TOWSON, Md. – When the Landmark Conference began competition six years ago, the University of Scranton women's swimming & diving team jumped on top early and won the first three championships. Susquehanna University responded with the next three titles, but Scranton has remained in the hunt.
The Landmark coaches look to have placed most of the weight on last year's results as this year's preseason poll replicates the 2013 standings. Susquehanna is the unanimous pick with seven first place votes for 70 points as coaches cannot vote for themselves. Scranton received the final first place vote and 52 points to finish second in the poll while Catholic is ranked third with 39 points. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy rounds out the top half of the poll in fourth with 29 points.
The Crusaders, under the direction of head coach Jerry Foley, will undoubtedly miss Devin Lessard, the program's first-ever All-American. Susquehanna returns the reigning Rookie of the Year in Kelsey Lessard as well as many other 2013 All-Conference swimmers. Foley also welcomes eight freshmen to the squad this year.
Scranton returns three Landmark champions in Alexis Walsh, Paige Agnello and Colleen Barry, along with versatile senior Sara Franciscovich in its quest to dethrone three-time defending champion Susquehanna. Kaitlyn Maloney is expected to be a key performer in the distance events, after finishing runner-up in the 400 individual medley at last year's Landmark championships.
Catholic's First Team All-Landmark performers Julia Wisler and Joanna Ladas return this season along with Second Team award winners Nicole DiGiacinto, Chelsea Doyle, Laura Keehn and Michelle Navarro.
The Mariners return 1-meter diving champion Elizabeth Jackson along with 200-yard backstroke runner-up Jacqueline White. Senior Alexandra Biehn is expected to provide valuable leadership as a distance swimmer with experience in the Landmark finals.
Marywood University was picked fifth in the poll with 27 points while Juniata College was picked sixth with 17 points. Drew University earned 12 points for seventh place while Goucher College wrapped up with 10 points for the eighth spot.
The 2013-14 season kicks off this weekend with three teams in action. All seven conference teams will compete at the Landmark Championships Feb. 7-9 at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa.
|2013 Landmark Women's Swimming Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Institution (First Place)||Points|