|Senior Griffin Campbell enters the year as one of the Scots' leaders in the sprints and relays.|
The College of Wooster men's swimming and diving team has consistently finished in the top half of the conference in recent seasons at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships, and now with a strong infusion of new talent mixing with the Fighting Scots' talented returnees, the Black and Gold seem poised to make a run up the conference standings.
"I'm excited," said 16th-year head coach Rob Harrington, when touching on the outlook of this year's team. "We've got a very strong incoming first-year class, and what I mean by strong is we seem to cover all of the events, including diving. I am very excited about that. Obviously, we've got a very strong returning senior class, and a very good supporting cast in our sophomores and juniors."
Senior Cameron Gelwicks anchors the team from the returnee standpoint. Gelwicks, who holds four school records, is coming off a season in which he became the first Scot to earn all-conference honors in a freestyle event since 2001.
In addition to Gelwicks, Wooster's senior class has plenty of record-setting individuals, including Garrett Layde, who expanded his role last year to the 400 individual medley. Layde qualified for the championship heat of that event and went on to qualify for the championship heat of the 200 butterfly.
Griffin Campbell and Ryan Campbell round out the Scots' quartet of record-setting seniors, thanks to joining Gelwicks and Layde on the 2018 NCAC-closing school-record 400 freestyle relay (3:04.57). Per Harrington, both Campbells could be key relay factors again this year, while individually, Griffin will continue to focus on the sprints while Ryan forecasts to be one of the anchors in the middle-distance events.
Sophomore Wyatt Foss emerged as a key contributor as a rookie, and he's someone would could provide a bridge between the sprinters and distance specialists, although Harrington's projected to slide Foss into the 500 freestyle this year due to upcoming graduation losses.
Wooster has scored well in the backstroke and butterfly events of late, and that could very well be the case again this year, especially in the latter.
"Junior Trey Schopen returns as our go-to guy (in the butterfly)," summed up Harrington. "Once Garrett is back in championship form, he'll also significantly impact those events."
Senior Michael Crookshanks and Hull round out the returning butterfly specialists.
In the backstroke, it could be a wait-and-see approach as the top returnee – junior Eli Samuelson – is abroad, but Harrington's excited about the potential impact sophomore transfer Josh Gluck can make in the backstroke and individual medley events.
Other key returnees in the backstroke include Oss, junior Hunter Pierson, and Reynolds.
Rising sophomore Craig Klumpp took charge in the breaststroke events last year, and enters the season as the Scots' top performer in the 200-yard event, per Harrington. Classmate Dylan Phillipson is another returning breaststroker, and the Scots could have a big infusion of new talent in the specialty.
"We worked hard in the recruitment process to fill the gaps we had, particularly in the 200 breaststroke," summed up Harrington. "We did a good job in the offseason finding help."
Wooster's season opens at the Kenyon Relays on Oct. 20. The Scots host three dual meets this season, and the program's annual Wooster Invitational is set to take place on Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.