CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— The five America East coaches selected the UMBC men’s swimming & diving team as preseason favorite to win its eighth-straight America East Championship. The Retrievers received three first-place votes and 15 points overall to earn the top spot, just ahead of Boston University, which took two first-place votes and 14 points total.
Binghamton University comes in at the third spot, with 10 points. The Bearcats are followed by Stony Brook University, with seven points, and University of Maine, with four points.
UMBC looks to continue its string of dominance in the pool as it starts 2010-11 in the hunt for its eighth consecutive America East swimming & diving championship. The Retrievers return seniors Eric Jones (Gambrills, Md./Arundel) and Brad Reitz (Ellicott City, Md./Howard). At the 2010 America East Championship, Jones won the 200-yard freestyle. Reitz is the three-time defending conference champion in the 200-yard butterfly. UMBC also returns all four members of its 800-yard freestyle relay team. Reitz and Jones were joined on that team by senior Keilan Freeman (Calgary, Alberta, Canada/Argyll Centre) and sophomore Herol Marjak (Harjumaa, Estonia/Tallinn Sec Science School). In diving, the Retrievers look to sophomore Andrew Eckhoff (Chelmsford, Mass/Chelmsford). As a freshman, Eckhoff finished second in the three-meter dive and fourth in the one-meter dive. UMBC adds eight newcomers to the squad, including seven freshmen and one sophomore transfer.
Boston University is hot on the heels of the Retrievers, finishing second at the 2010 America East Championship, and is looking to end the Retrievers’ streak. The Terriers bring back four swimmers who won individual America East titles last season. Those four swimmers have combined to win seven individual America East titles in their careers. Among them is senior Matthew Rickett, two-time defending champion in the 100-yard butterfly and the 2009 winner of the 50-yard freestyle. They also return senior diver Tanner Knorr (San Diego, Calif./Valhalla), who won both the one-meter and three-meter events on his way to being named the Outstanding Diver of the meet at the 2010 championship.
Binghamton, which finished third at last year’s America East Championship, is selected to finish third once again this season. The Bearcats will look to the team’s most valuable swimmer from last season, junior Nolan Slesnick (Austin, T.X./LBJ-LASA), to lead them once again. Slesnick, a distance swimmer, won the 1650-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley as a freshman in 2009. He finished second and third, respectively, in those events at the 2010 America East championship. The Bearcats also bring back the 500-yard freestyle champion in sophomore David Gleason (New York, N.Y./Robert Louis Stevenson). Diving will also be key for the Bearcats. They return sophomore Anthony Foiles (Pomona, N.Y./North Rockland), who last year finished second in the one-meter dive and fourth in the three-meter dive.
Stony Brook looks to improve on its fourth-place finish at last season’s conference meet. To do that, they will lean on senior Lukasz Ochmanski (Lodz, Poland/Kosciuszko Memorial H.S.), who placed third in the 200-yard freestyle at the conference championship. Ochmanski is the only Stony Brook returner to make last season’s America East All-Conference team. He is a three-time all-conference selection.
Maine finished fifth at the 2010 America East Championship meet. The Black Bears will look to move up the rankings this season. To do so, Maine will need the leadership of senior swimmer Jeremy Bender (St. Paul, Minn./Highland Park). Bender swam in the finals of the 200-yard butterfly, 400-yard individual medley and the 1650-yard freestyle.
The swimming & diving season opens on October 8, when UMBC heads to Bucknell for an exhibition meet and Stony Brook competes in a quad meet at Army. Binghamton opens its schedule on October 9 at Buffalo. Boston U. starts competition on October 16 vs. Massachusetts and Maine begins its season on October 23 at Boston U. The 2011 America East Conference Swimming & Diving Championships will be held on February 17-20 at the Germantown Indoor Swim Center, hosted by UMBC. For more information on America East men’s swimming & diving log on to www.AmericaEast.com
2010-11 Preseason Poll
Rank Team (1st-place votes) Total
1. UMBC (3) 15
2. Boston University (2) 14
3. Binghamton 10
4. Stony Brook 7
5. Maine 4