| @Towson_SWIMDIVE Starts Season Against Tribe
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 10/05/2012

TOWSON, Md. - The Towson women’s swimming and diving team begins the 2012-13 season on Saturday with a home meet against the William & Mary Tribe. The meet begins at 1 p.m.

The Tigers enter the year having won four of the past five previous Colonial Athletic Association championships, though they finished in second place a year ago. For head coach Pat Mead, the upcoming season gives his team a new outlook.

“This is a new start for our program and done with our new long-term goal in mind,” he said. “Sometimes you take things for granted when you have a run like we did. Every other team in the conference was gearing up to beat us. What I’ve seen so far this year has been a refocused, recommitted and re-energized group of women.”

Despite losing the graduated Cari Czarnecki, Mead still has plenty of talent with which to work. Front and center of the talented group remains junior Kaitlin Burke, a top distance freestyle swimmer. The 200-11 CAA Women’s Rookie of the Year, Burke won a pair of CAA championships at the conference meet last year, taking gold in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. She was selected as a co-captain this season along with junior Melanie Rowland and senior Adrienne Phillips.

Rowland and Phillips will be joined by juniors Kendall Towe, Shelby Witham and Cassie Sorna as well as senior Amanda Skroupa who all will be expected to carry the load and provide championship winning experience. Towe and Witham, in particular, could make a big jump.

Sophomores Amanda Barber and Victoria Oslund offer tremendous potential for Mead to mold, as both had moments of brilliance as freshmen.

Oslund began the season “on fire,” as Mead put it, and she and Barber had a large part in re-writing the Towson freshman record books.

Oslund set the freshman record in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.19) and 100-yard butterfly (54.45). Barber had a breakout meet at the CAA Championships, establishing herself as a potential force in years to come. Her time of 23:54 in the 50-yard freestyle at the CAA's was also a Towson freshman record.

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.”

Mead is also hopeful that some freshmen will come in continue to work hard as they develop their skill and drop times. Over the past month, Mead was able to spend a great deal of time on the pool deck overseeing workouts in an effort to better prepare for the rigors of the season. He noted Jenna Van Camp, Charlotte Holz and Seana Acker as freshmen who have impressed in the early going.

And though they are no longer the favorites in the league, Mead is clearly aware of the capabilities of his roster.

“I think the goal for our women is to be a top-three team in the conference and that is a realistic goal,” Mead said. “I don’t like losing. I hate to lose. But ultimately, I want to see each kid reach their potential.”


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