The second year of swimming head coach Jeanne Fleck’s era at Ohio State will see both familiar and new faces on the starting blocks.
The 2000-01 squad is an almost even mix of veterans and newcomers – ten letterwinners return along with 11 freshmen and one transfer student.
“We have a huge freshman class coming in,” Fleck said. ” It will be important to get the team together as a group because the newcomers outnumber the letterwinners.
“It’s an important year for us. It’s the first year of my recruiting so I am anxious to see how we do.”
Fleck has mapped out four goals for her team this year:
* First, to improve times and have student-athletes qualify for the NCAA Championships.
* Second, to improve the team’s conference standing.
* Third, to improve its record in duel meets.
* Fourth, to build team chemistry
Last season, the team finished tenth at the Big Ten Championships and ended the season with an overall dual meet record of 3-8. However, Fleck says the record was not a reflection of the team’s attitude and spirit..
She enters this season hoping 2001 Buckeyes can build on the work ethic and desire of their immediate predecessors.
“I want the attitude to carry over,” Fleck said. “The girls I had last season really wanted to be successful. They wanted to improve.”
Ohio State returns two swimmers who qualified for the USA Olympic trials last season.
Krisitin Sendrowski, who shared OSU’s Most Valuable Swimmer honors last year, returns, as does Erica Staley, whose impressive rookie campaign in the collegiate ranks earned her OSU Freshman of the Year honors.
Last season, Sendrowski had team-best times in the 200 butterfly, 200 individual medley and the 400 individual medley events as well as being second on the team in the 200, 500 and 1000 freestyle events.
“Krissy had a great dual meet season last year,” Fleck said. “Hopefully, she can do that again and carry it into to the championships.” Staley improved steadily all season and finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke at the Big Ten Championships. She was also a member of the 200 medley relay team that finished 10th at the championships.
“Staley dropped a ton of time last year and nearly qualified for the NCAA’s in the 100 breaststroke” Fleck said. “We want her to qualify this season.
“We have a good group of young ladies. Staley and Sendrowski will be the people out front and leaders in the water.”
Fleck is also looking for co-captains Jo Jo Baran and Sarah Nigh to have strong seasons.
“Jo Jo is an important part of our relay teams, she’s a point scorer,” Fleck said.
Nigh will be looked upon to come up big in the freestyle events.
As an upperclassman, Kristin Sander is also expected to have an impact this season in the freestyle events as well as out of the water.
“Kristin offers leadership in and out of the pool,” Fleck said.
Stacey Lowry will be needed to help provide points in the butterfly events.
“She had some real good time drops last season,” Fleck said. “Hopefully, she can step up to the plate and fill in.”
Fleck’s first recruiting season at Ohio State was a busy one. Her team will have twelve new swimmers when the Buckeyes open the 2000 season to go along with ten returnees.
Included in the class are two freshmen that will add international experience to the OSU program. Camilla Heglesson, a native of Malmo, Sweden, has competed in ten World Cup competitions.
“Camilla Heglesson’s times converted put her in the top eight in the conference in the 500 freestyle and the 1,650 freestyle in the conference,” Fleck said. “She’s going to make a major impact right away.
“She’s a little older, which is nice because even though she’s a freshman she will bring some maturity to our program.”
Amanda Treleaven (Colonal Light, Australia) also has plenty of experience to lend the Buckeyes.
She placed seventh in the 50, 100, and 200 backstroke events at the World Cup meet in Hobart, and qualified for the Australian Olympic trials.
“She’s going to give us maturity,” Fleck said. “She should be a point scorer in both the backstroke events and the 200 freestyle.”
Lindsey Goodson, (San Ramon, Calif.) earned All-America honors in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events in 1999 and 2000. She placed sixth in the 500 freestyle and 11th in the 200 freestyle at the 2000 Junior Nationals.
“Goodson should be a major factor in the 200 and 500 freestyle events,” Fleck said. “I’m very excited about this young lady. I think she has loads of talent.”
Millie Reynolds (San Antonio, Texas) does not have the experience of the other recruits, but has enjoyed a great amount of success in the her short time in the water. She was an All-America selection in the 200 medley relay as a sophomore and a senior, finishing fourth in the nation both times.
“She’s only been swimming for a few years,” Fleck said. “She’s got so much potential – it’s almost scary. She could be our `diamond in the rough’ for the year.”
A pair of Ohio standouts, Katie Severson (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Julie Buehler (Wooster, Ohio) also will join the scarlet and gray this year.
Severson was a four-time state finalist and a Junior National qualifier. Buehler earned All-Ohio honors her sophomore and senior years.
Lindsey Hartman (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was a four-year All-America selection and qualified for five Junior National standards. She finished in the Top 16 in the 100 and 200 freestyle events twice at the Junior Nationals.
Kaitlin Fajt (Greensburg, Pa.) is a four-time qualifier for the PIAA state championships and finished as high as fifth in the 500 freestyle.
Shannon Mahoney (Plantation, Fla.) was a four-time Top 16 qualifier at the Florida State championships. Stephanie Raezer (Newark, Del.) earned all-state honors all four years of high school and was a four-time qualifier for the Junior Nationals.
Stephanie Sandor (Fairmont ,W.Va.) was co-captain of her state runner-up high school team.
Amanda Messmer (Fenton, Mo.), a junior transfer from Bowling Green, was a four time state qualifier in high school.
“Every young lady we have coming in will go to the conference meet and will help us in duel meets in one way or another,” Fleck said. “They give us immense talent and depth.”
OSU will be on the road for the first five meets of this season. The fall portion of the schedule features three Big Ten opponents.
But the schedule takes a favorable turn in the winter.
Over four weekends beginning Jan. 12, OSU will host six home meets at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center. The homestand features match-ups with Big Ten rivals Michigan and Indiana, as well as meets against instate schools, Miami (Ohio) and Kenyon.
“The second half of our schedule is very favorable,” Fleck said. “It will allow us to be able to concentrate and fine-tune for the Big Ten Championships.”
On The Boards
Once again, the Buckeyes are loaded with talent on the diving boards. Diving head coach Vince Panzano is confident that his team will contribute a great majority of points at each meet and especially at the Big Ten Championships as they did last season when the Buckeyes won both springboard events at the championships, outscoring all other schools by a landslide margin.
Panzano is expecting the 2001 season to be even more impressive.
Two of the three top divers from a year ago return and the addition of Natalia Diea, a transfer from the University of Texas who was the 1999 NCAA bronze medalist on the platform.
Panzano returns Holly Underwood (Jr., Conroe, Texas) and Melanie Johnson (Jr., Boca Raton, Fla.). Both had impressive sophomore campaigns that were highlighted at the Big Ten Championships.
Underwood won the three-meter dive and placed seventh in the one-meter event at the conference championships. Johnson placed third in the one-meter dive and seventh in the three-meter dive, respectively.
Jillian Cicione (So., Plantation, Fla.) also had a strong showing at the championships, placing eighth in the three-meter event.
Leah Kolb (Jr., Mansfield, Ohio), Jenna Fortang (So., Highland Beach, Fla.) and Jillian Cicione (So., Plantation, Fla.) add depth on the boards and are expected to have their best seasons.