The 2012-13 season for Drexel’s swimming and diving teams had its ups and downs, to say the least. As the Dragons turn the page for next season, they will aim for more consistency throughout the program.
The women finished with a disappointing record of 2-8. Their season ended with a seventh-place finish at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships, hosted by George Mason University.
The men’s team tipped the overall scale to a more balanced position for the program last season. They finished the season with a 6-2 record. Their season ultimately ended in George Mason’s pool as well, with a fifth-place finish at the CAA Championships.
Fast-forward to the offseason, as they prepare for the 2013-14 season with a new class of freshmen to add into the fold.
On the men’s roster, head coach Shawn Markey will welcome six swimmers and one diver to the team. Included among the six swimmers are two middle-distance swimmers and four who will provide depth in the fly, backstroke and breaststroke.
The two middle-distance swimmers are also very good at shorter distances, according to Markey. He described them as “very strong and versatile.” He already has very high expectations for one future Dragon.
“One of them will be one of our best sprinters next year,” he declared.
He is also looking forward to adding the diver to his roster, and he claimed the newcomer will be among the top competitors next season.
Ten new faces will appear in the pool for the women, as they too look to add to their roster with a strong freshman class. Markey said he envisions all of them being major contributors, as they are strong in every event. They come with strong pedigrees, as a handful of them were senior national qualifiers, one of whom he said will immediately be a top-three performer in the breaststroke for Drexel.
In adding the 17 total members of the recruiting class, Markey accomplished adding depth. Drexel has lost six seniors from last season to graduation, three from each team. It’s also nice to have depth at each event, which promotes competition and pushes everyone.
“What we have done is added the depth we needed in each event for both teams to improve our strength and talent to put us in a better position next year for both dual meets and at championships,” Markey said.
Drexel’s incoming freshman class will complement the current core of Dragons well. The emerging face of the diving program, rising sophomore David Sanchez, leads a strong foundation of returning divers.
Sanchez, who took home the gold medal at the CAA Championships for the three-meter, returns for what will be only his second season. He is coming off a rookie season in which he swept away the CAA competition. Not only was he the league’s top rookie, but he was also named the overall CAA Diver of the Year. It was only the second time a CAA diver claimed both the league’s top rookie and top diver awards.
The women will also return backstroke swimmer Gizem Yali, backstroke and freestyle swimmer Katie Duggan, and freestyle swimmer Kelly Trussell, among others, for what will be their junior years. Each of the three flashed potential and thrived in particular moments and events last season.
Trussell was among the top performers of the team in a number of events last season, regardless of class, and saved her best performance for the CAAs, when she swam a 17:47.80 in the mile.
Markey said he already likes the way the incoming class mixes with the current team, a group he identifies as a solid core.
“The returning team members are a strong base already, and they are anxiously waiting to get things started,” he said.
Current swimming and diving team members have already begun workouts in preparation for the next season. They have been spending much of their time in the weight room, getting stronger and stronger.
The first practice takes place Sept. 19, and Markey said they will get right into it, going over technique and endurance. He and the team are excited to get started and looking forward to the prospects of success for next season.
Markey, who has served as head coach since July 2009 and has been on the staff since 2005, said he views his projected roster to be one of the best in recent memory.
“The team overall will be the strongest team we have had in the past several years, and we are really excited to get things started next year,” he said.
Look for Drexel to release the official list of names for its freshman class over the summer.