ATLANTA (Sept. 28) – Coming off of a season in which his team set 14 school records at the ACC Swimming & Diving Championship meet, Tech head coach Seth Baron knows this is only the beginning of a successful run for the Yellow Jackets. So much so, he is looking for his charges to break those newly-set school records in the 1999-2000 campaign, as the team continues its pursuit of climbing up in the ACC standings.
The Yellow Jackets, 6-7 a year ago in dual meets and seventh in the ACC Championship meet, open the year by hosting Virginia Tech Oct. 8 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center at 2 p.m.
“After finishing seventh in the ACC Championship meet for two straight years, the next step is to move up to sixth and possibly even fifth,” said head coach Seth Baron, who is entering his third year on the Flats. “To accomplish our goal of moving up in the standings, we have to continue working on swimming faster times, which means breaking all the school records we just set. The key will be how hard and far our athletes push themselves, because their work will dictate our success. We return a solid nucleus of returnees and have recruited some freshmen who have the potential to contribute right away.”
The Jackets set nine individual and five relay school records at last year’s ACC Championship meet. Eight of the nine individual marks were set by freshman, and the squad registered 192.5 points, which was the second-highest total in school history for the meet. Tech improved in the ACC Championship by 36 points from the season before and the men’s 800 free relay team placed sixth for its highest placement in a championship final.
One of the team’s top building blocks will be its first-ever ACC regular season dual-meet victory, which came in a 149-82 win at Duke last season. The Jackets ended the 6-7 overall in dual meets, and will look to push for a winning mark in the ’99-00 campaign.
“We have a very good mix of opponents this year,” said Baron. “We have added three new opponents this season in Florida State, NC State and the Air Force Academy. There are still opponents who we have swam while I have been here that we have not beaten. We are looking forward to a very competitive dual meet season. How successful our team can be depends on our athletes.”
Tech’s top return is sophomore David Laitala (Richardson, Texas), who set five individual school records and was a member of two relay records a year ago. He was the ACC Championship meet 200 individual medley consolation final winner and had the fourth best time in the league a year ago. Junior James Nozar (Charlotte, N.C.) anchors the team’s butterfly events, while sophomore Hank Longmire (Longview, Texas) set school records in the 500 freestyle and 400 individual medley a year ago.
The 1999-2000 Schedule:Oct. 8 VIRGINIA TECH 2 p.m. 16 FLORIDA STATE AND NC STATE, Noon 30 at Emory with Davidson 9 a.m.Nov. 5 CHARLESTON (at Emory Univ.) 7 p.m.Dec. 3-5 at Bulldog Invitational (Athens, Ga.) 9 a.m.Jan. 8 at U.S. Air Force Academy 1 p.m. 21 at Clemson 3 p.m. 22 at South Carolina 1 p.m. Feb. 4 at W. Kentucky 4 p.m. 5 at Louisville 2 p.m. 24-26 ACC Championships (Chapel Hill, N.C.) All DayMar. 23-25 NCAA Championship (Minneapolis, Minn.) All Day
Home meets in all CAPS