| @Towson_SWIMDIVE Opens Season Saturday
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 10/05/2012
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TOWSON, Md. – A year after recording its most wins in a dual meet season since 2006-07, the Towson men’s swimming and diving team opens the season Saturday at Burdick Pool. The Tigers will face William & Mary. in a matchup of Colonial Athletic Association teams at 1 p.m.

Armed with a wealth of emerging talent, the future appears bright for coach Pat Mead and his team.

“Without a doubt, our men’s team is leaps and bounds better,” Mead said. “This team is definitely a step above. Will it result in more wins? I don’t know. The men’s conference as a whole is so deep. Every year it climbs, but we’re definitely better.”

The team returns a great deal of front-end talent in senior Zack Stone and a trio of sophomores that made immediate impacts as freshmen. That group includes Matt Lowe, Matt Collingwood and Jon Burr.

Lowe and Burr exceled all year and set freshmen records for Tiger men’s swimmers last season. Lowe’s time of 9:31.14 in the 1,000-yard freestyle and Burr’s 1:52.96 in the 200-yard butterfly were both Towson freshmen bests in the respective events. Collingwood and fellow sophomore John Gartland also showed signs of potential. Collingwood got better as the year went on and Gartland had strong times in the breaststroke events.

Stone, who was selected as a captain along with Billy Pappas and diver Alex Cohen, had an outstanding junior season. He swam the second-fastest time in program history in three events (500-yard freestyle, 1,000-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle) last season.

“Zack had an unbelievable summer,” Mead said. “Our strength and our depth is in the distance, however in the CAA, a lot of people don’t focus on the distance.”

That’s no problem for Mead, who is extremely high on three newcomers—freshmen Sawyer Martin and Matt McKenney and sophomore transfer Nathan Pursley—to help bolster the Tiger sprinters in addition to other events.

“Matt, Sawyer and Nathan are going to have an immediate impact,” Mead said. “We could potentially find ourselves at the conference meet with 90 percent freshmen and sophomores.”

With a new leadership development scheme that Mead and his staff devised, the goal is to keep his team focused on the task at hand.

“Our captains have to be our leaders,” he said. “In the summer, I gave a lot of thought about how we could increase our leadership opportunities for the team. We’ve even got spirit leaders. We needed to identify the core values of our program moving forward.”

Cohen enters his senior season on the boards after setting the one-meter and three-meter diving records at Towson. He scored 298.60 points in the one-meter dive competition against UNC Wilmington and Delaware in November and set a three-meter school record with 318.45 points against Loyola and UMBC in January.

“We have a lot of young talent,” Mead admitted. “On any given day Lowe, Collingwood, Burr or others could be leading the team.”


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