Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Valpo returns for the 2005-2006 swimming and diving season looking to improve upon a third-place finish in the Mid-Continent Conference and to continue breaking school records.
Head coach Bryan Morrison brings in seven newcomers in his second season at the helm. In addition, six swimmers return from a team that finished 3-7 in dual meets.
Among the returnees are two second-team All Mid-Con swimmers from 2004. Senior Leah Schneider had team-best times in the 100 freestyle and 200 butterfly last season. She also sits in Valpo's all-time top-five in the 100 free, 100 butterfly, and the 200 butterfly. In addition, Schneider anchored the record-breaking 200 free relay and 800 free relay teams last season.
Junior Amanda Gregory also received all-conference honors last year after finishing among Valpo's fastest swimmers in multiple freestyle events. Gregory's 200 free time places her fifth on Valpo's all-time chart, while her times in the 50, 100, and 500 free were among the top-10 in school history. Gregory also was a member of the record-breaking 200 and 800 free relay teams.
Rachel Korellis returns for her second season as a member of the Valpo free lineup. Korellis posted the best 50 free time of any Crusader last season, placing seventh on the all-time list, while also swimming as part of the record-setting 200 free relay. Heather Benson also returns for her second year, adding good depth to the Crusader free lineup.
The freestyle lineup also finds some newcomers hoping to make an impact. Susie Stachniak, Tina Vande Vusse, Patricia Kloth, and Katy Eelma add to the depth of the Crusader squad. Vande Vusse will swim alongside Schneider in the butterfly as well.
Returning in the backstroke for Valpo is junior Katie Jajtner. Jajtner comes into this season having top-five all-time times in both the 100 and the 200 back. Joining Jajtner in swimming back events are Eelma and Kloth, as well as freshman Heather Dueball.
Shannon McDonald enters her senior season having seen action in a variety of events over her career with the Crusaders. She looks to specialize in the individual medley this year. Also swimming the IM will be freshman Leah Parker, who also will see action in the breaststroke events for Valpo.
The Crusaders' schedule is designed to prepare the squad for the Mid-Continent Conference Championships, to be held February 16-18 in Indianapolis, Ind. The season kicks off October 7 at the Dennis Stark Relays, hosted by Notre Dame. Valpo will be competing at three other invitationals during the season, at Eastern Illinois, at Ball State, and at IUPUI.
In addition, the Brown and Gold will be traveling to numerous dual and triangular meets throughout the Midwest. Valpo will also take a trip to compete in a dual meet at Florida Southern, as well as hosting two dual meets during the season. Valpo will take on Cleveland State at the ARC January 20, and also compete January 21 at the ARC versus Eastern Illinois.