Sept. 22, 2005
In the 2005-2006 season, the Clemson University Women’s Swimming and Diving Team will look to keep building from a strong finish to the 2004-05 season. The Tiger women won 3 out of their last 4 meets to post a 6-7 duel meet record, a 7th place finish at the ACC Championships, and a tie for 34th place at the NCAA Championships.
The Tigers were led by Kim Routh (Sandusky, OH) at the ACC Championships, she was a double gold medalist in the 500 free and the 1650 free. Routh was also able to lead the Tigers at the NCAA Championships as she recorded a 13th place finish in the 500 free and a 15th place finish in the 1650 free. This earned her an Honorable mention All-America for the second straight year.
Depth will be the main strength for the Lady Tigers this year. “We only lost two seniors last year so we have a full squad coming back with the addition of our freshman. I am looking forward to hitting a lot of different events from a lot of different angles.”
However, it will be important for the freshman to step up right away.
“The biggest challenge that we will encounter is youth. We need to get those kids on board so that they know what college swimming is all about.”
Two current Lady Tigers hold team records in their respective events. Senior Kim Routh set the record in the 1650 free (16:18.26) at last years ACC Championships and senior diver Shastin Leathers set the mark on the 1-meter board (271.65) at the Nike Cup.
In addition to the two record holders, the Tigers will return four other swimmers that are currently in the Tiger all-time top ten. Senior Nicole Carlton ranks 8th in the 1650 freestyle (16:49.16), senior Ashley Shafer ranks 3rd in the 100 breast (1:03.76) and 10th in the 200 breast (2:19.05), and junior Sarah Cefalu recorded the 8th fastest time in the 200 breast (2:18.91) at the 2005 ACC Championships. Sophomore Jen Grove swam her way to the 6th fastest time in Tiger history in the 100 fly (55.80), also at the ACC Championships.
With these returnees, coupled with a talented incoming freshman class, the Tigers should be a formidable foe against ACC competition.
“Our freshman class picked up a lot of swimmers that were plugged in to different events. Rachel Regone and Cassy LaRussa are versatile in the freestyle events ranging from the 50 to the 500. The Kroll sisters, Cassy and Toni from Tennessee bring us a lot of variety and a lot of depth in multiple of events. The big challenge for them will be to get them used to the college program and the intensity of all our dual meets. If they are able to do that, they will do very well.”
Coach Ip is excited about batting the full cycle, as this will be his 4th season and a chance to have all the swimmers and divers believing in his philosophy for success.
In the sprint freestyles, returnees Kallie Deters, Amanda Pirovitz, and Bethany Meeuwsen will lead the way. Deters finished off the season with a 23rd place in the 50 free (23.95), and a time of 53.08 in the 100 free at the ACC Championships.
“We have strengthened our sprints by signing Rachel Regone, who was the Texas state runner-up in the 50 and the 100. We also added Pennsylvania natives Lauren Sindall from Lancaster and Cassy LaRussa from Emmaus. LaRussa is a versatile swimmer who can swim the 50 up to the 500. They will join Claire Cuda and Jayme VanErden who look to add to the depth of the sprint events.”
Honorable Mention All America and ACC Champion Kim Routh will lead the distance group. Routh will team up with fellow senior Nicole Carlton, and sophomore Whitney Sandison. As a team, the Lady Tigers took first place nine times in the 1000 freestyle, and seven times in the 500 freestyle in 2004-05. To add to this already strong core, Ip has added Carlyn Sanders, Summer Odonnell, and Toni Kroll.
In 2004, the backstroke events suffered due to key injuries. However, Ip feels that backstroke is where the Lady Tigers have improved the most. Senior captain Kelly Urso, who is returning from a back injury, swam career best times in 2003-04 in the 100 back (58.44) and 200 back (2:04.22). The Tigers also signed Michelle Parkhurst, a freshman from Virginia. Parkhurst was honored as the Rookie of the Meet at USA Senior Nationals this summer. She placed 6th in the 100m backstroke to earn the honor. Senior Nikki Deering and freshman Ashley Clay will join them in the backstroke events for the Tigers.
Senior Ashley Shafer and junior Sarah Cefalu will take key roles for the Tiger breaststrokers. At the 2005 ACC Championships, Shafer recorded 11th place finishes in the 100 breast (1:03.94) and the 200 breast (2:19.12). Cefalu swam her way to the 8th fastest time in Clemson history in the 200 breast (2:18.91) in the ACC Preliminaries. Freshman Katie Aggas from the Bolles School in Florida, and South Carolina native Sara Anderson will round out the group.
The butterfly events will be covered by Jen Grove in the 100, and Peg Carter and Kate Hicks in the 200. Grove, a sophomore, swam the 6th fastest time in the 100 fly in Clemson history (55.80). Carter was the top finisher for the Tigers at the ACC Championships, coming in 19th with a time of 2:05.19. Ip has added incoming freshman Cassy Kroll, Sara Porri, and Lisa McKain to strengthen the squad.
The individual medley events will be handled by a number of the Lady Tigers. Ip believes that a combination of experience and young talent will prove to be a successful formula for this years’ IMers.
“We have Sarah Cefalu and Jill Allen to tackle IM events for the upperclassmen. Our versatile freshman swimmers of Toni and Cassy Kroll, Cassy LaRussa, Aggas, and Sanders will see action in the IM events.”
Depth will prove to be valuable in the relays for the Lady Tigers this year. They lost only two seniors from last year, and added 16 new faces to the program.
“We look for some strong relay’s and depth in all our events during the dual meet season. We will have strong medley relays with Michelle Parkhurst leading off, and we picked up a lot of sprint freestylers for those relays as well.”
In the diving events, Clemson returns a lot of depth. Senior Shastin Leathers, the school record holder on the 1-meter board, will look to score big at the ACC meet this year and qualify for NCAA’s. She will be backed by returnees Jess Watcke, Jen Miata, and Dani Kazilionis.
Clemson added Jonathan Kaplan, who attended Florida State as an undergrad and as a graduate student to an already outstanding staff of coaches. He will be working a lot with the technique and new types of training that will help Clemson to become an elite team in the ACC.
“Jonathan has a great passion for the sport and is a student of the sport. He is 100% an educator. He can help us to take charge in the recruiting areas, and he is a great fit for the program.”
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