With the end of February comes the annual swimming event, the UNYSCSA Championships, which will be held this year at Ithaca College. Led by a strong and diverse group of swimmers, the Clarkson University Swimming team looks to make an impact on the scoresheet with hopes of meeting the NCAA thresholds to advance to the Division III National Championships in March.
Wednesday’s events will begin at 10:00 am as the preliminaries for numerous events will take place prior to the finals at 6:00 pm. Included are the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, and the 200 medley relay. There will also be 3-meter diving for the women, but the Golden Knights will not compete in that event.
The opening event of the regional meet will be the women’s 500-yard freestyle and five different swimmers have their names on the psych sheet, led by sophomore Kelly Mulvehill (Penfield, NY). Senior Colleen Daley (Manlius, NY), classmate Kim Stillittano (Binghamton, NY), fellow senior Courtney Karszes (Stanley, NY) and junior Katrina Smith (Ballston Spa, NY) also are listed as possibilities, though head coach Mick Maguire will be judicious in his selection process to maximize points with all swimmers being able to compete in a maximum of three individual events.
One virtual guarantee for the men’s 500-yard freestyle is senior Sean Parnett (Clifton Park, NY), who is placed 32nd on the psych sheet with a seed time of 5:10.33. He is joined by freshman Sam Zwierzchowski (East Amherst, NY), sophomore Nick Hens (Liverpool, NY), sophomore Ray Bailey (Galway, NY), junior Paul Kreppel (Clarence, NY), and second-year swimmer Travis Derr (Lakeville, CT).
The 200 individual medley is a shorter list for Clarkson on the women’s side as only Kim Stillittano is mentioned, ranking 46th with a seed time of 2:27.50. For the men, freshman Nick Short (Endwell, NY) has one of the best psych sheet rankings for Clarkson, one of 17 times in the entire meet that a Clarkson swimmers is in the top 30 (to score at the regional meet, a swimmer must place in the top 24 to accrue points). Short is placed 26th in the men’s 200 individual medley with a seed time of 2:04.57 and sophomore Tyler Nichols (Spencerport, NY) is only nine spots behind in 2:06.92, certainly in striking distance of a scoring spot. Also listed are freshman Jonathan Ketcham (East Aurora, NY), junior Chris Plummer (Spencerport, NY), sophomore Aaron Parysek (Spencerport, NY) and Sam Zagrobelny (East Aurora, NY).
Following up the individual medley is the quickest event at the meet, the 50 freestyle. Senior Jillian Brown (Kenmore, NY) is the top-ranked Clarkson female with a seed time of 26.54 seconds, good enough for the 40th spot on the sheet. Sophomore Kelly Ludeke (Ballston Spa, NY), junior Abby Luber (Camillus, NY), and sophomore Deonna Coleman (Derby, NY) also make their first appearances. For the men, big things are expected from senior Paul Telesca (Liverpool, NY), who posted a 22.17-second time for the seeding and is ranked 25th on the sheet. Zagrobelny will likely join Telesca in the event as he is just five spots behind the senior and less than a tenth of a second behind in his seed time. Bailey, sophomore Alex Trass (Greene, NY), senior Steve Cevaer (Ransomville, NY), junior Andrew Zielinski (Hilton, NY) and freshman John Cain (Rochester, NY) are other Clarkson hopefuls in the 50 freestyle.
Day two (Thursday) will open with the 200 freestyle relay before returning to the individual events, including the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, and 200 freestyle. The day will end with the 400 medley relay and also the men’s 1-meter diving, in which once again Clarkson will not compete.
Just like the previous day, Stillittano is a virtual lock to compete in the 400 individual medley as the only Clarkson swimmer listed, especially with a seed time of number-33 (5:26.70). The men are also limited in this event with Short posting the best seed time of any Clarkson competitor, showing 19th with a time of 4:32.55. Nichols is also four spots behind Short with another impressive seed time of 4:36.50.
Three female swimmers can potentially compete in the 100 butterfly, led by Jillian Brown, who has a seed time good enough for 41st (1:07.43). Sophomore Jackie Yeaton (Merrimack, NH) and freshman Molly Kelso (Exeter, NH) could also conceivably be counted on in the 100 fly.
Seven men are listed for the 100 butterfly, led by Zagrobelny, who is 26th with a time of 54.72. Classmate Nick Short is listed 33rd in 56.46 and another freshman, Sam Zwierzchowski, is 40th. Joining the sheet for the first time are junior Liam Sharkey (Malta, NY), senior Stephen Maxwell (Latham, NY), sophomore Nate Menapace (Baldwinsville, NY) as well as Andrew Zielinski.
The final individual event for Thursday is the 200 freestyle where Jillian Brown, Courtney Karszes, Kelly Mulvehill, Colleen Daly, and Deonna Coleman are potential contributors. Short is the top male in the 200 freestyle with a seed time of 1:51.21, while Telesca, Kreppel, Bailey, Hens, Trass, Cevaer, Derr, and Cain are listed as well.
Halfway through the event, Friday will begin with three individual events (200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke) before closing out with the 800 freestyle relay and women’s 1-meter diving. Stillittano and Yeaton are both ranked high in the 200 butterfly at 29th and 33rd, respectively, so there is a good chance that the pair could be competing for points in that event. A trio of Clarkson men sits in the top 30 in the same event, including Short (21st), Parnett (23rd), and Zagrobelny (26th), while just outside that threshold is Zwierzchowski (31st) and Menapace (33rd). With impressive depth in the event, there is a chance that not all five will compete for points.
Abby Luber, Molly Kelso, and Katrina Smith could all be counted on in the 100 backstroke for the women’s race, while senior Stephen Maxwell’s seed time of 57.54 seconds places him as a near certainty in the 100 backstroke. Other potential competitors for Clarkson are Tyler Nichols (35th), Liam Sharkey (42nd), and Duncan Gentner (48th).
The 100 breaststroke, the final individual (non-diving) event of the day, will probably see Kelly Ludeke compete as she had a seed time of 1:15.11 (38th), while freshman Jon Ketcham posted an impressive seed time of 1:02.83 and is ranked 22nd. Also listed are Plummer, Parysek, and Mike Mahoney (Andover, NY).
The meet will come to a conclusion on Saturday, with the lengthiest race having no preliminaries. The 1650 freestyle is a time-consuming and grueling event, but senior Colleen Daly has been participating in the race all year so she will once again be counted on for the Knights. Freshman Sam Zwierzchowski and senior Sean Parnett are ranked 22nd and 23rd, respectively, and Nick Hens is 33rd on the list for the 1650 list for the men.
No other event has as many potential competitors as the 100 freestyle, as both the men’s and women’s race have 97 names listed on the psych sheet. Among the 97 listed on the women’s side are Jillian Brown, Kelly Ludeke, Abby Luber, Courtney Karszes, Kelly Mulvehill, Deonna Coleman and Jackie Yeaton. For the men, Paul Telesca will definitely be counted on as he placed 24th on the psych sheet with a seed time of 49.18 seconds. Zagrobelny, Menapace, Kreppel, Sharkey, Cevaer, Mahoney, Gentner, Cain, and Zielinski are all also listed for the 100 freestyle.
Yet another possibility for Kim Stillittano is the 200 backstroke, where she is 44th on the psych sheet. Joining her are Molly Kelso and Katrina Smith. The men’s top option is Tyler Nichols (27th), who had a seed time of 2:04.39. Senior Stephen Maxwell will likely close out his collegiate career in this event as well, while junior Liam Sharkey and sophomore Duncan Gentner could compete, too.
The 200 breaststroke will see some limited options for the Knights. The women listed are Kelly Ludeke and Kelly Mulvehill, while the men have Jon Ketcham way up at the 24th spot along with Aaron Parysek, Chris Plummer and Mike Mahoney.