LANCASTER, Pa. – Looking to build on the most successful season in school history, the Ursinus College men's swimming team was picked third in the Centennial Conference preseason poll.
The Bears received 25 points in a sampling of the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams. Gettysburg earned four first-place ballots to top the projections with 34 points, narrowly edging out second-place Swarthmore (30 points, 3 first-place votes).
Franklin & Marshall and Washington College tied for fourth with 20 points, followed by Dickinson (12) and McDaniel (6).
Ursinus returns four all-conference performers from a squad that re-wrote its record books during the 2016-17 campaign, logging 12 new school records and placing third at the conference meet for only the third time in program history. The Bears broke four of their five previous benchmarks in the relay events and tied the other.
Junior James Callaghan and sophomore Jacob Menzer headline the Bears' impressive returning cast. Callaghan enjoyed a breakout performance at the CC Championships, edging out teammate Colin McNamara to claim gold in the 200-yard butterfly and become the first Ursinus men's swimmer to win a conference title in the event since 2012. Callaghan, who joined McNamara to become the first Bear teammates to go 1-2 in a championship race, also shattered the program record in the 400-yard IM with an NCAA B cut of 4:04.57 that earned him a silver medal.
Menzer, meanwhile, capped his phenomenal rookie campaign with team records in the 200 free (1:41.70), 500 free (4:34.52), and 1650 free (16:12.92), garnering silver medals in the first two. Also a member of the second-place 800 free relay unit, Menzer also became just the third swimmer in program history to merit CSCAA Scholar All-America status.
McNamara was involved in three record-breaking relays – he joined rising junior Travis Venables in the 200 free relay (1:25.43), teamed with sophomore Casey Lear and junior Maxwell Coulter in the 400 medley relay (3:28.27), and swam alongside Coulter and Venables in the 200 medley relay (1:35.04).
The Bears also bring back a bevy of swimmers with conference championship experience. Rising junior Johnathan Myers placed eighth in the 200 fly, and Coulter took eighth with a school-record 2:10.46 in the 200 breast. Junior Kevin Gill, sophomore Daniel Powell, and senior Christopher Barthold were ninth through eleventh in the 1650 free; Lear and Venables finished ninth and tenth in the 100 free, with Lear also taking fifth in the 200 free and ninth in the 500 free. Juniors Reid Luksic and Daniel Becker and sophomore Jared Krawetz also earned places in various events.
Additionally, head coach Mark Feinberg brought in a promising crop of newcomers that should aid the Bears in their quest to continue to climb the conference ladder.
The men's swimming team opens the 2017-18 season at home against Dickinson on Saturday, October 28.
Bears Earn Regional Ranking
Ursinus' strong season certainly brought some attention to the program. The Bears are No. 10 in the CSCAA/TYR Northeast South preseason regional rankings, and are one of three CC teams to merit such billing. Swarthmore (No. 4) and Gettysburg (No. 7) are also regionally ranked.