1998 Men’s Season Outlook

Clemson Swimming and Diving dives into the 1997-98 season with high expectations and the opportunity to build on last year’s successes. The men’s team will look to improve on its ACC finish of a year ago and continue to break school records for the all-time fastest times in the 44-year history of the swimming program.

The Clemson men’s team looks to improve on a year where Tiger swimmers broke four individual records and two relay records with the fastest times in Clemson history. In all there are 12 men returning who are ranked in the Clemson All-Time Top-10.

Head Coach Bruce Marchionda likes the men’s teams future. “We feel like this is potentially the best team that we have had. They have the ability to challenge for the top three spots at the conference championship. The future looks very bright, we have some great leaders, as well as a very talented freshman class. We have built the program to a point where we can be competitive with anyone in the conference. What we need to do now, is take the foundation that we laid last year and now its time to build upon that foundation.”

Freestyle In the sprint freestyle events, Mike Pridemore, a top-10 time holder, Sasha Novozhilov, and Donny Johnson return to anchor the sprint freestyle events. All three of these veterans return after a year in which they all bettered their times as the season progressed.

The big addition to the sprint freestyle events, is 1996 Olympic competitor Razvan Petcu. Petcu swam in the Centennial Olympic games in the sprint freestyle events. “He automatically makes the 50 and 100 freestyle a real strong event for us,” says Coach Marchionda.

In the middle distance freestyle events, the Tigers again look to veterans to lead the way. Returnees John Dunham, a stronghold in the 200 free, and Will Maher, a top-10 time holder in the 200 free, will continue to be a dominant force in the middle distance freestyle. Drew Gessert and William Rogers will come in and make a significant contribution as freshmen. According to Marchionda, “Drew and Will are outstanding middle distance freestylers and are going to be a great asset to our middle distance freestyle base.”

In the distance freestyle events, Clemson is going to really rely on two upperclassmen, Matt Maurer and William York, to continue to improve. Maurer has scored as high as third at the conference championships and should challenge not only for the top three, but the conference champion in the distance events. William York, has improved in his first two years in the distance freestyle events and is currently on the top-10 times list in the 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle.

Butterfly Returning from last year’s strong squad of flyers is Scott Ayer, John Dunham, and Wes Morrow. Those three will really hold down the fort in the fly events. John Dunham has moved up to fourth in both the 100 and 200 fly events in Clemson history, while Scott Ayer is ninth in the 200 fly.

In the 100 butterfly, veteran Sean Stockton and newcomer William Rogers will both make an impact. They should add depth for the Tigers in the butterfly, one of Clemson’s strongest strokes.

Breaststroke The breaststroke will be the hardest area hit by graduation for the men’s team, as Landon Harris, an Olympic Trial Qualifier, and Chris Anderson, a NCAA Qualifier, both move on. Dan Hoeller, a senior captain and top-10 time holder, and Sasha Novozhilov, who also ranks among the all-time best in the breaststroke, must fill the gaps.

To help add depth to the breaststroke, the Tigers will bring in an international swimmer. Alejandro Dubreuil, from Peru, comes in as a freshman to bolster the Tigers depth in the breaststroke events.

Backstroke The backstroke events may be the strongest stroke for the Tigers. The men return four all-time top-10 swimmers in the backstroke events. These four returning veterans provide the anchor for Clemson in the 100 and 200 back.

Adam Porter, is third all-time in the 100 back and 10th in the 200 back. Senior captain P.J. Olson is seventh in the 100 back and eighth in the 200 back. William York is ranked fifth all-time in the 200 back and Rob Etheridge holds the 10th spot in the 100 back. These veterans must continue to improve to make the Tigers a force to be reckoned with in the backstroke in 1997-98.

Individual Medley “In the IM events, again we are looking at mostly seasoned veterans to help us there,” says Coach Marchionda. Scott Ayer, Wes Morrow, and P.J. Olson will lead the way in the Individual Medley. All three returnees will look to improve on their best times from the 1996-97 season. Ayer is fourth all-time in the 200 IM.

The big addition to the veteran core will be Alejandro Dubreuil who also will add depth in the 200 and 400 IM, as well as the breaststroke events. Relays

Clemson’s depth is a key factor in the record setting relay times the Tigers have posted. The deeper the Tigers roster becomes in each stroke, the deeper the Tigers become in the relays. This season, Clemson should do very well because of the depth the Tigers return, including seven members of all-time top three relay teams of a year ago.

The veterans of last year, combined with a very talented incoming freshman class, provide the nucleus for the possibility of record setting relay teams. “We had school records broken in a lot of relays last year due to the tremendous depth that we had last year,” says Marchionda. He also adds that this year should continue the record setting ways in the relays.

Diving The men’s diving team must rely on freshmen to come in and make an immediate impact. With no returning divers from last season, the Tigers look for three freshmen to make the diving events a winning combination.

One of Clemson’s goals this year was to increase the level of standards in diving. They look to have done just that by capturing three very promising prospects in Jeff Thomas, Chris Anderson, and Andrew Garrett. Andrew Garrett and Chris Anderson were both high school All-Americans. Even though those three are freshmen, they possess a tremendous amount of talent. “We feel like they can step up and have an immediate impact in our program and give us the points that we’re looking for,” says Coach Marchionda.

Schedule and Conference The Clemson schedule is loaded with fierce competition, with top-25 teams top to bottom. The Tigers don’t waste time, beginning with the preseason Open H2O Invitational held in Lake Hartwell, which brings in defending national champion Auburn.

The Tigers also will face Auburn during the season, as well as national caliber competition in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

“We really feel the schedule prepares us for the tough competition at the end of the year,” says Marchionda. “The excitement of it is that we have a legitimate shot at winning any of our meets, we can compete with anybody on our schedule. That’s basically the equivalent of competing with team in the country. That’s what we’re leading toward, that’s where we’re going and I think this year’s schedule reflects that.”

The ACC as a conference continues to grow. It was the fastest conference meet in history last year and it is starting to become one of the most competitive conferences in the country, sending numerous swimmers to the national championships. Just as Clemson is attracting some of the best swimmers in the country and moving up the national ladder, that’s the same direction that the conference is going into.

“We are getting national champions out of our conference, which is enabling us, as a conference, to attract the best swimmers in the country,” says Marchionda. “Of course that makes it fun, not only from a competition standpoint, but when you get a chance to swim against the best teams in the country, you improve. We feel like we are one of those teams.”


1998 NCAA Division IMen's Swimming & Diving Championships Qualifying Standards                         25-Yard Course         25-Meter Course         50-Meter Course                         A           B           A           B           A           BEvent                  Standard    Standard    Standard    Standard    Standard    Standard50 Freestyle            19.81       20.40       21.68       22.33       22.78       23.45100 Freestyle           43.75       45.06       47.87       49.31       50.29       51.80200 Freestyle           1:36.39     1:39.28     1:45.47     1:48.63     1:50.17     1:53.47500 Freestyle           4:21.03     4:28.86     3:48.38     3:55.23     3:56.23     4:03.321650 Freestyle          15:10.61    15:37.92    15:05.18    15:32.33    15:33.96    16:01.97100 Butterfly           47.68       49.11       52.17       53.74       53.88       55.50200 Butterfly           1:46.41     1:49.60     1:56.43     1:59.92     2:00.93     2:04.55100 Backstroke          47.97       49.40       52.49       54.05       55.14       56.79200 Backstroke          1:44.69     1:47.83     1:54.55     1:57.98     2:00.34     2:03.95100 Breaststroke        54.65       56.28       59.80       1:01.58     1:03.19     1:05.07200 Breaststroke        1:58.78     2:02.34     2:09.96     2:13.86     2:17.32     2:21.44200 Individual Medley   1:47.16     1:50.37     1:57.25     2:00.76     2:03.89     2:07.60400 Individual Medley   3:49.48     3:56.36     4:11.08     4:18.61     4:23.78     4:31.68200 Freestyle Relay     1:19.19     1:21.56     1:26.65     1:29.24     1:31.03     1:33.75400 Freestyle Relay     2:55.60     3:00.86     3:12.13     3:17.88     3:21.85     3:27.89800 Freestyle Relay     6:28.35     6:40.00     7:04.90     7:17.64     7:23.83     7:37.15200 Medley Relay        1:27.96     1:30.59     1:36.24     1:39.12     1:40.76     1:43.78400 Medley Relay        3:13.13     3:18.92     3:31.31     3:37.64     3:41.23     3:47.861-Meter Diving  - -     Dual  290/ Championships  4653-Meter Diving  - -     Dual  310/ Championships  480Platform        - -     10 dives  430/ 14 dives   618