Greensboro, N.C. — Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) swimming coaches picked Guilford College fifth in the leagueâ€™s preseason poll released Friday. Defending ODAC champ Washington and Lee University received 60 points to outdistance Randolph-Macon, the 2007 league champion, in the eight-team poll. The Generals have won 18 of the league’s 19 women’s swimming titles.
Quakers’ head coach Steve Kaczmarek returns seven letter winners from last yearâ€™s squad that set seven school records, won an all-time high eight meets and posted its best finish at the ODAC (5th) and Atlantic States (6th) Championships. Guilford returns its top two scorers from last season in junior captains Justine Merritt (McAllen, Texas/McAllen) and Sara Stone (Greenville, S.C./Brunswick). The pair holds seven school records between the two of them and has been part of two standard-setting relays. Merritt, a three-stroke specialist, is a two-time ODAC Swimmer of the Week. Stone swims the butterfly and medley. She recorded Guilford’s all-time best showing at the 2008 ODAC/Atlantic States Championships. Stone took third in the 200-yard fly in a school-record 2:21.53. Sophomore Filka Shalamanova (Velingrad, Bulgaria/Vasil Levski) had some of the Quakers’ best breaststroke times last year. Classmate Kelsey Albert (Maineville, Ohio/Kings) was the team’s top distance freestyler in 2007-08.
Guilford opens the year Oct 25 at Washington and Lee University with the first ODAC Invitational. the Quakers have six home meets in the school’s pool that was recently equipped with a state-of-the-art- scoreboard and timing system. League play begins Nov. 8 at Bridgewater College, followed by the home opener Nov. 12 versus nonleague-rival Salem College.
This yearâ€™s ODAC Championship is slated for February 20-22 at the Dedmon Center on the campus of Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
2008 ODAC Preseason Swimming Coaches’ Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Washington and Lee 60
2. Randolph-Macon 54
3. Sweet Briar 50
4. Randolph 30
5. Guilford 29
6. Bridgewater 28
7. Hollins 21
7. Emory & Henry 16