Experience abounds for the Valparaiso University women’s swim team as the Crusaders take to the pool for the 2010-2011 season. Head coach Howard Hunte returns seven swimmers from last year’s squad and has added a transfer and six freshmen to the roster for the upcoming season.
The Crusaders will be looking to move up in the Horizon League standings this season after an eighth place finish a year ago, but have a great deal of upperclass leadership to help the Crusaders obtain that goal.
A quartet of seniors lead the way for the Brown and Gold heading into the season. Amy Andracki holds both of the school’s breaststroke records heading into her final campaign and will again spearhead those events for Valpo. She also has been a member of both medley relays that set school records. Shaunna Dangremond holds the school mark in the 200 individual medley. She also ranks third all-time at Valpo in the 100 backstroke and second in the 200 back, and will look to challenge those marks this year. She also was a member of the record-setting 400 medley relay her sophomore season.
Stephanie Ferschl ranks third on the all-time list in the mile for the Crusaders and will lead the distance corps this year. She also ranks among the top-five in the 1000 free, and will try to lower her times even more this year. The final senior, Laura Rickey, also is a freestyler. Swimming the sprint events, she was among the top-three fastest Crusaders in the 50, 100, and 200 a year ago.
Three sophomores return for year two with the Brown and Gold. Justine Barnes posted the second fastest 200 butterfly time ever at Valpo in her rookie season, and will look to break the school record in year two. Sarah Robertson moved into the top-10 all-time in the 100 breaststroke during her freshman season, while just missing the top-10 in the 200. She also competed in both individual medleys while Erin Owen swam the 100 breast in her rookie season in addition to sprint freestyle events.
Natalie Jarrett joins the Valpo roster this season after transferring to the Crusader program from IUPUI. The individual medley specialist has two years of eligibility remaining. She was the Jaguars’ Most Valuable Swimmer as a freshman, and will look to make an impact with the Brown and Gold.
Six true freshmen will look to make a difference for the Crusaders this year as well. Brittany Bencur was a state qualifier for Lake Central High School in Indiana and will compete in the freestyle for the Crusaders as well Andrea Bretl, who finished 14th in the state of Wisconsin in the 500 freestyle a year ago.
Helen Dolley was a four-time All-Southwest Michigan Conference selection and will also add depth in the freestyle along with Katie Meunier. Katrina Peters and Alizabeth Taubert will compete for Valpo in the breaststroke along with freestyle events this year as well. Taubert was an alternate for the state championships in Illinois each of the last two years.
The season opens on October 3 as the Crusaders head to Indianapolis, Ind. for a quadrangular meet with Saint Louis, IUPUI, and Evansville. Valpo will compete in several invitationals this season, including relay meets at Notre Dame and Ball State. The Purdue Invitational as well as the Calvin Invitational also highlight the slate.
The dual meet season opens October 16 against Milwaukee at the Athletics-Recreation Center pool, where the Brown and Gold will host five meets this year. Cleveland State, Green Bay, UIC, and IUPUI will also visit Valparaiso this season.
With a combination of seven newcomers and seven returnees, including four seniors, hopes are high for the Crusaders entering 2010-2011. Several school records may be in jeopardy as the Brown and Gold look to move up in the Horizon League.