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Men's And Women's Swimming Kick Off Season At Holy Cross Wednesday

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 28 - The Springfield College men's and women's swimming & diving teams will travel to Worcester, Mass. on Wednesday to kick off the 2003-2004 season versus Holy Cross. Both teams are eager to pick up where they left off last winter, when both squads enjoys stellar seasons.

After winning its third-consecutive New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title and finishing 15th at the NCAA Division III Championship last season, the women look to be even better this winter. With a team made up of an outstanding senior class, two All-Americans, and eight national qualifiers, the Pride looks to win its fourth-straight conference championship and continue its success at the NCAA Championship.

“On paper, we are as strong as we have ever been,” said head coach John Taffe. “The work ethic and leadership of our senior class has brought us back to our status as a national-level program over the past three seasons.”

Junior Megan Skinner (Acton, Mass.) returns after a record-setting sophomore campaign that saw her earn second and third career All-America honors, set six conference records and seven school records. The two-time NEWMAC Swimmer of the Year finished third in the 200-yard backstroke and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke at the NCAA Championship, while winning three individual titles and swimming on three victorious relays at the NEWMAC Championship.

Skinner is one of eight returning national qualifiers. Seniors Jessica Defoe (Monson, Mass.), MaryBeth Kuliga (Sanford, Maine), and Beth Byron (Haverhill, Mass.), along with sophomores Alicia Hart (West Hartford, Conn.), Emily Phillips (North Windham, Maine) and Sarah Strout (Edgecomb, Maine), the conference champion in the 1,650 freestyle, all met national qualifying standards in 2003 and will look for similar success this season. Other returning contributors include seniors Claire Mueller (Newburgh, N.Y.) and Kathryn VanDerBeken (Manchester, N.H.), along with junior Emily Strout (Edgecomb, Maine).

Despite the graduation of eight-time All-American diver Alison Mellage, diving coach Peter Avdoulos is excited about the upcoming season. Led by sophomore Lacey Feduke (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), an honorable-mention All-American after an 11th-place finish on the one-meter board at the 2003 NCAA Championship, SC will look to senior Andrea Babcock (Wayland, Mass.), sophomore Sara Tremblay (Agawam, Mass.) and freshman Melissa Pond (Wayland, Mass.) to keep the Pride’s strong diving tradition alive.

On the men's side, with several national qualifiers returning, and what Taffe calls “one of the best recruiting classes in recent years,” the Pride is poised to improve upon its 16th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Championship last winter.

Sophomore All-American Mike Shaw (Westfield, Mass.), the 2003 NEWMAC diver of the year, swept the one- and three-meter dives at the conference championship. At the NCAA Championship, he dove to third-place on the three-meter board, and sixth on the one-meter.

Junior Louis Arruda (West Warwick, R.I.), the 2002 NEWMAC swimmer of the year, swam the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, and the 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA Championship. He also won the 200 freestyle and swam legs on the victorious 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays at the 2003 NEWMAC Championship.

Sophomore Dan Moran (Wilbraham, Mass.) won the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles, and swam a leg on the winning 800-freestyle relay at last season’s NEWMAC Championship. He qualified for nationals in 100- and 200-yard butterfly, and the 500-yard freestyle.

Junior Blake Leshnick (Suffern, N.Y.) was a member of three NEWMAC-champion and NCAA-qualifying relay teams. Junior Jeff Doornweerd (Meriden, Conn.) set the NEWMAC record with his victory in the 50-yard freestyle at the conference meet, while swimming legs on two victorious relays.

Other top returners include junior Tim Ryan (Hatboro, Pa.) (IM, backstroke) and sophomore Ross Craig (Brookfield, Conn.) (distance, butterfly).

Newcomers that will make an immediate impact are Christopher LeCompte (Londonderry, N.H.) (free, fly), Ryan Mahoney (Westford, Mass.), Kyle Vetter (Dewitt, N.Y.) and Nick DeBolli (Plainvielle, Conn.) (breast) and Chet Phillips (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Rob Clark (East Hartford, Conn.) (diving).
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Head Coach John Taffe

John Taffe John Taffe enters his 25th season in 2013-2014 as the head coach of the men's and women's swimming teams at Springfield College. Under Taffe’s leadership, the Pride has returned to its status as one of the best collegiate swimming and diving programs in Division III.Read more.

Contact Head Coach John Taffe

E-Mail | Phone: 413.748.3169

Diving Coach Peter Avdoulos

Peter Avdoulos Peter Avdoulos is regarded as one of the top diving coaches in the nation, and is entering his 29th season as the diving coach for both the men's and women's programs in 2013-2014. The current NEWMAC Men's and Women's Diving Coach of the Year, Avdoulos has coached countless All-New England and All-American divers, as well as several National Champions. Read more.

Contact Head Coach Peter Avdoulos

E-Mail | Phone: 413.748.3445

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