LANCASTER, Pa.—After winning the Centennial Conference (CC) Championship each of the previous six years, the Franklin & Marshall men's swmming team finished second to Gettysburg in the 2010-11 season. Led by seven medalists from that squad, the Diplomats will look to reclaim the throne in the 2011-12 campaign.
The Diplomats will also introduce a new coach this season. Ben Delia, a 2005 graduate of Hamilton College, takes the reins after former coach Bob Rueppel took a head coaching position at Middlebury College.
"My goals are to maintain the rich tradition of F&M swimming, and challenge for titles," says Delia. "We want to send not just individuals, but a team to the NCAA Championships, and be top 15 in the country in relay events," he said. "This team is hungry to reclaim the championship, and feels there is unfinished business to take care of."
Delia comes to F&M by way of Randolph-Macon, where he spent the last three seasons as head coach.
The Diplomats feature an outstanding group of returnees led by junior Jake Reingold and senior David Fell. Both won multiple medals at the 2011 CC Championships, including one gold medal each, and both performers received CC nods for Outstanding Performer during the season.
Reingold captured the gold medal in the 500-yard freestyle at the CC Championships, and silver medals in the 200-yard freestyle, 800-yard freestyle, and 1,650-yard freestyle. Reingold also was named Outstanding Performer for the week ending Jan. 23.
Fell touched first to win gold in the 200-yard individual medley at the CC Championships, added silver medals in the 800-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke, and took home bronze medals for his performance in the 100-yard backstroke and 400-yard freestyle relay. Fell was also named Outstanding Performer for the week ending Dec. 5.
In addition to Reingold and Fell, five other Diplomats medaled at the CC Championships. David Apple took bronze in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Junior Tommy Bergstrom won silver in the 800-yard freestyle relay, and bronze in both the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. Junior Zach Wilt captured bronze medals in the 200-yard freestyle relay, 100-yard butterfly, and 400-yard freestyle relay. Sophomore Patrick Musselman took home a pair of bronze medals in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay, while sophomore Tim Landon snagged a gold medal by winning the 400-yard individual medley.
The incoming freshmen include William Cappuccio, Marcus Lee, Richard Denton, Jacob Gordin, Steven Latka, and Dennis Chen, whom Delia feels will earn valuable points for the Diplomats in freestyle events.
F&M begins its season on Saturday when it hosts Johns Hopkins. The meet begins at 11 a.m.