LANCASTER, Pa.—Last season, the Franklin & Marshall women's swimming team looked to defend their 2010 Centennial Conference (CC) title. Unfortunately, the Diplomats finished second to Gettysburg in the 2011 championship meet. Led by six CC medalists from that squad, the Diplomats will look to return to the top in 2012.
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."
Delia comes to F&M by way of Randolph-Macon, where he spent the last three seasons as head coach.
Senior Olivia Hill returns looking to top her 2010-11 season, in which she recorded an NCAA "B" time of 17:37.26 in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the 2011 CC Championships at Gettysburg, also setting a pool record in the process. Hill tallied bronze medals in the 500-yard freestyle and 800-yard freestyle relay. She also received Outstanding Performer honors for the week ending Dec. 5, and for the week ending Jan. 30.
Junior Krista Hollingsworth also received two weekly honors, for the week ending Jan. 23, and for the week ending Feb. 6. Hollingsworth notched two bronze medals in the 200-yard freestyle relay, and the 200-yard backstroke at the CC Championships.
Four other Diplomats also medaled at the CC Championships. Senior Garland Bartlett won silver in the 1,650-yard freestyle and bronze in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Rebecca Daen captured bronze in the 200-yard freestyle relay, while Katherine DeCrosta and Ana Franzluebbers both took home two bronze medals for the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Hollingsworth & Franzluebbers lead a junior class that also features Jackie Behr, Stephanie Brooks, Heather Brown, Kasey Christiansen, Rebecca Citti, Christen Dinger, Courtney Gregor, and Lili Shainis.
Joining the team this year are Kendra Poirier, Mary Ann Robison, Christina Werner, and Katie Grant. Among the newcomers, Delia feels Grant will be strong in distance events, and Werner in the breaststroke and individual medley. "I feel both can place high at the CC meet," he says.
F&M begins its season on Saturday when it hosts Johns Hopkins. The meet begins at 11 a.m.