Eagle Swimmers Open 2012-13 Season at Home Saturday
VIDEO: Preview interview with Head Coach Nate Kellogg -- 10-19-2012
VIDEO: Preview interview with Junior Swimmer Courtney Harrison -- 10-19-2012
VIDEO: Preview interview with Junior Diver Sara Meisenhelder -- 10-19-2012
STATESBORO, Ga. – The Georgia Southern swimming and diving program opens the 2012-13 campaign at home against College of Charleston Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Recreation Activity Center.
The Eagles have aspirations of improving on last season's third-place finish at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Championships and sending some individuals to the NCAAs.
College of Charleston placed seventh at the CCSA Championships a season ago and will provide a good early-season test for the Eagles.
"We're very excited about being at home for our season opener," said Georgia Southern coach Nathan Kellogg. "We've seen what our kids can do in training, and swimming against another team and seeing where we are in a racing situation is the fun part. We'll see where everybody is at this point and use it as a benchmark."
Kellogg plans to mix things up a bit Saturday and give his swimmers an opportunity to show what they can do in an event that may not be their best, allowing him to gauge what kind of depth he has across the board (see Saturday's events below).
"Some will be swimming their second and third-best events to gain some meet experience, and some will be swimming their best events," he said.
The best event for the Eagles will likely be the breaststroke. GSU returns junior Kristen Bates (right), who posted an NCAA B Cut time en route to winning 100 breast at the CCSA Championships, and junior Courtney Harrison, who won the 200 breast at the league meet.
Sophomore Elaina Lanson, who was just shy of an NCAA B Cut time in the 50 free and set a school record in the 100 free, will lead the Eagles in the sprint free events.
Sophomore Amber Juncker is the Eagles' top returner in the distance free events after setting school records in the 500 and 1650 free as a freshman and placing fourth in both events at the CCSA Championships
Junior Devan White is the top returner in the middle-distance free events, and Kellogg expects freshmen Kylee Parsons and Christina Moran to contribute as well.
Kellogg feels his squad has some depth in the individual medleys and backstroke and hopes to make those good scoring events, especially in dual meets. Juncker was fifth in the 400 IM at the CCSAs, Harrison was sixth and senior Lindsay Mullican placed 11th. Rikki Babuka will contribute in both the 400 and 200 IMs as well as freshman Lauren Campbell.
Junior Sarah Schwartz and sophomore JoAnn Filipov are the Eagles' top returning backstrokers, and freshmen Rebecca Alves, Taylor Kelsch and Moran are expected to contribute in the back events.
Senior Pirie Humphries, sophomore Hannah Rogers, sophomore Megan Heller and Schwartz are the Eagles' top returners in the butterfly, while rookies Kelsch, Alves and Campbell will provide depth.
Reigning CCSA Diver of the Year and NCAA provisional qualifier Sara Meisenhelder anchors the diving corps. The junior placed second on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards at the league championship meet.
"We saw the tip of iceberg in terms of what Sara is capable of," said Kellogg. "She has raised the standards of our entire diving program, and they are pushing each other in practice to make each other better."
The Eagles lost just one key cog off each of the relay squads from last year, and Kellogg believes the Eagles have the potential to be better this season.
Bates, Lanson and White all return for the 200 and 400 and free relays. The Eagles were 3rd in the 400 free relay and fifth in the 200 free relay at last year's CCSA meet. Mullican, White, Juncker and Humphries are all back for the 800 free relay squad that placed seventh.
The Eagles were third in the 200 and 400 medley relay teams and return three members from each of those squads. Bates and Lanson swam on both relays, while Schwartz handled the backstroke leg of the 400 and Filipov swam that leg on the 200 team.
Florida Gulf Coast will be the favorites again in 2013, and Kellogg expects Liberty to be strong as well. He purposely makes the schedule so that the Eagles have the opportunity to compete against each team in the league at least once in the regular season.
The 2013 CCSA Championship meet will take place Feb. 21-23 at the Gabrielsen Natatorium on the campus of the University of Georgia.
Kellogg thinks the development of his returners and the incoming freshmen give the Eagles a good opportunity to improve on last season's third-place finish. He prefers the Eagles focus on themselves and try to block out the distractions of the meet.
"It's kind of a weird thing to say when you are competing against 11 other teams, but we try to turn the focus on swimming against ourselves," said Kellogg. "If each individual executes and swims their fastest time in the events they are in, we'll be in good shape, and the team points will take care of itself."
Event 1: 4 x 50-yard medley relay
Event 2: 1000-yard free
Event 3: 200-yard free
Event 4: 100-yard back
Event 5: 100-yard breast
Event 6: 200-yard fly
Event 7: 50-yard free
Event 8: 3-meter diving
Event 9: 100-yard free
Event 10: 200-yard back
Event 11: 200-yard breast
Event 12: 500-yard free
Event 13: 100-yard fly
Event 14: 1-meter diving
Event 15: 400-yard IM
Event 16: 4 x 100-yard free relay
- Category: Swimming & Diving
- Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 10:55