Head Coach Nick Nichols returns at the helm along with Carlos Vega, who joins the staff fresh from the college swimming scene, Kenyon College ’03. Derek Chicarilli, a 2002 Middlebury graduate has replaced Mandy Hixon as the head diving coach.
Though the team lost a number of valuable seniors last year, including top performers Pat Kennedy ’03 and Jeff Sunderland ’03, the experience and leadership of the current senior class is expected to play a key role in the team’s success this season. Senior co-captains Dan Morash and Mike Pohorylo, will lead the team, along with fellow seniors Grant Mandsager and Steve Shapiro.
Other returning swimmers include juniors Chuck Clinton, Nick Federico, Dan Gach, Elan Ghazal and Colin Porter. Representing the sophomore class are Mike Cahill, Rick Estacio, Tommy Gonnella, Adam Lewkowitz, Dan Savage and Bryan Woo. The returning swimmers are anxious to see how the new crop of first-years will help the team.
“[Coach] Nichols recruited a strong class of freshmen so we won’t see much of a difference in the pool,” said Morash. “They bring a new outlook on the sport of swimming to Amherst. They are talented, energetic, spirited, and eager to be part of our rivalry with Williams. We are looking forward to seeing what this class is capable of in meet situations.”
The team is anxious about their diving scores. With the graduation of All-American diver Ben Hopkins ’03, the Jeffs began their season with no divers on the roster, which means an automatic 32 point deficit at the start of each meet. However, stepping up to challenge are Chris Hunter ’06E, who dove for a portion of his freshman year at Amherst, and Jay Buchman ’07, a novice diver.
Several individual swimmers are expected to make a big splash this season. After many impressive finishes last season, including breaking nine Amherst record times, a NESCAC record in the 50m backstroke, and winning two Top-16 NCAA finishes, Estacio is sure to dominate all backstroke events. Pohorylo is expected to be formidable competition in the 100m and 200m breaststroke after last year’s second- and fifth-place NCAA finishes.
Woo and Shapiro are swimmers to watch in butterfly and long-distance freestyle events, respectively. Woo had the season’s low times in the 50m and 100m freestyle events and in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly races. These men are also expected to contribute to the team’s success in relay events.
In addition, the team is looking to newcomer Ethan Treat ’07 for strong performances in the 200m and 400m individual medleys.
Amherst looks forward to its meet against Williams College as the showdown of the season. “The Williams meet will be especially tough, as always,” said Estacio. “Especially considering … the way we squeaked out a victory last year by a mere four points.”
The team begins their season on Saturday at Union College.