Feb. 3, 2004
Coming off a sixth place finish at the 2003 Atlantic 10 Championship, third year head coach Dave Sheets believes the Duquesne University women's swimming program can continue its upward movement within the A-10. In just two seasons under Sheets' tutelage, the women's program has broken 20 school records and moved up three spots at the conference championship meet. The leadership in the program will come from seniors Annie Baldassari (Free/back), Alicia Smith (Back/IM), and Kathy Smucler (Free/IM).
After a third straight solid recruiting class, Sheets is optimistic about the direction his program is taking. "This year the program has one thing we've lacked for the past two seasons - depth. We are three or four deep in several events and have made our team much more competitive overall. I am very excited about the season and the possibilities for the future. As long as we can stay healthy and focus on working hard in the classroom, the water, and the weight room everything else will take care of itself."
INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY Freshmen Liz Yager and Caitlyn Wilkins lead the way in the 200 Individual Medley event along with senior Alicia Smith, juniors Lauren Twombly and Michelle Erwin, sophomores Sarah Breisinger and Amy Gersbach and freshman Stacie McCracken. The 400 event will be led by school record holder Gersbach and Wilkins with contributions from Smith, Erwin, and Breisinger.
FREESTYLE The school record holder in the 500, 1000 and 1650 free, Gersbach leads the way in the distance events. In the 500 she will get help from Smucler, sophomore Elena Pollock and freshmen Yager, Jenn Martin, Jenn Gordon and Katie Kokolus.
School record holder Baldassari will lead the 200 event with help from Smucler, junior Deidre Rodeheaver and sophomores Gersbach, Pollock and Liz Barba. Also contributing will be freshmen Yager, Gordon, Martin, Laura Brodbeck, and Lauren Alfano. School record holder Barba will lead the 100 event with help from Baldassari, Smucler, Rodeheaver, junior Laura Kephart and freshmen Brodbeck, McCracken and Yager. School record holder Rodeheaver will lead the 50 event with help from Kephart, Barba, Brodbeck and freshman Cristina Cravedi.
BUTTERFLY School record holder Kephart, sophomore Erin McEvoy and Yager will lead the way in the 100 event. Kephart will also see action in the 200 event but McEvoy, Gordon and Yager will lead the way here with help from Cravedi.
BACKSTROKE A quality event for the Dukes, school record holder Breisinger will lead the way in the 100 event. School record holder Smith will lead the way in the 200 event. Also contributing in the 100 will be Smith, Baldassari, Kephart, sophomore Anne Manfroni, Yager and Gordon. Breisinger will be the second 200 backstroker with Kephart, Wilkins, Gordon and Yager adding more strength to this event.
BREASTSTROKE School record holder sophomore Jillian Rupinski will lead the way in the 100 event. Juniors Lauren Twombly and Erwin will also score quality points in the 100. Rupinski will also lead the way in the 200, followed by Twombly, Wilkins, and Erwin
Duquesne will face traditional Atlantic 10 rivals St. Bonaventure, Fordham, Xavier and Rhode Island as well as Pitt, Akron, Canisius, St. Francis (PA), St. Francis (NY), Niagara, Youngstown State, Cleveland State, Allegheny, Wright State, Clarion and Towson. The Dukes will also compete in the Akron Invitational and close the season with the Atlantic 10 Championship. In addition, Duquesne will host its first annual Alumni Meet in October and make a 12-day Christmas break trip to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for additional training.