This should be the strongest and deepest team in the history of the Rutgers men's swimming and diving program. The team graduated two seniors and will red shirt multi-school record holder and conference champion Sean Smith, however, they will be ably replaced by four freshman swimmers and the return of school record holder Bill Dennis, who redshirted last year. Rutgers will also have the addition of talented transfer Jared Bench in the diving events. Team captains Nathan Ilnicki and Bob Binz will provide strong, experienced leadership by filling the role of team captains for the second consecutive year. They will have the support and assistance of fellow seniors Drew Burton, Matt Campbell, Kevin Hart and Tim Whelan.
Sprint Freestyle: Senior Matt Campbell returns as the fastest swimmer in the history of the Big East Conference by virtue of his record setting 50 freestyle performance of 19.7 in 2003. Matt will lead a strong sprint core that includes sophomore brother Ryan, junior Ivan Morse and freshman Zac Coppa. The progress of freshman Rob Horton and sophomores Levan Berdize and Derek Kwok will be a key to the Scarlet Knights fortunes in this area.
Middle Distance Freestyle: Morse is the fastest middle distance swimmer that Rutgers has ever had. He set the school record at 200 yards last season and will be supported by senior Bob Binz, junior Josh Van Norman and the freshman duo of Ned Keenan and Bobby Daplyn.
Distance Freestyle: The distance events will again be one of Rutgers’ strengths. Junior Joe Mammano, Keenan and sophomores Jamie Miller, Jonathan Hupp and Chris Farrell should be the mainstays in these events. Mammano and Hupp have placed in the finals of the Big East Championships in the past and look to pull their teammates along with them this year.
Backstroke: Juniors Jon Stinson, Aaron Inkrott and Van Norman will lead an excellent backstroke contingent. Seniors Kevin Hart and Tim Whelan will look to contribute at the conference championships, as well.
Breastroke: This group should easily be the best in school history. Nathan Ilnicki, the school record-holder in the 100 yard breaststroke, joins junior Bill Dennis, who holds the 200 yard record, sophomore Eric Jennings, who holds the long course 100 meter record and Hupp, the 200 meter record holder. They will be spelled from time to time by sophomore Jamie Miller, and are expected to lower all the school records and vie for conference honors.
Butterfly: Rutgers is deep in the sprint butterfly events. Ryan Campbell and Inkrott join sophomore Tyler Clark and senior Drew Burton to make up a formidable group. However, the fastest of all might be Morse, who set the school record in the long pool this summer at 100 meters.
Individual Medley: Perhaps Rutgers’ strongest events will be those of the individual medley. Mammano and Hupp had a tremendous summer in the 400 IM. They will be joined in the long IM by senior Kevin Hart and sophomore Jamie Miller, who is coming off a great freshman year. At 200 yards Ilnicki, Stinson, Dennis Clark and Jennings make-up an excellent contingent.
Diving: The diving events will be much stronger this year. Jared Bench, a
transfer from NC State, may prove to be the best diver in school history.
Oliver Giron made enormous improvements last year to score at the conference
championships. They will be joined by promising freshman Rob Carlisle.