Towson’s men and women began this season on Oct. 4 with different expectations.
The women‘s team finished last year as the Colonial Athletic Association Champions, while the men finished sixth in the same competition.
However, after two meets and four decisions, both teams look to have the potential to be successful this year. Head Coach Pat Mead said his team’s success depends on every class contributing to the whole.
“It’s all about taking our upperclassmen and freshmen and going all out,” Mead said. “The key to us getting strong is the development of our freshmen. The quicker they learn the process, the better we will be.”
For the women, expectations point to a sixth CAA title in the last seven years.
With the help of senior Kaitlin Burke, the Tigers (4-0, 1-0 CAA) have won two of the last three CAA crowns.
Burke, who qualified for the NCAA Championship last year in the 1,650-yard freestyle and placed 13th, began her senior year as the team’s highest scorer.
She won the CAA Women’s Swimmer of the Year after the 2012-13 season and has begun this season with six victories in her first six events.
Along with Burke, Towson brings back six seniors to a team that only lost three from last year. The group includes Cassie Sorna, Kendall Towe, Shelby Witham, Hillary Atkinson, Courtney Sepich and Melanie Rowland.
Rowland finished with 49 points at the CAA Championships last year, good for sixth overall.
She, along with Burke and Sepich, will serve as co-captains for this season.
The junior class is headed by Lyndsey Dickson, the CAA Diver of the Week last week. She finished runner-up in the three-meter diving competition at the CAA Championships.
Mead stressed that the freshman class will be important to the team’s success this season.
In their first home meet of the year, five freshmen won events for Towson.
On the men’s side, Towson (3-1, 0-1 CAA) brings back three seniors from last year’s sixth place CAA team.
Co-Captain Billy Pappas, along with Marck Jaeger and diver Alex Cohen will be looked at to lead the young team this season.
Cohen set multiple school records in the three-meter board his sophomore year and followed with a fifth place finish in the CAA Championships last year. He was named CAA Diver of the Week for the first two weeks of the 2013 season.
“Lyndsey and Alex are both off to a good start,” Mead said. “It will be interesting to see how the other women divers step up. Diving will play an integral part in our success this season.”
However, it is the freshmen again that have returned strong performances for the Tigers this season. Multiple freshmen have finished first in individual and relay events so far in 2013.
Freshman Nick Breschi won the 100-yard backstroke in the first home meet against the Howard Bison and the Hood College Blaze.
He followed that performance with two second place finishes in last weekend’s meet against the William & Mary Tribe and Georgetown Hoyas.
Freshman Brandon Ress won the 1000-yard event in both meets this season, finishing second behind Pappas in the 200-yard breaststroke against the Bison and the Blaze and 500-yard freestyle against the Tribe and Hoyas.
Mead said that the freshmen will be key for the men this season.
“On our men’s side, we have a lot of upperclassmen, but a lot of our strength will come from the development and production of the freshman class,” Mead said. “How they perform in higher pressure meets will give me a good idea where we are at and what we can do this year.”
Towson will host former CAA foe Old Dominion at home on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Burdick Pool.
The meet is set to start at 1 p.m.