The 2010-11 season had a bit of a storybook ending for the Clemson men’s swimming and diving program. Out of virtual obscurity, the Tigers sent four individuals to the NCAA Championships and emerged with a top 25 national ranking. This season, the bulk of the team returns for a shot at additional accolades.
The strengths of the men’s program have been well-documented over the past several months. Rising seniors Seth Broster, Chris Dart, and Chris Reinke, as well as rising junior Eric Bruck, gained valuable experience at the national meet last season. Rising senior Mark Schindler joined this group as ACC champions, and there were several members of the team that just missed posting qualifying times. Ip hopes there will be many more opportunities for success in the program’s final year.
“The mainstays in the men’s program have stayed to honor the program’s last season,” he said. “This team has proven that Clemson swimming and diving is nationally competitive in the pool and in the classroom. That is the legacy this team wants to leave.”
FREESTYLE ACC Champion Eric Bruck will lead the sprint freestyle group. Bruck shattered school records in both the 50 and 100 free last season, and he ended the season with a 12th-place finish in the 50 free at the NCAA Championships. A foursome of seniors–Derek Barre, Harry Foster, Myles Oliver, and Chris Reinke–will back him up, along with junior Marcus Elliott, who returns from a leg injury.
The middle distance events will be led by Reinke and fellow seniors Scott Clary and Lee Groseclose. All have experience in these events. Also, transfer Scott Aron will be expected to contribute immediately.
For distance freestyle events, senior Alex Carr and sophomore Shayne Buckley will anchor the team. Carr won the 1000 free four times last season. The return of senior Will Clark from a leg injury should provide another quality option for Ip and the Tigers.
BACKSTROKE Dart will lead a talented group in this event. Junior Andrew Abeysinghe and sophomore Walker Layne will also compete in the event, and Ip said that Oliver would be on standby just in case another body is needed.
Dart won a backstroke event ten times last season. He is the all-time Clemson record-holder in the 100 back and sits in second place in the 200 back. Abeysinghe joins him in the top three in the 200 back. Oliver is on the list in the 100 back, and Layne is knocking on the door.
BREASTSTROKE ACC Champion Mark Schindler will take the lead in this group. Depth behind him has yet to emerge, although senior Chase Henderson looks to have a strong hold on the second slot.
Schindler posted the top 100 breast qualifying time in the field at the ACC Championships last season. His time was almost a full second faster than the previous school record. He is currently just three-hundredths of a second away from owning the Clemson record in the 200 breast, as well, something he will surely set his sights on this season.
BUTTERFLY Yet another ACC Champion headlines this group for the Tigers. Seth Broster will take the lead in the butterfly events, joined in the crew by Foster and Barre. A pair of newcomers–Aron and Alex Brown–will round out the field.
Broster had some success in the 100 fly last season, posting three wins in the event throughout the year. He ranks second in school history in the butterfly and has plans to end his Clemson career atop that list. Foster is the only returner with experience in the 200 free, and the strides he made last season should allow him to knock some time off of his swims this season.
INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY Dart, Abeysinghe, and Buckley will cover this event. All have ample experience in the individual medleys, and all have the ability to rise up to another level in these events this season.
Dart won the 200 IM in six of nine events last season, and he lowered his school-record time in the event by more than four-tenths of a second. Abeysinghe joined the Clemson list last season and currently resides in seventh place. He is also in sixth place in the 400 IM. Buckley logged swims in both events last season.
DIVING Junior Pat Chamberlain and sophomore Austin Braver will handle the work for the men’s team on the diving side. Their experience should prove valuable for the Tigers.
Both Chamberlain and Braver won in the three-meter last season, and Chamberlain added a one-meter title as well. Both men performed better in bigger meets last season and they expect to be even more competitive throughout the schedule in 2010-11.
February 17, 2019