As the weather starts to cool outside, the pool within the Athletics-Recreation Center is just beginning to warm up as Valparaiso University’s men’s swim team jumps into the 2011-2012 season. The Crusaders welcome back 12 returnees and bring with them nine freshmen.
With a sixth place finish at the Horizon League championships in the 2010-2011 season, the Brown and Gold are ready to move up in this year’s standings.
Four seniors lead this year’s squad. Austin Hunter is a versatile athlete competing in the freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events. Hunter made the all-time list his rookie year, placing sixth in the 100 back and seventh in the 200 back. He returned his sophomore year to make the fifth top mark in the 100 fly. His teammate and fellow senior Thomas Patrick will also be competing in the freestyle and butterfly events this year.
Russell Deghi and Trevor Trimpe were a part of the 200 medley relay with Hunter last year. Deghi also posted the 10th fastest mark in the 50 and 100 free last season. Trimpe posted the fifth top mark ever in the 200 breaststroke and ninth in the 100 during his junior year, while the year before he swam the fourth fastest time for Valpo in the 500 free.
Guillermo Aguilar is one of three juniors to return this season. Aguilar made top marks in Valpo’s record book last season, placing fifth in the 200 fly and eighth in the 100. He returns to compete in these same events for the Brown and Gold.
Kevin Fedde returns for his junior year after having made Valpo’s all-time record book his rookie season. Fedde ranks second on the all-time list in the 1000 yard freestyle and fourth in the mile. He will joing classmate Steve Booth will also be competing in the freestyle events this season for the Crusaders.
Travis Simmons and red-shirt sophomore Chris Rudolf are two of the five sophomores who got their first taste of collegiate swimming on last year’s squad. They return this season looking to contribute even more in the freestyle events for the Brown and Gold. Rudolf will also be adding depth for Valpo in the butterfly events. Fellow sophomore Alex Harris will return in the spring semester to swim freestyle for the Crusaders after he completes his travels studying abroad in China.
Sophomore Ian Jones swam a personal best at the Horizon League championships last season in the 100 fly. Jones returns to compete in the fly and individual medley events for the Brown and Gold this year. Also returning as a sophomore is Tate Wegehaupt. Wegehaupt will be competing in the breaststroke where he posted a pair of top-seven marks last year
Nine true freshmen prepare for their first year as Crusaders. Matthew King placed third in the 100 backstroke at OKAW Valley Sectionals in 2011. He currently holds the 200 and 500 freestyle records for Clinton High School and will be competing in free events for Valpo this season. Fellow freshmen Zach Christenson and Steven Parker will also be competing in freestyle events for the Crusaders. In addition, Parker is looking to make an impact in the backstroke events.
Freestyler Kyle Braun was the Fox Valley Conference champion in four events last year and a two-year Illinois state qualifier. Fellow freestyler William Mathe made the 2010 and 2011 YMCA long course national team. Their teammates Fernando Aguilar and Phil May will also be competing in freestyle events for the Brown and Gold this season.
Jacob Meines will be adding depth this year for the Crusaders in the breaststroke events along with his teammate Patrick Sandness. Sandness made the Independent conference team the past four years and placed third in the 50 yard freestyle at All Conference in 2011. In addition to breaststroke, he will also be competing in freestyle events this season.
The season opens on October 2nd as the Crusaders head to Fishers, Ind. to take on five others in the opening meet. They
are also scheduled to compete in several invitationals over the course of this season, including Indiana Intercollegiates, Coers, and Calvin Invitationals.
The Brown and Gold welcome Butler and Monmouth to the Athletics-Recreation Center pool on January 28 for the only home meet of the season. The Crusaders will finish their season at the Horizon League Championships in Milwaukee, Wis. in late February.
The 2011-2012 season proves to be exciting as the abundant upperclassmen return to lead the youthful coalition of swimmers. It looks to be a prosperous season for the Crusaders as they take on the Horizon League.