ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure University men's and women's swimming and diving teams are set to begin the 2018-19 season at the Justin Jennings Memorial Invite hosted by Colgate Oct. 5-6.
It's the beginning of a new era for both the men's and women's swimming and diving programs as this year marks the first season the two programs will be combined under the guidance of one coaching staff. Skip Nitardy takes the reigns of the programs in 2018-19, entering his first season as head coach.
"Both the teams are doing great," Nitardy said. "Practices are going good and the kids are working hard and having fun. We have a great group of freshmen on both sides and the returners are doing a good job being leaders for the newcomers. We have some swimmers that are injured, but in a couple weeks we hope to get them back in the water."
Stephanie Fleming returns for a sixth season as diving coach and second since returning to St. Bonaventure. She will be leading a group of divers that has increased depth over past seasons.
"This year is totally different," Fleming said. "Last year we had five girls and one guy and now we have four girls and five guys; the team dynamic and energy has been good. The newcomers are all getting along and everyone has made great strides so far in the first month."
The women's squad features five seniors - Katherine Craig, Frances Erney, Adele Ferris, Brittany Hart and Rachel Taylor bring a wealth of experience for the Bonnies. All five of the Bonnies' seniors competed at last year's Atlantic 10 Championships. Hart, the lone senior diver, placed seventh in the 3-meter dive at A-10 Championships.
Also returning from last year's roster is Katrina Wardner. The sophomore had a successful freshman campaign, collecting a gold medal as a member of the 400-medley relay team, a fifth place finish in the 400-IM as well as registering program records in the 200-freestyle relay, 400-freestyle relay, 200-medley relay and the 400-medley relay at the Atlantic 10 Championships.
The women's program welcomes eight newcomers this season: Marissa Carrig (Orchard Park, N.Y.), Kelsey Cordery (Berkley, Mass.), Emerson Graham (Waxhaw, N.C.), Ivana Janssen (Moscow, Russia), Rachel Kimmel (Fort Loudon, Pa.), Zanre Oberholzer (Windhoek, Namibia), Kamryn Paige (Niskayuna, N.Y.) and Claire Schaef (West Richland, Wash.).
On the men's side, three seniors highlight the men's swimming and diving roster. Edward Donovan, Robert Marshall and John Pietrucha return for the Bonnies as senior leaders. Donovan found success at last year's A-10 Championships with a sixth place finish in the 200-butterfly while Marshall and Pietrucha both swam in consolation finals last season at the A-10 meet.
Sophomore Tjaard Krusch returns after being named the Most Outstanding Rookie Performer from last year's A-10 Championships when he earned two silver medals and one bronze medal. Krusch also won five individual events last season.
The Bonnies men's swimming and diving team welcomes 10 newcomers to this year's roster including six swimmers and four divers: Hylton Collinson (Johannesburg, South Africa), George Kalletta (Manorville, N.Y.), William Lowe (Adams, N.Y.), Chauncey Nicholas (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.), Jake Ruffalo (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) and Alec Thomas (Erie, Pa.) come in as swimmers for the Bonnies. The new divers include Matthew Bielobradek (North Riverside, Ill.), Johnathan Ek (Hopwood, Pa.), Nathan Howze (St. Augustine, Fla.) and Jamoni Wise (Riverside, Ill.).
"It's a long season," Nitardy added. "The teams and I are excited to get in the pool and start competing."
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