UMBC captured three first-place votes to be named the preseason favorite.
UMBC captured three first-place votes to be named the preseason favorite.
Courtesy: America East Communications

UMBC Selected to Win Ninth Consecutive Title

Release: 10/05/2011
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— UMBC won its eighth consecutive America East Conference championship last year and if the men’s swimming and diving coaches are correct, the Retrievers will get number nine this year. UMBC collected three first-place votes and 15 total points to claim the top spot, with Boston University nipping at its heels receiving the other two first-place votes and 14 points overall.

Binghamton University grabs the third spot with 10 points. Maine (6) and Stony Brook (5) round out the poll, in which coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.

Conference supremacy has belonged to  every year since it joined the league back in 2003. The Retrievers will try to continue their string of dominance in the pool led by several 2011 individual champions.
UMBC Junior Pierre De Waal (Pretoria, South Africa/Tuks Sport/Cleveland State), won conference gold in the 500-and 1650-yard freestyles a year ago and will be joined by Most Outstanding Male Rookie in 2011, Johan Rohtla (Tallinn, Estonia/Tallinn Secondary Science), who set a Retriever record in the 200-yard backstroke. In diving, UMBC will once again lean on the services of Andrew Eckhoff (Chelmsford, Mass/Chelmsford). The junior finished second in both the 1-and 3-meter dives and is due to capture conference gold off the board. Six new freshmen will join a squad full of veteran leadership in a quest for another conference title.

Boston U. was just edged out by UMBC in the poll but should be a legitimate threat to knock the Retrievers off their throne. The Terriers will have to cope without the 2011 Male Outstanding Swimmer in Kyle Ernst but will have another senior to step into that role. Daniel Kempf (Austin, Texas/Lyndon Baines Johnson) competed in seven events at last year’s championship and won six of them including the 50-and 100-yard freestyles. He was named honorable mention to the Mid-Major All-America team and will be a force again this year in the pool. Classmate Jackson Hill (Naperville, Ill./Naperville North), joins Kempf as the only remaining members of conference record-holding foursome in the 200-and 400-yard freestyle relay.  

Returning a crew of talented swimmers led by the conference record holder in the 100-yard backstroke, Joe Perez-Rogers, Binghamton came in at the third spot with 10 points. Perez-Rogers set that record at last year’s conference championship and also finished third in the 100-yard freestyle. Fellow all-conference honoree Nolan Slesnick (Austin, Texas) won the 400-yard individual medley and Josh Saccurato (Chappaqua, N.Y.) placed third in the same race last season to also earn all-conference honors. 

Maine grabs the fourth spot in the preseason poll and looks to build on its finish at the championship last season. For the first time since 2006, Maine didn’t place last at the conference championship meet last year. Junior Yuri Chornobil (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) touched the wall in seventh in the 1650-yard freestyle, which was the top Black Bear finish at the conference meet. Brian Landry (Yorktown, Va./Hampton Roads Academy) finished eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke and he is back for his senior season.

A group of 10 freshmen will rejuvinate the Stony Brook men’s swimming and diving team and join a collection of upperclassmen hoping to prove the conference coaches wrong this season. The Seawolves are picked to finish fifth. Senior Sean Conway (Oakdale, N.Y./Connetquot H.S.) earned a ninth-place showing in the 100-yard freestyle last year. Classmate Ed McIntyre (Laurel, N.Y./Mattituck) joined Conway as one half of the foursome that set a Seawolf record in the 400-yard feestyle relay last year.

The America East Championships will be held Feb. 23-26 at the Aquatic Center at Boston University.