Men's Swimming Ready to Make a Big Splash in 2003-04

Experience will be the key as Quakers return 30 letterwinners.

Aug. 22, 2003

The 2003-04 men's swimming team is talented, deep and experienced. With four solid classes, the team has ability and power in every event. After achieving its highest EISL Championship finish (fifth) in 15 years in 2003, the Quakers look to continue to improve in 2003-04. This season's squad returns 30 varsity letterwinners, 15 returning EISL championship scorers, two senior national qualifiers and two NCAA consideration qualifiers. With the addition of an extremely talented class of 2007, this year's team has the potential to be one of the best in program history.

Butterfly

The 2003-04 team will be led by an outstanding butterfly group. This is one of the deepest and best fly groups on the East Coast and should challenge for league supremacy in the 200 fly. Leading the way will be sophomore Pat Maloney, who finished fourth in the 200 fly at the league championships as a freshman last season. Maloney's time of 1:48.0 qualified for NCAA consideration and was the fastest of any freshman in the EISL. Joining him will be senior Brendan Lang, a two-time EISL consolation finalist, who boasts a best time of 1:51.0 in the 200 fly, sophomore JT Heffernan and junior Lowell Lamb. The fly group will also be tremendously bolstered by the addition of incoming freshmen Joe Griffith, a two-time Louisiana state champion, and Jason McGrath, who finished fifth at the 2003 YMCA national championships.

Freestyle

The distance squad will be the deepest and strongest in the team's history. Leading the way will be sophomore Matt Blaszko, a three-event consolation finalist at the 2003 EISL Championships, who recorded best times of 9:27 and 15:50 in the 1000 and 1650 freestyles, respectively. A core of talented veterans and newcomers will join Blaszko in the distance events. Returning for the Red and Blue in 2003-04 are juniors Chris Perez (4:33, 9:27, 15:57) and Brian Funk (4:33, 9:30, 15:54), sophomores Mike Andersen (4:35, 9:32, 16:00) and Roman Petruniak (4:39, 9:34, 16:05), and senior captains Shaun Lehrer (4:36, 9:33, 16:07) and Todd Hutchison (4:39, 9:42, 16:04). The tremendous depth in the distance events, aided by incoming freshman Andrew Mendelsohn (4:41, 9:42, 16:08), will be relied upon all year to carry the Quakers through the dual-meet season. The sprint freestyle group will rely on a small but powerful crew this year. Leading the way will be seniors Andrew Trout and Hirschhorn. Trout, the Penn record holder in the 50 free (20.4), has also swam an impressive 45.7 in the 100. Trout won the 50 free six times last season and was a double-event winner in the 50 and 100 free in dual meets against Yale/Dartmouth and Brown. Tri-captain Hirschhorn contributes mightily in the 50 (20.7), 100 (45.7) and 200 (1:40.7) freestyles. He won the 200 free in dual meets against Army and Notre Dame and took fourth in the same event at the Florida Atlantic University Invitational. The sprint group will also include senior Matt Hand and sophomores Tim Howett and Kevin Scott. The sprinters will be aided by talented freshmen Steve Heyer and Dave Nagdeman. Heyer, a two-time Connecticut state champion in the 100 free, will also contribute in the 200, while Nagdeman will concentrate on the 50 and 100.

Backstroke

The backstroke chores will be handled this season by sophomores Neville Mitchell and Jason Oberman, with help from junior Eddie Anderton and freshman Teddy Rainaud. Mitchell, Oberman and Rainaud are all former Connecticut state champions and YMCA national finalists who will give the Quakers great power in both the 100 and 200 events. Mitchell won the 200 back in three different dual meets as a rookie, while Anderton will specialize in the 200 back.

Breaststroke

Leading the way in breaststroke this year will be sophomores Jon Kaufman and Blaszko. Both were EISL consolation finalists as freshman and will be looking to make finals this coming season. Junior Patrick Brugh and sophomores Arty Woodbury and Casey O'Meara will also contribute in both breaststroke events. The freshmen class boasts two solid breaststrokers, who will be heavily relied upon to score points each meet. Newcomer Tanner Burke is a junior national qualifier, who should contribute in both the 100 and the 200 events immediately. Fellow classmate Alex Sylvester (59.0) will concentrate on the 100 breast.

Individual Medley

The individual medley events will again be a strong point for Penn. Maloney (1:54, 3:58), Heffernan (1:55, 4:06), Lang (1:57, 4:04), Lamb (1:54, 4:05), Anderton (1:57, 4:05) and freshman Brandon Thompson (1:56, 4:06) combine to give the Quakers a tremendous IM group. The trio of Maloney, Heffernan and Anderton swept the 200 IM against Navy last year, while Heffernan took top prize against Notre Dame in the same event.

Diving

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

Overall

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

Written by Heather Palmer