A Cool Dozen
Back on the pool deck for 12th season, head coach Paul E. Phillips has seen his teams rewrite the school record books during his tenure while also excelling in the classroom. An outstanding swimmer in his own right, Phillips is the only swimmer to earn All-State honors from North Providence High, where he was a two-year captain and 1991 Rhode Island swimmer of the year nominee. On the collegiate level, Phillips was a school-record holder and team captain at Brandeis University, where he earned a B.A. in philosophy in 1995.
Hittin The Books
Speaking of GPA, both the men's and women's programs ranked in the top ten in the country in overall team GPA. Clark is one of only three teams in the country to have both their men's and women's teams appear in the top ten joining Pomona-Pitzer and Colorado College. The Cougar men ranked third in the nation with a spring 2014 semester GPA of 3.51, while the women were sixth with a 3.62.
It's Happened Before
The academic honors are not unfamiliar to the Clark swimming and diving program. For the men, it marks the third time in the last four years that they have appeared in the top ten, including earning the top spot in the Fall of 2012. The women meanwhile, were tops in the country in the Spring of 2011.
Guess Who Is Back
Melissa Orzechowski (Windsor, Conn.) had a stellar first season in the pool for the Cougars, finishing fifth in the 1,650-yard freestyle at the NEWMAC Championships, posting a time of 17:33.41 – a time that missed out on the school record by a little more than a second but met the NCAA "B" Cut Qualifying time. She also set two individual school records – in the 500-yard and 1,000-yard freestyles – and was part of the school record setting 800-yard freestyle relay team.
After an injury-plagued junior campaign, diver Breanna Tucker (Temecula, Calif.) returns for senior campaign. She has two of the top ten scores on the school's record board on the 1-meter board (six attempts) as well as two on the 3-meter board (six attempts).
Leaders Of The Pack
Phillips has named three captains for the 2014-15 season - Liz Barker (Augusta, Maine), Lydia Berry (Kennebunk, Maine) and Natalie Omary (New York, N.Y.) – one third of the Class of 2015. All three are school record holders – Barker in the 50-yard backstroke, Omary in the 200-yard butterfly and Berry as a member of the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Interestingly enough, it proves to be one of those years where the schedule quirks come out. The Cougars actually only have three home meets beginning with their season opener against Gordon College on October 25. Their next home meets won't happen again until late January when they host Coast Guard (January 24) and Brandeis University (January 31) in consecutive Saturdays.
Despite having just three home meets, the Cougars will be in Worcester for several other events. From Friday, December 5 – Sunday, December 7 Clark will take part in the Gompei Invitational hosted by WPI. Then, on Friday, January 16 – Saturday, January 17, Holy Cross hosts the Worcester City Championships. Finally, from Thursday, February 19 – Sunday, February 22, WPI will host the New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships.
Individuals interested in staying on top of all things Clark University Swimming and Diving should follow the program on twitter at the handle, @ClarkUSwimDive.