Swimming Season Preview
Oct. 1, 2004
The Washington men's swimming team is coming off its best season in decades as five swimmers advanced to the NCAA Championships and combined for a 25th place finish- the program's best in nearly 30 years. Leading the way for the men was senior Phil Davis who won Pac-10 titles in the 100 and 200 breaststroke in school record times. His time in the 200 breaststroke also set a Pac-10 record.
'We had a very successful men's season last year,' said head coach Mickey Wender. 'In a lot of ways it was a culmination of my first phase here at Washington. I started with a four-year plan and when the program was discontinued, I made another four-year plan, which ended last spring with a 25th place finish at nationals.'
The women's team placed eighth at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships and sent two women to the NCAA Championships. The Huskies broke four school records with Desiree Johnson setting the record in the 100 backstroke and Sharon Olson setting records in the 500 free, 1000 free and 200 IM.
'We had a very young women's team last year,' said Wender. 'We return almost everybody for this season, and from what I've observed through the spring and summer, they are ready to take it to another level and really step things up.'
'Our captains have a lot of experience and they know what is most important about Husky swimming,' said Wender. 'They get it, they understand the process and how our system works. They are great facilitators of relationships and they are good at building trust within these relationships on the team. They will be role models and will make great captains.'
Joining the Washington swimming teams are a host of talented newcomers. Coach Wender and his assistants have brought in a solid recruiting class that includes 12 freshmen men and eight freshmen women.
'These are by far the best classes that we have ever brought into Washington,' said Wender. 'It is gratifying to know that we are attracting the level of athletes now that never would have looked at us in years past.'
Heading into the 2004-05 season, Wender has a list of goals to make for successful 2004-05 campaign.
'I want to have both teams ranked in the top 25,' said Wender. 'I want to break 20 school records-- 10 on the men's side and 10 on the women's-- and have 90 percent of our seniors achieve lifetime bests at the Pac-10 Championships.'
Wender also points out that many of his goals go beyond the pool and focus on team building and the nurturing of the Husky family.
'I want to create, as always, an environment of love, trust and friendship, where people are working together to create something very special,' said Wender. 'The most unique thing about Husky swimming is the family atmosphere we create and the way we care about each other. These athletes live together and work together and I truly believe we have a group of people that are living the lives of champions. They are willing to do the little things that it takes to be extraordinary. Yes, we are striving to set best times, school records and qualifying swims, but that is a by product of the relationships we build and the level of accountability we hold ourselves and the team to.'
Washington's men's team will rely on its youth in the sprint freestyle as its top three swimmers are newcomers. Bruno Barbic headlines this list with a converted time of 19:85. Barbic, a native of Zagreb, Croatia, narrowly missed out on the 2004 Olympic Games, despite posting Croatia's third fastest time in the 100 freestyle. Wender expects big things from Bruno this season and believes that he is Washington's best shot at advancing a freshman to the NCAA Championships.
'Bruno is the first swimmer we have ever brought in who's a potential NCAA qualifier out of high school,' said Wender. 'He is a very, very talented swimmer who has performed at a high level already in his career. We can expect great things from him.'
Newcomers Ivan Perhart and Brenton Dowdy are second and third on the Husky depth chart with times of 21.29 and 21.37, respectively. Perhart, a Croatian national, moved to San Pedro, Calif., for his junior year of high school and will room with Barbic. Dowdy, a native of La Grande, Ore., has limited organized swimming experience but has produced some fast times under the direction of his mother who has served as his coach.
Barbic and freshman Peter Wicklund rank one and two in the 100 freestyle, followed by senior Lorant Divald. Last season, Divald posted Washington's third-fastest time and holds a personal best time of 45.90 in the event.
Divald is the fastest swimmer in mid-distance freestyle events with times of 1:38.19 in the 200 freestyle and 4:24.81 in the 500 freestyle. He ranks fourth on the Husky all-time chart in the 200 free and seventh in the 500 free.
Senior Wolfe and Dowdy are also expected to swim this event. Wolfe is Washington's No. 2 swimmer in the 500 freestyle, posting the team's third-fastest time of the season last year and placing 19th at the Pac-10 Championships. He also ranks 10th on the Huskies' all-time chart in the event.
Washington's distance events are an area of weakness for the Huskies, but Wender will look to his upperclassmen to step in and train hard to fill those spots. The only solidified spot in the 1000 and mile races belongs to senior Kevin Quinn. Quinn swam the team's second-fastest times of the season last year in the 1000 and 1650 freestyle and owns personal best marks of 9:25.17 and 15:35.90 in those events. He ranks 10th on the UW all-time chart in the 1650.
Washington will look to veterans Bezerra, Kurt Hardesty and Wolfe to lead the backstroke corps, along with Wicklund. Wicklund tops Washington's depth chart in the 100 backstroke with a time of 50.30, followed by Hardesty and Bezerra. Hardesty ranks sixth all-time on the UW charts, while Bezerra ranks eighth.
The same three lead the 200 back depth chart with Bezerra's 1:48.42 topping the list, while Wolfe picks up the No. 4 slot.
Last season, Bezerra placed 11th in the 100 backstroke at the Pac-10 Championships, to rank third on the Husky all-time list. Hardesty placed 15th in the 100 back, while Wolfe placed 13th at the Pac-10's in the 200 backstroke.
UW will have to replace All-Americans Phil Davis and Luke Ekhoff in the breaststroke events. Newcomer Jake Salaz, a native of Troutdale, Ore., is Washington's fastest swimmer in the breaststroke races with converted times of 56.22 in the 100 breaststroke and 2:02.83 in the 200 breaststroke.
Freshman Pat Penoyar is second on the Husky depth chart in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.01, while senior Cameron Barclift is UW's second-fastest swimmer in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:08.05.
Junior Ryan Kastl ranks third in both breaststroke events with times of 58.10 and 2:08.14 in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, respectively.
The Huskies lost All-Americans Justin Adrian and Derek Rose to graduation. Adrian and Rose rank one-two on the Husky all-time chart in the 100 race and it will be up to veterans Osborne and senior Craig Gillis to pick up the slack. Newcomers Wicklund, Bret Lundgaard and Mason Amick should also swim this stroke.
Osborne is Washington's top returner in both of the butterfly events as he posted the second-fastest time of the season in the 200 fly and third-fastest in the 100 fly. He posted a 16th place finish in the 100 fly at the Pac-10 Championships to rank sixth on the UW all-time list.
Gillis ranks second on the UW depth chart in the 200 fly and third in the 100 fly behind Wicklund. Lundgaard is the fastest swimmer on the Husky roster in the 200 fly with a time of 1:51.21, while Amick comes in third.
Gillis and Barclift will headline the Washington individual medley swimmers along with newcomers Lundgaard, Hundson and Amick.
Gillis holds the top times in both the 200 and 400 IM races with times of 1:51.55 and 3:59.95, respectively. Both times are just out of the Husky top 10 lists.
Lundgaard ranks second in the 200 IM (1:52.34), followed by Barclift (1:54.80) and Hudson (1:55.29).
Amick holds on to the No. 2 spot on the 400 IM depth chart with a time of 4:03.58, followed by Hudson (4:05.09) and Lundgaard (4:05.71).
The Washington women's team returns a stacked sprint freestyle line-up, including five athletes that rank among the UW's all-time top 10 in the 50 freestyle. Even with all that speed returning, it is newcomer Rachel Seely that enters the 2004-05 season with the No 1 slot on the depth chart with a time of 23.54.
Brittany Epperson ranks fifth on the UW all-time charts (23.68) in the 50 free, despite battling mononucleosis last year. She is followed by No. 6 Olson (23.69), No. 7 Annette Vayo (23.76), No. 8 Liya Liu (23.79) and No. 9 Johnson (23.80).
The Huskies are also deep in the 100 freestyle, with Olson leading the way with the third-fastest time in UW history (50.89). Liu ranks fourth all-time (51.07), while Johnson ranks seventh (51.75) and Seely's personal best of 51.53 puts her in the third slot on the depth chart.
Olson and Liu headline the 200 freestylers, ranking No. 2 and No. 4 respectively on the Husky all-time list. Olson posted the team's fastest time of the season last year (1:48.34), followed by Liu (1:50.55) and Epperson (1:53.23). Newcomer Rebecca Rogers is also expected to contribute to the middle distance events with a personal-best time of 1:51.18 in the 200 free.
Washington returns three of its four top swimmers in the 500 freestyle, led by Olson who owns the school record (4:51.71). Nicole Bernard (5:00.09) and Hannah Jo (5:00.38 will contribute in the event, as will Rogers.
Olson is also UW's fastest swimmer in the 1000 and mile races and set the school record in the 1000 freestyle last year. Jo's top time in the 1000 is just one second out of the top 10, while Courtney Hentzen will compete in the distance events for the Huskies.
The Huskies return four swimmers that rank among the school's elite in the backstroke events, including Johnson, who set the school record with a split time of 55.06 in the 400 medley relay at the Pac-10 Championships last year.
UW also returns Bernard who ranks second all-time in the 200 backstroke with a sixth place finish at Pac-10s. She also placed 14th in the 100 backstroke to rank sixth on the UW all-time list.
Vayo also ranks on both the 100 and 200 backstroke top 10 lists, holding the No. 3 spot in the 200 back and the No. 7 spot in the 100 backstroke.
Abby Hutton ranks fifth all-time in the 200 backstroke and 10th in the 100 backstroke, recording both times at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships.
The Huskies also welcome newcomer Mary Patterson to the team. Patterson holds the fourth-fastest time on the UW depth chart in the 100 back.
Youth will be Washington's strength in the breaststroke events as freshmen Jessica Buchanan and Caitlyn Shortt top the Husky depth chart. Buchanan holds the fast time in the 100 event with a converted mark of 1:03.86, while Shortt is second with a time of 1:04.28. Both times are fast enough to enter the Husky top 10 list.
Shortt holds the top time in the 200 breaststroke (2:15.24), while Buchanan's converted mark of 2:16.93 places her second. Those times would rank second and third on Washington's all-time list.
Kloos is Washington's top returner in the breaststroke events with a 19th place finish at Pac-10s in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.98) and the team's fastest time of the season in the 200 breaststroke (2:18.45).
Other swimmers that are expected to contribute in the breaststroke events include Jo, and Maggie Bever.
While the youngsters anchor the breaststroke events, it is the veterans who will carry most of the butterfly load. Johnson is Washington's top returner in the 100 fly and she ranks third on the UW all-time list with a time of 56.08. Anissa Hilyard posted the Huskies' fastest time of the season last year in the 200 butterfly (2:00.52) and ranks third on the UW top 10 list, while she ranks fifth in the 100 butterfly (56.40)
Casey Sherfey posted Washington's third-fastest time last year in the 200 fly (2:04.96) and she ranks ninth on the school's all-time list in the 100 butterfly (57.00)
Blythe Murray, Jo and Liu may also swim the butterfly events for the Huskies.
Coach Wender will look to veteran Olson and newcomer Shortt to lead the IM charge this season. Olson set a Husky record in the 200 IM last season with a time of 2:01.42 and finished eighth at the Pac-10 Championships (2:03.87). Shortt placed 18th in the event at the 2004 Olympic Trials, and her time of 2:02.70 would place her third on the UW top 10 list. Jo will add experience to the line-up, having competed in the 200 IM at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships.
Shortt has the Huskies' fastest time in the 400 IM (4:21.97), followed closely by Jo. Jo swam Washington's fourth-fastest time last year in the 400 IM (4:21.98) at the SMU Classic. Olson ranks sixth on the UW top 10 list, after posting a time of 4:22.68 at the Big West Shootout.
Kloos and Hilyard, may also some time in the IM events this season.