Women's Swimming and Diving Aims at MAAC Crown

Nov. 7, 2002

Forget splash...The Siena College Women's Swimming and Diving program has arrived in Loudonville with a title wave. And in just its fourth season of existence, the Saints are already poised to compete for the coveted conference championship.

After finishing the first season in school history at 6-5, the Saints' women's swimming team continued that momentum into its sophomore campaign with an 8-4 finish. Siena finished off their 2000-01 season with a fourth place finish in the MAAC Championships, which included several individual victories. Last season, the Green and Gold proved that effort was not a fluke with an impressive fourth place showing in the MAAC Championships following a .500 regular-season. The Saints have used a blend of veteran leadership and new talent to build the team into a competitive force in the conference.

Individual achievements highlighted last season's run, as junior Kelly Pangburn was named the MAAC's Most Outstanding Swimmer and freshman Leah Serbalik was recognized as the conference's most outstanding diver. Pangburn defended her conference championships in the 500 and 1000-yard freestyle events, while Serbalik became the first diver in school history to qualify for the NCAA regionals.

With both athletes returning, expectations are high as the Saints look to take the program to the next level in the 2002-2003 campaign. Also returning are seniors Martha Kroll and Olga Kandaurova who each figure to add to Siena's scoring. Kandaurova swims distance freestyle, while Kroll is most effective in the backstroke. Classmates Elena Mastoras and Danielle Tardif return to the springboard to add leadership to Siena's deep diving program.

Juniors Kelly Collins and Kathleen Noonan round out the Saints upperclassmen and each will be counted on to make waves in their respective events. Collins is one of the top breaststrokers on the team and Noonan will add depth at backstroke.

Siena's talented sophomore class made an immediate impact in their rookie campaign. Christi Hunter, Jeanine Giunta and Debra Tagliaferro each impacted Siena's overall score with strong individual performances. Hunter is a freestyle specialist, while Giunta chiefly swims the breaststroke and Tagliaferro the butterfly. Diver Kerry Lobombard has improved tremendously and figures to compete for a starting spot.

"We are excited about our talented freshman class and expect immediate contributions from the newcomers," Head Coach Jeff Maxwell stated.

Maxwell has reason to be excited as newcomers Kaitlin Krause and Kristine Robinson figure to be among the top swimmers in the MAAC from the get-go in their events. Krause competed against and with some of the top swimmers in the state at St. Anthony's High School in Long Island, while Robinson is already considered the team's top option at butterfly. New Haven, Conn. native Dana Golino also figures to make a splash in the backstroke and butterfly events. Shanna Allen, Cathy Hoehn, Jennifer Sheldon and Erica Strein round out the deepest and most talented class in school history.

In addition to their work in the pool, the swimmers were honored for their work out of the water as well. The team's 3.20 GPA in the 2002 spring semester was one of the highest of the college's 19 sports teams. "Our goal is to continue this tradition of academic excellence," Maxwell noted.