CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—UMBC has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2008 America East Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship, according to a vote of the conference’s head coaches. The Retrievers received all four first-place votes (coaches were not permitted to vote for their own team), tallying 16 points. Binghamton University came in second-place with 12 points, closely followed by Boston University taking one first-place vote in its third-place standing with 11 points. Click here for PDF release.

Stony Brook University (7 points) came in fourth, followed by Maine (4 points) finishing the poll at five.

The UMBC men’s swimming and diving team will vie for an unprecedented fifth-straight America East Conference title and what will hopefully be an eleventh-straight conference title. With 16 returning swimmers on the squad and an enormous incoming class of 14 freshmen and one transfer, they return with another strong roster. Junior tri-captain Justin Bronson (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada/MSGR. Paul Dwyer), will continue to lead the way for the Retrievers in the mid-distance and distance events, but will have a high level of competition and support from his fellow teammates, most notably juniors Freddie Reitz (Ellicott City, Md./Howard), Evan Roseberry (Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson) and P.J. Sterba (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson), as well as seniors Joey Sementelli (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) and tri-captain Adam Eiben (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin). Sophomores Matt Mattingly (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill West), Rasmus Kutt (Tallinn, Estonia/Gustav Adolf Gymnasium), and Zach Vonder Haar (Gahanna, Ohio/Columbus Academy) and junior Milos Djukic (Novi Sad, Serbia & Montenegro/Svetozar Markovic) will lead the Retrievers in the sprints, after three of the four (Kutt, Vonder Haar, Djukic) placed in the top-16 at the conference meet. Returning school-record holder and senior tri-captain Scott Auchter (Wernersville, Pa./Wilson) will be a leader coming off two silver medals at the 2007 championships in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke.

The Binghamton Bearcats return 20 letterwinners from last year, highlighted by top returnee junior Brenno Varanda (St. Petersburg, Fla.), a two-time defending America East 200 yard breastroke and 400 yard IM champion. Junior sprinter Brian Koralewski (Floral Park, N.Y.) recorded three top-six finishes in the 50-, 100-, and 200-yard freestyle events and was a part of two record-setting relay wins at the conference meet. Juniors Sean Lorenz (Norwich, N.Y.), Andrew Palumbo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), and Peter Rodrick (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) all scored big for the Bearcats at the 2007 conference meet, each registering multiple top-10 finishes. Classmate Michael Popper (Lido Beach, N.Y.) is also expected to contribute in the sprint events. The senior trio of Michael Britvan (Pleasantville, N.Y.), Dylan Hobe (New Windsor, N.Y.), and Bryan Kwiatkowski (Garnerville, N.Y.) will be counted on to provide leadership and experience as Binghamton’s tri-captains.

Boston University will be led by sophomore Arik Seiler (Portland, Maine) who earned a third-place finish in the 100 yard freestyle, swimming a lifetime-best of 46.85. He was also a part of the fourth-place men’s 200 yard freestyle relay. In the 1650 yard freestyle race, sophomore Ben Kaiser (Barrington, R.I./Barrington) was Boston U.’s top finisher in fourth-place. In the 200 yard backstroke, sophomore Kyle Berg (Hyde Park, N.Y./F.D. Roosevelt) and senior Gordon Allan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Palmer) placed 8th and 14th respectively.

Stony Brook will look to seniors Alex Kissel (Amityville, N.Y.St. John the Baptist), Matt Descovich (Plainview, N.Y.Plainview High School), Dan Piastuck (Holbrook, N.Y.Sachem) and junior Omer Ozcan (Brooklyn, N.Y.James Madison) who each finished in the top-16 in the 100-yard freestyle at conference championships. The Seawolves will also rely on junior Raphael Labour (New York City, N.Y./Beacon) who finished fourth in the 200-yard backstroke and sophomore Ray Sato (Eastchester, N.Y.Tuckahoe) who finished top-16 in the event.

The Maine Blackbears return two of their four top-16 distance finishers Brendan Amy (South Portland, Maine) and Jamison Young (Richboro, Pa.). In the 200 yard backstroke, Tyler Isherwood (Holden, Maine), Jamison Young, Kevin Staples (Mt. Desert, Maine) and Brendan Amy will look to earn top-16 finishes as well. Cully Wakelin (Biddeford, Maine) will return after his ninth-place finish in the 100 yard freestyle last year. The Blackbears will rely heavily on junior Nathan Richard (Vergennes, Vt.) in the sprint and breaststroke events after breaking a school record and earning a third-place finish in the 200 yard breastroke at conference championships.

The 2008 America East Conference Swimming & Diving Championships will be held on February 14-17 at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine.