Aug. 31, 1999
CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson men’s swimming and diving program enters the 1999-2000 season looking to build upon the respect the team gained at last year’s ACC Championships. The Tigers placed second in two relay events at the league meet, swimming the 200 free relay in 1:20.79 and recording a provisional time of 2:59.52 in the 400 free relay.
“By placing second in two relays, we proved that we can compete with anyone in the conference,” said Marchionda.
The Tigers return 17 lettermen, including 11 athletes who have recorded times among Clemson’s all-time top 10. Fourteen rookies will be added to the mix of returnees to complete this season’s squad.
“Of our 14 newcomers, 12 will make an immediate impact in the program and help set the standards to get the men’s team on the map,” said Marchionda. “We really expect the program to move in a positive direction this season.”
FREESTYLE The sprint free events have been a stronghold for the program the last few years, and Marchionda will look to a group of veterans to lead Clemson in the sprints again this season. Senior Mike Pridemore and junior Tim Collis rank among the school’s leaders in the 50 free. Pridemore has the fifth-fastest time in Clemson history at 20.49, while Collis ranks eighth overall at 20.59.
Junior Will Rogers and sophomores Kenny Roberts, Matt Stone and Brett Walker also return after logging outstanding seasons last year. Freshmen Adam Brock (Palm Beach Gardens, FL), Dan DiMarzio (North Canton, OH), Peter Massey (Stratford, CT) and Ryan Pizagno (Margate, NJ) will complete the Tiger sprinters.
“All of these freshmen should come in and push the group to be better and better,” said Marchionda. “They have the potential for a good showing at the ACC Championships, to prove that they can sprint with anybody in the country.”
Roberts and Rogers will also compete in the middle distance events, along with seniors Adam Porter and Chris Moro and sophomore Andy Meek.
“We have added freshman Rob Amos (Highlands Ranch, CO), who can have a direct effect in the middle distance events,” said Marchionda.
Although the distance events have been a weak spot for the Tigers in the past, Marchionda believes that Meek and Moro will make great strides in the events this season. Senior Wes Morrow and sophomore Joey Tighe will give the team depth in the distance events, while freshmen Amos and Jeff Atteberry (Cincinnati, OH) should have an early impact on the group.
BUTTERFLY Clemson’s top butterfly specialists return from last season. Sophomore Matt Stone led the Tigers with a time of 50.07 in the 100 fly last year, and Morrow paced the team with a time of 1:51.89 in the 200 fly at last year’s conference meet.
“Morrow will be a mainstay for us in the 200 fly, but we will call upon Pridemore to help in these events as well,” said Marchionda.
BREASTSTROKE Sophomores Sean Wallace and Matt Wilson and junior Alejandro Dubreuil led the team in the breaststroke during the 1998-99 season. Wallace’s best times of the season, 56.79 in the 100 breast and 2:03.11 in the 200 breast, each ranked fifth on the Tigers’ all-time list, while Wilson’s top time in the 200 breast, 2:03.02, is third on Clemson’s all-time list. Dubreuil recorded a time of 58.56 to place eighth in the 100 breast at the league meet.
“We will add freshmen Matt Norman (Vienna, VA) and Josh Williams (Jonesboro, GA) who will immediately push this group toward faster times,” said Marchionda.
BACKSTROKE The backstroke was one of the team’s stronger events last season. Collis swam the 100 back in 49.91, the third-fastest time in Clemson history, during the preliminary round of the league championship meet, and Porter placed sixth in the 200 back at the ACC meet with a time of 1:49.86, the fourth-fastest time in Clemson history.
“Senior Rob Etheridge, along with Tighe, will provide depth in these events, while freshmen Drew Cleveland (Marietta, GA) and Amos will also be a part of the backstroke group,” said Marchionda.
INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY Wilson had an outstanding freshman season last year to lead the Tigers in the Individual Medley. He placed third at the ACC Championships in the 400 IM and had a preliminary time of 3:54.36, the second-fastest time in Clemson history. In the 200 IM, he finished seventh at the league meet and recorded a time of 1:50.16 in the preliminary round to place third on Clemson’s all-time list.
Etheridge may be called upon to help in the 200 IM, as well. Marchionda believes Atteberry, Dubreuil and Morrow will also help the Tigers in the IM events.
RELAYS Collis, Etheridge and Walker all swam on the Clemson 200m relay team that set a new school record last season with a time of 1:20.27 at Auburn. Roberts, Collis and Etheridge were members of the 400 free relay that earned a NCAA provisional time of 2:59.52 to place second at the ACC Championships.
“We are looking forward to mixing it up at teh ACC Championships this year”, said Marchionda. “We could be battling for a title.”
DIVING Juniors Andy Garrett and Chris Anderson return to lead a host of freshmen divers. Garrett placed 12th (363.40) in the one-meter event and 16th (320.00) in the three-meter event at the ACC Championships, while Anderson finished 13th in both events at the league meet. These veterans plus rookies Craig Thomas (Maryville, TN), Nathan Spice (North Olmstead, OH), Mike Harris (Jacksonville, OH) and Jonathan Folds (Lilburn, GA) will look to place even higher in the conference and qualify for the 2000 NCAA Championships.
SCHEDULE The Tigers open the season at home on Oct. 30, facing defending ACC Champion Virginia, before travelling to Columbia to take on state-rival South Carolina. “We will swim against tough competition from the very beginning,” said Marchionda. Over the December training trip, Clemson will swim at Miami and Florida Atlantic, then travel to North Carolina to begin the second half of the season.
Clemson will serve as host to Georgia Tech, Alabama and Virginia Tech before concluding dual meet competition at North Carolina State on February 5.
“The men’s program has reached the level where we have a legitimate shot of winning any one of our dual meets,” said Marchionda. “We may not win all of them, but we are certainly going to be challenging for the victory at each meet. I am looking forward to the schedule this season, and hopefully we will come out with a winning record.”
The ACC Championships will be held in Chapel Hill, February 24-26, and Marchionda believes the team will be a contender for one of the top three positions in the league.
“The ACC is becoming one of the strongest conferences in the country, with several teams among the top 10 in the nation,” he said. “I believe Clemson’s program will move in a positive direction this season, thanks to the challenge of competing in such a touch conference.”
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