POTSDAM -- The SUNY Potsdam swimming & diving team began its 2010-11 campaign at home Saturday with wins for both the men and women against Skidmore.
The Bears host five meets this season, including the multi-team North Country Invitational on Nov. 19-20.
The State University of New York Athletic Conference meet takes place Feb.
9-12 at Erie CC in Buffalo, N.Y. Last season, the men's team finished sixth in the conference event, while the women placed ninth.
In 2009-10, diver Nate LaRowe gave SUNY Potsdam its first-ever individual national champion after winning the 1-meter dive at the NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. The Latham, N.Y., native completed his standout career as a four-time All-American and a winner of the school's prestigious Maxcy Molnar Award as the top male senior student-athlete.
Ken McLaughlin enters his ninth year as head coach of the program, while Ray Toland begins his third season as diving coach.
Here is a breakdown of each team entering the upcoming season.
Key losses: Nate LaRowe (Diving) ¬ NCAA 1-meter diving champion, NCAA 3-meter second runner-up, second team All-SUNYAC; Edward McIntyre (FR) ¬ SUNYAC meet finalist; Dan Callahan (FR) ¬ SUNYAC meet finalist
Key returners: Ryan Wentz (Jr., FLY/FR, Pendleton, N.Y./Starpoint) ¬ second team All-SUNYAC; Alexander Taylor (So., IM/BR/FR, Port Ewen, N.Y./Kingston) ¬ SUNYAC meet finalist
Key newcomers: Jeremiah Fettinger (Fr., BK/IM, Binghamton, N.Y./Windsor); Casey Hagin (Fr., FR/FLY, Ithaca, N.Y./Lansing); Logan Killian (Fr., BK/FR, Mexico, N.Y./Mexico); Jeremy Rose (Fr., BR/IM, New Hartford, N.Y./New Hartford); Dylan Woythal (Fr., FLY/FR, Duanesburg, N.Y./Schalmont); Richie Zimmerman (Fr., BR/IM/FR, Victor, N.Y./Victor)
Outlook: The Bears will rely on 13 newcomers to compliment six returners after losing a large number of swimmers and divers due to graduation. Wentz, a captain, placed in six individual and relay events at last year's SUNYAC meet, including a third-place finish in the 200 fly. Taylor also scored points in six events, with individual placements in the 400 IM and 200 breast. All five divers are newcomers to the 2010-11 team. Despite the large transition, McLaughlin is confident his freshmen can be major contributors.
Key loss: Adrienne Brown (FR) ¬ SUNYAC meet finalist
Key returners: Brittany Berrus (Jr., FR/BK/IM, Lowville, N.Y./Lowville) ¬ SUNYAC meet finalist; Sarah Gutenman (Sr., BK/IM, North Lawrence, N.Y./Franklin Academy) ¬ SUNYAC meet finalist; Julie Haynes (Jr., FR, Malone, N.Y./Franklin Academy) ¬ SUNYAC meet finalist; Liz Ringer (So., FLY/IM/BK/FR, Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury)
Key newcomers: Ghena Binzer (Fr., BR, Baldwinsville, N.Y./Baker); Laurissa Coombs (Fr., IM/FR/BK/FLY), Port Jefferson, N.Y./Ward Melville)
Outlook: In contrast with the men, the Lady Bears are an experienced group with 17 returners and eight newcomers. Berrus, Haynes and Ringer form the core of the group as three-fourths of the 400 free relay team that set a school record last year. Ringer, who set the school record in the 100 fly, was the team's top individual at the conference meet with a fifth-place finish in the 200 fly. Gutenman, a captain, scored in three individual events at the SUNYACs. All three divers are newcomers to the 2010-11 team.
With the right combination of veteran leadership and a pair of solid freshmen in Binzer and Coombs, Potsdam is poised to move up in the league standing.