The 2011-12 season will bring about a return to normalcy for the Kenyon College women's swimming and diving team. After undergoing the program's first coaching change since its inception in 1975-76, the Ladies successfully navigated the transition period last season and now can continue building on Kenyon's tradition of swimming excellence.
In his first year pacing the deck, head coach Jessen Book guided the Ladies to a fourth-place finish at the 2011 NCAA Division III Championship in Knoxville, Tennessee. Entering the new campaign, Book and the Ladies have the pieces in place to again factor prominently at the national meet.
Kenyon has a senior class on which it can lean for leadership and steady performance. Alisa Vereshchagin is a 13-time All-American and a former national champion in the 200-yard breaststroke (2009). Kellyn Caldwell and Nikki Kett have competed at the NCAA Championships in each of their first three seasons, and both have eight All-America certificates to show for their efforts. Dominique Chevalier is coming off of her most successful performance on the national stage - a fourth-place showing in the 1,650-yard freestyle last season. And Bettina Hahn-Lawson, Meghan Quinn, and Kelly Wahl return to deepen the class of 2012.
The Ladies will also rely heavily on their talented junior class. Anna Connolly's career is off to a prolific start with the maximum 14 All-America awards to this point. Hannah Saiz has emerged as a force in butterfly and freestyle events, and has already rewritten the Kenyon record in the 200 fly several times. Kiersten Bell was among the top eight in the nation last year in the 1,650 free and Kate Haller has been a part of some of the Ladies' top medley relay performances the past two seasons.
Kelsey Chapman and Kelsey McMurtry are the only returning sophomores to have competed at the Division III Championship last season, but some of their classmates are eying big improvement in 2011-12. Syd Lindblom has developed into one of Kenyon's top distance swimmers and Rachel Flinn could be a big factor in the backstroke events before the year is out.
Mix in a promising incoming freshman class and the Ladies will have plenty of names in the fold when they attempt to claim title number 24 at the 2012 Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana.