Swim and dive ready to go for promising season

Senior Caroline Kuczynski treads through the water in a race during the Sun Devils’ meet against Wisconsin on Nov. 5, 2011. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

The 2012-13 ASU swim and dive program is a group full of talent and veteran leadership.

All-American honorees junior Tristian Baxter and seniors Caroline Kuczynski, Shannon Landgrebe and Cassie Morrice are all returning to the program. Junior diver and Olympian Riley McCormick is back at ASU after taking a year off from ASU to compete for the Canadian national team.

The women’s team is coming off a year in which they finished 12th in the NCAA championships and the men’s side looks to improve after a seventh place finish in the Pac-12 championships.

Swim coach Dorsey Tierney-Walker is optimistic for this upcoming season and has high goals for her group.

“I think on the men’s side, top 20 in the NCAA championships is our goal,” Tierney-Walker said. “On the women’s side, we are looking to improve on our 12th place finish last year and hopefully sneak into the top ten.”

Tierney-Walker is excited to have Landgrebe for one more year, who is returning after a solid junior campaign in which she garnered All-American honors in the 200 freestyle and 400 medley relay.

“Shannon set two school records last year, and has very big goals for her season and improved quite a bit this summer,” Tierney-Walker said.

Tierney-Walker also said that Baxter is a swimmer to look out for this season.

“Tristin had a very good summer,” Tierney-Walker said. “She had a real successful Olympic trials and made the U.S. national team in open water swimming and is looking to expand on hopefully a full year after being injured a little last year.”

Baxter was a first team All-American in the 1650 free and set school records in the 1000 free (9:43.49) and the 1650 free (16:02.50) after breaking her leg early in the season.

As far as diving goes, dive coach Mark Bradshaw is confident in his small team of five.

“We have a very good group of divers,” Bradshaw said. “We should out-point every program we go up against. That’s always a goal of mine, but especially with the group I have, if that doesn’t happen, I’ll be shocked.”

McCormick looks to lead the Sun Devils this year after finishing 11th in the London Olympics on the 10-meter platform.

“(McCormick) was awesome,” Bradshaw said. “The 11th place doesn’t say a whole lot, but if you looked at every dive he did and asked me, I’d say he was in the top five,” Bradshaw said.

McCormick along with the other four divers will surely be a bright spot the whole season for the team.

Bradshaw expects every one of his athletes to vie for a conference title.

Saturday’s meet against NAU in Flagstaff is the first competition for the Sun Devils this season. It is expected to be an early benchmark for the Sun Devils.

 

Reach the reporter at ross.dunham@asu.edu