SEASON PREVIEW: Panthers Swim To Open 2018-19 Season At Penn State-Altoona Saturday

Photo by Wade Aiken
Photo by Wade Aiken

BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's and women's swim teams are set to begin their 2018-19 seasons Saturday at Penn State-Altoona.

This event kicks off the five-month season that features eight different meets and the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championships on Feb. 13-16.

Pitt-Bradford's first home action of the season will be Friday, Nov. 2, as Alfred comes to the Paul C. Duke III Aquatic Center. The Panthers were originally set to open their season Oct. 13 hosting the Panther Relays but the meet was canceled.

The Panthers are guided by reigning AMCC Men's Coach of the Year Doug Alban, who is entering his third year leading the Pitt-Bradford swim programs.

"Practice is going well so far," Alban said. "The freshmen seem to be taking to the training pretty well, which is good to see. It's a whole new training pattern for them, but they've been doing really well and our returners are showing them the way."

The Panthers' men's team welcomes back three returners from last season's AMCC Runner-Up squad: senior Devyn Condon, and juniors Noah Frederick and Devin Kerr.

"Deyvn is our senior returner," Alban said. "He's going to be looking at breaking the 200-butterfly school record this year. He's gone through all this, so it's great having him as an experienced leader.

"And Noah will be looking to break one minute in the 100-breaststroke for the first time, and maybe making a run at the breaststroke school records," Alban continued. "Devin returns as one of the best teammates you could ask for. He brings a strong attitude every day, motivating each of his teammates to push harder through every set."

At last season's AMCC Championships, Condon finished third in the AMCC in the 200-butterfly (2:04.13).

Frederick is also part of a pair of school-record holding relays: 200-medley relay (1:36.50) and 400-medley relay (3:31.75).

Kerr swam in the 200-freestyle and 200-medley relays at the conference meet last season, while finishing as a 'B' finalist in the 100-backstroke.

For the women's team, junior Kayla Broad is the team's returner.

"It's great having Kayla back," Alban said. "It's going to be a tough year for her, as she's in the bulk of her nursing program right now, so we have to be smart about her training. But, we might move her to more butterfly events this year and see how that goes."

A season ago, Broad helped the 800-freestyle relay team to a fourth-place finish (9:28.77) and came in sixth at the 100-freestyle (58.44) at the conference championships.

New to the Panthers' men's team this season are three freshmen: Nathan Kim (Washington, D.C.), Caleb Hansen (Vandergrift, Pa.) and Chris Troll (Somerset, Pa.).

"Chris has been doing well," Alban said. "He's very strong and he's putting a lot of that strength into his swimming. Caleb can do anything in the pool. He's very talented, and he's been fine-tuning a lot of his technique."

Joining the women's program is Alexia Garcia (Teaneck, N.J.).

"We have Alexia, who is a very good breaststroker," Alban said of his newcomer. "She will be looking to break the records in the breaststroke this year."

Alban overall has the same goals and expectations for this season but will be continuing to evolve the training methods.

"The goal is always the same: keep getting faster," He explained. "We're doing a little bit of new stuff with our training this year, getting more speed work in the pool and becoming stronger in the water. We're also changing around our dryland program, lifting for a little bit more strength in the weight room. I think we just need to be a little bit stronger in the water now."

Saturday's meet at Penn State-Altoona is set for a 1 p.m. start.