Making a Splash in 2004-05

The 2004-05 men's swimming team will be talented and deep, with blasts of youth, enthusiasm and energy. With potential EISL finalists in virtually every event, the Quakers look to break back into the top half of the league this season.

This season's squad returns 22 varsity letterwinners, which includes 15 EISL championship scorers and one NCAA consideration qualifier. With the addition of an extremely talented recruiting class, this year's team is being touted as “having the potential to be one of our best ever,” Head Coach Michael Schnur said.

The 2004-05 team will be led by an outstanding butterfly group which is one of the deepest and best fly groups on the east coast and will challenge for league supremacy in the 200 fly. Leading the way will be junior Pat Maloney, who finished second in the 200 fly as a sophomore last season. His time of 1:47.9 qualified for NCAA consideration and was ranked in the top 50 in the country. Joining him will be sophomore Joe Griffith, who finished seventh at the 2004 EISL's with a solid 1:49.8, and classmate Jason McGrath, who finished 15th in 1:51.4. Junior JT Heffernan adds great depth to this event as well with a best time of 1:53.0. The fly group will also be bolstered by the addition of talented incoming freshmen Devon Carr and Alex Keeney, who boast best times of 1:52.0 and 1:55.0, respectively.

Schnur recognizes their contribution, “We consistently look to the strength and dedication of our fly group to win meets.”

The distance program will be the deepest and strongest in team history. Leading the way will be junior Matt Blaszko, a dual-event finalist at the 2004 EISL Championships, who has best times of 9:24 and 15:50 in the 1000 and 1650 freestyles. Joining Blaszko are senior tri-captain Chris Perez (4:33, 9:27, 15:57), senior tri-captain Brian Funk (4:33, 9:30, 15:54), McGrath (4:34, 9:28) and sophomore Andrew Mendelsohn (4:41, 9:37, 16:05).
“The tremendous depth we have in the distance events, aided by incoming freshman Devon Carr (4:34, 9:30) and Pat Gallgher (1:40, 4:36, 9:33), will be heavily relied upon all year to carry us through the dual meet season,” Schnur commented.

The backstroke chores will be handled this season by juniors Neville Mitchell(52, 1:51) and Maloney(1:51), sophomore Teddy Rainaud (51.9, 1:52) and freshmen Brian Gartner (51.7, 1:53), Gallagher (52, 1:53) and Chris Weitekamp (52.0). All three rookies are expected to concentrate on the 100 back, while Maloney, Mitchell, and Gallagher will be looked upon to carry the 200 back group to many 1-2-3 finishes.

Leading the way in breaststroke will be juniors Jon Kaufman (57.3, 2:07) and Blaszko (59, 2:05). Both are EISL consolation finalists who will be looking to make finals this coming season. Senior tri-captain Patrick Brugh (1:00) and sophomores Alex Silvester (58.8) and Tanner Burke will also contribute in both breaststroke events. The Quakers’ lone freshman breaststroker, Yuchi Zhang (59,2:08), will be heavily relied upon to help score in each meet.

“Our breaststrokers are driven and focused,” says Schnur. “We place much of our success on their accomplishments.”

The Penn sprint group will be relying on a small but speedy crew this year. Leading the way will be junior Kevin Scott, one of Penn’s best relays swimmers, who has split 20.4 and 45.4. The sprint group will also include junior Tim Howett (20.8, 46.5 splits) and sophomore Steve Heyer (46.5, 1:42.0). The sprinters will be aided tremendously by an outstanding group of freshmen who will be heavily relied on to help lead the way. Gallagher has split 20.6 and 45.1, Weitekamp has split 45.8 and David Bohman boasts best times of 21.5 and 47.0. Also helping in sprint free and fly events will be freshmen Allen Su and Sam Taylor.

Between individual events and relay points, our sprinters help carry the team unparalleled enthusiasm and energy emanates from this group daily, at practice and especially at meets,” said Schnur.

The individual medley events will again be a strong point for Penn. Maloney (1:52, 3:58) and Heffernan (1:55, 4:06) will lead the way along with sophomores Alex Silvester (1:57) and Brandon Thompson (1:56, 4:06). Freshmen Weitekamp (1:55) and Yuchi Zhang (1:57) will also contribute.

Leading the way for the Quakers on the diving boards this year will be junior Tyler Markman, a four-time EISL consolation finalist and three-time Massachusetts state finalist. Joining Tyler will be sophomore Nick Corsano and senior Guillermo Marx, who will look to move up the league rankings after making tremendous improvements as a junior last season.

“Through hard word and dedication, our diving program is becoming one of our strengths. Our divers contribute significantly at dual meets and championships,” said Schnur.

With depth and power in every event, the Quakers will have many exciting meets this season, and will look to continue climbing the league and national rankings.