Oct. 9, 2000
By Anne Miller Asst. Sports Information DirectorThe NC State Game Program – October 7, 2000
The 2000-2001 men’s swimming and diving team is looking to move up in the conference standings and the national rankings as it returns 17 swimmers from last year’s team and adds nine talented newcomers. The 1999-2000 squad finished seventh at the ACC Championships after posting a 7-2 overall mark and a 2-2 record in the ACC.
Head coach Bruce Marchionda along with assistants Kathleen Milloy, Jim McGinnis, and diving coach Leslie Hasslebach are excited about the possibilities of success for this year’s team. “I am looking forward to seeing what this team can accomplish,” said Marchionda.
“The blend of experienced swimmers who posted great performances over the last couple of years and the new impact swimmers will help the men’s program earn respect from its opponents. We are going to have the opportunity to make a name for ourselves.”
Freestyle The Tigers have a strong group of returning swimmers in the sprint freestyle events. Senior Will Rogers, who finished second at the ACC Championships last year and garnered All-ACC honors, will lead the group of returnees. Marchionda also expects junior Olympian Kenny Roberts, who competed in the 100 free in Sydney, and sophomore Josh Williams to step up and hold their own in a very strong sprint conference.
Sophomore Rob Amos and juniors Andy Meek and Kenny Roberts will be strong contributors in the middle distance events. These solid returners coupled with two outstanding freshmen in Brent Hitchcock (The Woodlands, TX) and Mark Henly (Denver, PA) will anchor the Tigers’ middle distance efforts.
“Hitchcock will be a solid contributor for the Tigers this year and in the future. Henly is a very versatile swimmer who will be able to cover a gamut of events for us,” said Marchionda.
Four returnees and two newcomers will be Clemson’s strength in the distance events. Amos, sophomore Jeff Atteberry, and juniors Joey Tighe and Andy Meek along with newcomers James Stoffer (West Chester, OH) and Travis Taylor will lead the Tigers. Taylor, a freshman from La Crescenta, CA, posted high school times that would have scored at the ACC Championships last year and is expected to have an immediate effect on the team.
Butterfly Clemson graduated Mike Pridemore and Wes Morrow who led the Tigers in the 100 and 200 last year. However, Will Rogers and Kenny Roberts return to lead the Tigers in the fly events. Three newcomers will try to make an impact in these events as well. Freshman John Dean (Raleigh, NC), Rob Kummer (Fort Wayne, IN), and Mark Henly will challenge the returners for top spots on the team.
Breaststroke “I am particularly excited about the strength we have in the breaststroke events. These events could be the strongest we have seen in many years,” said Marchionda. “These guys should be able to mix it up with anyone in the ACC.”
The Tigers return two conference finalists and an ACC scorer from the 2000 meet. Junior Matt Wilson was a finalist in the 200 while sophomore Gregor Govse was a finalist in the 100 and 200 events.
Sophomore specialist Matt Norman scored in both the 100 and 200 at the ACC Championships last year. Clemson will be adding a talented freshman to the core of returners in Ryan Cassella (Cheshire, CT). Cassella’s high school times indicated he could also be a finalist at the ACC Championships.
Backstroke Marchionda expects two returners, sophomore Rob Amos and junior Joey Tighe, who posted consistent results last year, to step up and lead three new swimmers in the backstroke. The Tigers lost Adam Porter, who led the team in the 100, as well as Rob Ethridge who was also a solid contributor in that event.
Freshmen Mark Henly and Drew Scheerhorn (Holland, MI) are expected to play a big role for the Tigers in both the 100 and 200 backstroke events.
Individual Medley Clemson has three very strong returnees in senior Alejandro Dubreuil, sophomore Gregor Govse and junior Matt Wilson in this event.
Marchionda expects Wilson to lead the Tigers in the 200 and 400 IM after posting top times last year including a personal best time of 1:50.10 in the 200 at the ACC Championships.
Two freshmen will have the opportunity to have an immediate impact on the individual medley events. Ryan Cassella, who will also compete in the breaststroke, and freshman James Stoffer should be able to step in and be competitive for the Tigers.
Relays Marchionda predicts there will be a healthy competition for spots on the relay teams because of the overall depth of the team. He is looking for the 800 freestyle relay to be a stronger event for the Tigers this year with the addition of freshmen Brent Hitchcock, Travis Taylor, James Stoffer (West Chester, OH) and Mark Henly. Rogers, Roberts and Williams should lead Clemson in the 200 and 400 freestyle sprints while there will be a strong battle for the breaststroke and butterfly legs of the medley relays.
Diving The Tigers have four sophomores returning who turned in outstanding results as rookies. Thomas will lead the group of returnees as he was a finalist in both the one- and three-meter boards at the ACC and qualified for senior nationals this past summer (2000). In addition to Thomas, the talent of Mike Harris, Johnathan Folds and Nate Spice coupled with the leadership of senior Andy Garrett will give Clemson a very solid group of divers.
Schedule This year’s schedule will be a challenging one for the Tigers as they will be competing against many of the top teams in the country. Marchionda wants to push the squad and believes that the swimmers will step up to the level of competition.
“If we expect to be in the top 20 in the country, we need to go after established teams already in the top 20. We are competing against some very strong teams like Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia Tech who will challenge us,” said Marchionda. “We can be competitive with all these teams and will have an opportunity to win the meets. This will be a test for the men, but I am confident that we will complete the dual meet season with a winning record.
Hopefully those dual meet results will instill confidence into the team heading into the ACC Championships.”
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