Senior led swim team looks to make a big splash this season

Senior led swim team looks to make a big splash this season

SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's and women's swimming teams are back in the water and beginning preparations for the approaching 2016-17 season. The Sea Gulls return a loaded senior class that will look to continue to add to the accolades they accumulated from the 2015-16. Salisbury has added 15 new swimmers to the nest, but will rely on the senior class to lead the team and set the stage for the upcoming season.

Head Coach Jill Stephenson is looking forward to both teams competing this season and improving their position in the Capital Athletic Conference. Stephenson saw her programs earn a second and third place finish at the CAC Championships last year.

"I haven't been this excited for a season to start in a long time," said Stephenson. "We are going to see good things out of this bunch this year. The talent we have and the excitement that the new swimmers have brought in, it's a real exciting time for us."

Men's Team

The men's squad finished in second last season but will look to rebound led by its five seniors. Okan Eyigor, Jake Blazer, Travis Maida, Bill James, Scott Schirmer and Kevin Drury all look to add their marks to the Salisbury swimming legacy and capture the CAC Championship. 

Eyigor returns for his final season after an incredible junior year for Salisbury as he earned 11 first place honors and 12 top three finishes for the Sea Gulls. Last season Eyigor collected an All-CAC honors as well as a Second Team All-CAC selection for Salisbury.

"Eyigor has been a great swimmer for us, he will be hard to replace after this year," Stephenson said.

Okan earned first place honors in 11 events last season, while capturing eight second place finishes, and four third place finishes. Madia claimed only one first place finish but totaled seven top three finishes during the regular season. 

Blazer earned first place honors in seven events while Tyler Maggio captured the honors of becoming the number one breaststroke swimmer as a freshman.

"All of our seniors have been solid for us over the past four years. Overall, the guys team is a group of solid swimmers, no matter which event we are talking about, we have a great group all the way through." Stephenson stated.

Women's Team

The women's team returns a talented senior class led by Layne Gable, Claudia Guay and Victoria Radcliffe who look to improve on their third place finish from last year.

Radcliffe led the team last year with 13 first-place finishes and set a school record in the 200-yd breaststroke posting a time of 2:25.72 which earned her second-team All-CAC honors.

Gable returns looking to improve on her junior season where she earned seven first place finishes and 10 top three finishes for the Sea Gulls. Gable was also part of the relay team that set a school record in the 400-yd medley relay with a time of 4:07.01, a performance which earned her a Second-Team All-CAC selection. For the season she placed first on seven occasions while combining for 17 top three finishes. 

Guay earned two first place finishes capturing eight top three performances overall.

Coach Stephenson will also rely on dominant underclass swimmers like Bizu Baldinazzo, Hannah Schlegel and Madison Tinus, that combined for 53 top three finishes last year.

"We expect big things from our underclassmen, especially Baldinazzo, Schlegel, Tinus, freshmen Angela Barzanti, and Emma Tarnosky, who have already made great strides this far" continued Stephenson.

Schedule

The Sea Gulls have another tough schedule this year, opening the season on October 22 at The Catholic University of America. They will then travel to York College of Pennsylvania on, Saturday, October 29.

Salisbury will return to the nest for their next three meets of the season. The Sea Gulls will host Frostburg State University on November 5, Washington College on November 9, Penn-State University Altoona and Barton College on November 12 and 19 respectively.

Following the winter break, the Sea Gulls will embark on a four meet road trip. They will square off against Widener University, McDaniel College and Marymount University (Va.) before finishing the long road stint against Mary Washington College on January 20th. Salisbury will return home for the last game of the season as they take on St. Mary's College of Md. on January 28.

"Every team we swim is going to challenge us," stated Stephenson. "Our biggest challenge will be keeping everyone healthy and get enough times on everybody to prepare them for champs."

The CAC Championship will be held at St. Mary's on February 17 through the 19th.

"The talent we have coming back, mixed with the excitement that the new swimmers brought in, it's really exciting."

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