first learned that yet another major Division I swim program was recommended to be cut by the University of Maryland athletics department. It was almost too hard to believe. We were just beginning to enter the final stages of grief as Clemson entered their last season, and the wounds were violently reopened, from the same conference none-the-less.
Now, with the beautiful natatorium at the Eppley rec center left without the echoes of swimming, diving, or water polo (all three programs from vibrant to extinguished in just a few short months), the Maryland athletics program is left on bare bones – only 8 men’s sports remain, and only 12 women’s (and even that only if given credit for indoor track, outdoor track, and cross country as separate sports).
Former Terrapins are spread wide across the country. Some went on to continue their college careers, while others decided that they couldn’t walk away from the university, even after it failed its promises to them, so great was their love for UMD.
For Maryland fans left without a team to pull for, here’s your chance to catch up with those who kept on keeping-on. If we’ve left anyone off the list, leave a comment and we’ll find them!
Melanie Busch, So., Arizona State – Busch is right on track with early returns for the Sun Devils. Though the men’s team was upset by Division II team Grand Canyon, the women looked good. Busch swam the 2nd leg of their winning 400 free relay, and placed 4th in both the 50 free (24.16) and the 100 free (52.45) – both of which are times right on top of what she was going as a freshman last year.
Laura Flewelling, So., Florida State – Flewelling is another piece of what was a promising freshman class for the Terrapins last season, and she’s been busy now that she’s in Tallahassee. Her season bests in the 100 breaststroke came against FIU and FAU, where she was a 1:06.92, and in the 200 she was a 2:22.9 against Miami. She started her freshman season a little better than that, but the pattern for Seminoles breaststrokers is to have a way-bigger rise and decline (see Melissa Cooper last year, who started at 1:07’s, and tapered to a 1:00). Watch for times to start falling fairly quickly as we get toward the end of November.
Carolyn Fittin, So., Penn State – Another sophomore, and maybe the most promising of them, wound up with her brother at Penn State. Her first 50 free for the Nittany Lions wasn’t spectacular, though she took 2nd against West Virginia in 24.20, but she did have some very good relay swims. That includes a 25.49 butterfly split on Penn St.’s winning 200 medley relay and a 52.30 on the 400 free relay.
Kelly Carroll, So., Fordham – Carroll joined an already-stout Fordham sprint group early this year, including a season-opening tri-meet with UConn and Bucknell. She felt her way through that meet, but then looked much better a week later in the team’s meet against Bucknell. There, she was 3rd in the 100 breast in 1:08.04, and also swam a 54.09 on the third leg of Fordham’s 400 free relay.
Megan Zarriello, So., Fordham – Zariello has joined Carroll at Fordham. Her times have been a bit over-the-map this year, but her bests of 5:10 in the 500 and 10:36 in the 1000 are good season-starters for her. Swimming at Fordham, it’s likely that she’s going to be seeing a lot more relay duties, and it will be interesting to see if extra speed influences how she swims her distance events.
Jenny Roberts, Jr., New Hampshire – Roberts has had maybe the biggest impact on her new team early, having already been named the American East Conference Swimmer of the week twice this season. New Hampshire, on the strength of her swims, have already rolled past fellow mid-level programs Boston College, Vermont, Northeastern, Bryant, and Central Connecticut State. Roberts broke the Vermont Pool Record in the 200 IM with a 2:06.21, and that was her slowest of three swims on the season. She’s also been a 56.02 in the 100 fly and a 52.47 in the 100 free. Roberts, who was an All-American for the Terrapins, still has NCAA qualifying potential; she should carry New Hampshire to a Conference Championship this season as well.
Amy Halligan, Jr., Western Kentucky – Halligan was expected to be the rock of Western Kentucky’s breaststroke group, and she’s done just that through two meets. She leads the team in both the 100 (1:04.48) and 200 (2:21.86). Interestingly, in the team’s meet against Vanderbilt and Tulane last week, though Halligan was the fastest Hilltopper in the 100 breast by a full second ahead ofClaire Conlon (and 2nd overall), Conlon got the nod on the 200 medley relay. Subtly a very good decision by Bruce Marchionda as Conlon was faster by half-a-second on that relay. Watch to see how that battle plays out as Halligan becomes more comfortable in the program (the medley was before the individual 100 and 200).
Victoria Cassidy, Jr., Texas – Cassidy was a part of the travel squad that got to compete against Cal and Stanford in the Bay Area last week, and she did fairly well there. Against Cal on Friday she was a 1:52.44 in the 200 free, though she’s been a bit up-and-down overall. Based on very early returns, it seems as though she might be trending a little bit more toward a 200 freestyler than the longer distances she focused on at Maryland (including the 400 IM).
Megan Lafferty, Sr., Arizona – The one transfer from this team who’s going to have a significant pact at the top of the NCAA Championship impact, and she’s shown that already early this year. Her 54.65 in the 100 fly ranks her 13th in the country this year (and 4th in the Pac 12). She was 2nd only to teammate Lauren Smart in that race against UNLV and Denver, and will have a big test coming up this weekend against USC and Jasmine Tosky – the country’s best 100 butterflier so far.
Charlie Rommel, So., Virginia – Rommel, like much of the Virginia men’s squad, looked very good against South Carolina last week. He has slid in as the number-two sprinter in this lineup behind Tom Barrett after placing 2nd in that meet in the 50 free in 20.84 and the 100 free in 46.12. He also had a very good relay anchor of 20.41 on the 200 medley, and a not-as-good 47.58 on the 400 free relay. Overall, this was a great pickup for the Cavalier relays it would appear so far.
Brad Dillon, Jr., North Carolina – One of two Terrapins to end up in Chappel Hill, Brad Dillon has been pretty good for the Tar Heels. He swam a 1:40.07 in the 200 free to take 3rd against Virginia Tech and also put up a 1:49.85 in the 200 back. There, he got a shot on the UNC ‘A’ 200 medley relay, though it would appear as though he’ll get quite a challenge from freshman Nic Graesser for that spot. He should, at least, be on the 800 free relay at ACC’s.
David Speese, So., North Carolina – Speese was an even bigger factor for the Tar Heels in their win against the Hokies. He swept the breaststroke races in 57.21 and 2:04.04, respectively. He too is going to have a challenge for the breaststroke spot on the A-medley relay from a freshman (Kurt Wohlrab), but looks like he could be the Tar Heels’ best breaststroker this year.
John Hauser, Jr., Penn State – Another of the five Terrapins who ended up with the Nittany Lions, Hauser saw significant freestyle action against West Virginia in the team’s first meet. There, he was a 46.16 in the 100 and 1:40.98 in the 200. The 200 is a bit better than he was at this point last year and the 100 a bit worse, which might imply a little bit of different training in his new training ground (especially considering that many Terrapin swimmers who have gone to Penn State are a bit slower). Watch to see what happens at Penn State’s mid-season meet.
Kyle Madley, So., Penn State – Madley took 5th in the 200 fly against West Virginia by touching in 1:56.92. It appears as though Penn State hopes to eke a bit more sprinting out of him this year too, as he swam on both the 200 medley relay (23.57 fly leg) as well as a 400 free relay (49.33).
Ryan Magee, So., Penn State – Magee swam a 1:55.41 in the 200 back against West Virginia to place 5th, just barely missing a clean 1-4 sweep for the Nittany Lions in his debut.
Matt Tynan, So., George Mason – Tynan joins the George Mason distance group, and swimming at a CAA Pod Meet last week, he got a great learning experience. Racing against the high-quality distance group from Towson, along with perennial CAA power Old Dominion, Tynan finished 5th in the 500 free in 4:45.09. That was his season-best by two seconds, as things are starting to come together for him down in the state of Virginia. That George Mason team was also the final destination of former Maryland assistant Laura Wright.
Aaron Sears, So., Northwestern – Sears had his best meet as the Wildcats rolled against Illinois-Chicago and Western Kentucky, swimming 59.97 and 2:13.27 in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, respectively. He wasn’t on the ACC Championship roster for Maryland last season, but at his season-ending Terrapin Invite meet in February, he tapered off 8 seconds in the 200 breaststroke to really break out. He’s not back in that range yet, but he’s a far cry better than he was early last season. Wait and see what kind of taper he has this year.
Ray Cswerko, So., Southern Connecticut State – Cswerko found himself swimming in Division II for the Owls of SoCon St. He too has had an immediate impact on a smaller program, as the school named him their male athlete of the month for October to go with two Northeast-10 Swimmer of the Week honors. He’s swimming a little bit of everything, but among his better results are a 51.83 in the 100 fly against the College of Saint Rose, a 1:55.1 in the 200 IM against Yale, and a 1:44.4 in the 200 free also against Yale.
Peter Fittin, Jr., Penn State – Peter Fittin hasn’t made a regular-season appearance yet for the Nittany Lions.