|Junior Wyatt Foss is expected to be among the Scots' top performers in middle-distance freestyle races.|
The College of Wooster men's swimming and diving team has finished in the top half of the North Coast Athletic Conference in four straight years, and in order for that streak to remain intact come February, veteran head coach Rob Harrington is going to need "some current swimmers to fill the roles of graduated seniors," chief among them national qualifier Cameron Gelwicks.
"This year is going to be an interesting year," summed up Harrington. "We graduated very good talent, but have a good base this year for our men's team. We're excited to see what current members are able to do this year."
Senior Trey Schopen headlines the returnees, and is the most likely candidate on the men's side to push for a spot at nationals this year. The philosophy and religious studies major is the lone returnee from Wooster's 400 freestyle relay that earned all-conference honors, logged a NCAA Div. III "B" cut, and broke the program's record to cap last year's conference meet. Schopen's no stranger to accolade-filled swims as a current holder of three school records (100 & 200 butterfly, 400 freestyle relay), and as someone who had a "B" cut at his rookie NCAC meet.
"There was quite a bit of excitement surrounding our mid-season meet last year with Trey," shared Harrington. "We're hopeful that he'll be able to repeat those performances and get himself to nationals this year."
Wooster has three other seniors on its roster in Nicholas Hull, Hunter Pierson, and Eli Samuelson. Hull primarily competes in the sprint freestyle and butterfly events, while Pierson and Samuelson have both had success in the backstroke and individual medley events with the Scots. Coupled with Schopen's primary individual events in the butterfly and backstroke, this class gives the Scots a more-typical look in terms of the program's structure.
"The senior class this year is truly what The College of Wooster is known for," said Harrington. "Our strength as a team typically lies in the stroke events and that is what our senior class specializes in."
Wooster's middle-distance freestyle events are still an important part of the program's identity, despite the talent well in this area at the conference level. Just last year, it was Gelwicks' 200 freestyle time as the leadoff leg of the Scots' 800 freestyle relay at the NCAC Championships that ultimately punched his ticket to nationals. With several key graduation losses in these events, Harrington will likely turn to junior Wyatt Foss to be among the Scots' top performers in middle-distance freestyle races.
Fellow juniors Josh Gluck and Craig Klumpp could be the Scots' top backstroker and breaststroke, respectively, come the start of the season, while Kamron Knowlton, Dylan Phillipson, and Jim Shanahan round out the talented class.
"Our juniors demonstrate a tremendous amount of energy and passion in their training and past competitions," summed up Harrington. "Based on what I've seen so far, they are going to continue to do for the team what they have done in past years."
Diver Eric Jacques could be the difference-maker in the sophomore class, as he ended his rookie season with a NCAA Div. III regional-qualifying score, and will be in search of the two needed this year to qualify for that meet.
"Even though practice has just started, Eric looks tremendous on the boards," shared Harrington. "He'll be a force to be reckoned with at dual meets and when it comes to the conference level. When looking at results from last year, it looks like a few top divers graduated, so we're hopeful Eric will move up in the ranks of the conference."
Wooster's sophomore swimmers, comprised of Robby Beal, Wylie Greeson, Graham Letkemen, Sam Muse, Doak Schultz, and Paris Stirrat, provide a "significant amount of depth and talent," per Harrington, and will be counted on heavily for scoring at the dual meets and NCAC Championships.
Wooster's season opens at the Kenyon Relays on October 19. The Scots host five dual meets this season, and the program's annual Wooster Invitational is set to take place December 5-7.