March 28, 2006
Clemson, SC- The Clemson Swimming and Diving team showed why it is going to be a force to be reckon with in the ACC for years to come. After starting 0-5, the Lady Tigers hit their stride down the stretch to win five of their last six meets, and place 28th at the NCAA Championships. The men’s team finished the year 5-5, having four of their five losses coming against ranked teams. Head coach Chris Ip was pleased with his teams’ 2006 performance:
“I am excited that the majority of our scorers at ACC were underclassmen. We will have a bulk of experience going into next year and they can help to educate the freshman quickly. I think we are headed in a good direction, the kids realize that they are a much better team than what we showed at ACC’s. They are already back in the water training and are ready to make that step forward.”
During the year, the Tigers broke seven school records, including five by underclassmen. The most impressive was senior Kim Routh’s performance in the 1650 freestyle at the NCAA Championships. Routh (16:10.28) outlasted all but four competitors to claim fifth place at the world’s fastest meet. Senior diver Shastin Leathers (298.28) set the school mark on the one-meter board against rival South Carolina.
Leading the way for the underclassmen was freshman Michelle Parkhurst. Parkhurst broke the 100 backstroke (54.49) and 200 backstroke (1:57.74) records en route to silver and bronze medals at the ACC Championships. Sophomore Mark Vahle became the second Tiger under 20 seconds in the 50 freestyle as he blazed to a time of 19.66 in the preliminary heats at the ACC Championships. The old mark of 19.84 was set by Alex Ioanovici in 1999. Sophomore Attila Ruszka swam to a record time of 55.14 in the 100 breaststroke during the finals of the Nike Cup. He eclipsed the previous record of 55.18 posted by Ryan Cassella in 2004. The lone relay record that fell was the men’s 200 medley relay. At the ACC Championships the team of junior Joel Johnson, Ruszka, Vahle, and junior Brian Regone erased the mark of 1:29.19 from the 2004 season. The relay recorded a time of 1:28.51 to finish with the bronze medal.
The future looks bright for Clemson Swimming and Diving after a strong 2006 season. Ip believes that the Tigers will continue to hunt down the top of the ACC.
October 23, 2020