The Central Connecticut State University swimming and diving team was unanimously selected to win the Northeast Conference for a third straight year in the 2009 version of the conference coaches' poll, released on Thursday. The Blue Devils will begin their quest for three straight league titles on Saturday October 17 when they compete at Northeastern with the host Huskies and Maine.
"The pre-season poll is a reflection on what we have accomplished in the recent past and now the pressure is on us to maintain that position," head coach Bill Ball said. "I believe we have the talent and determination to continue to challenge for the conference championship this season."
Wagner, last season's NEC Runner-Up was selected second in the poll, while St. Francis (PA) and Bryant were placed in the third and forth positions. Sacred Heart and Mount St. Mary's came in at fifth and sixth, respectively, and St. Francis (NY) rounded out the seven team poll.
Sophomores Alex Czaplicki and Mallory Miller led the CCSU team to its second straight NEC Championship a year ago and hope to win the title again in the 2009-10 season. Czaplicki was the Rookie of the Meet last season, garnering gold medalist honors in the 200 IM, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke. Miller received Diver of the Meet honors a year ago after winning both the one-meter and three-meter events.
Four other All-NEC performers from last year's championship squad will return to the pool in 20009. Junior Alyssa Carlucci and sophomore Kristen Malski won the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke, respectively, to earn First Team All-NEC accolades. Senior Kandra Kane and sophomore Sam Smolicz were selected as Second Team All-NEC honorees. Kane was a silver medalist in the 500 freestyle, while Smolicz was second in both diving events.
Reigning NEC Coach and Diving Coach of the Year, Ball and Dave Maliar are now gearing the Blue Devils up for the upcoming season. CCSU will host the Annual Alumni Pentathlon on Saturday October 3 at Jack Suydam Natatorium.