Oct. 16, 1997

1997-98 Season Looks to Be Promising For Both Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving

Amidst all of the publicity surrounding this weekend's homecoming football game and the first practice for both men's and women's basketball teams, another group of student-athletes will be in action Friday and Saturday. The Purdue Boilermakers Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving teams begin their 1997-98 campaign Friday night at Lambert Pool at 6:00 p.m. and continue Saturday in the Alumni meet at 9:00 a.m. Friday, the annual Gold and Black intrasquad meet will reveal a talented group of returnees for both the men and women combined with their respective freshmen classes, which are extremely impressive.

Leading the way for the men is junior Vilmos Kovacs, a two-time All-American and the defending Big Ten champion in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Kovacs also competed in the World University Games in Sicily this summer against the best swimmers in the world. Senior Mike Ullom, the anchor of the 1997 Big Ten champion 400 medley relay team and an NCAA qualifier, also returns to bolster an already deep team. David Weis, the Ohio state champion in the 50 freestyle, leads a strong group of freshmen which includes high school All-Americans Matt Martin, Matt Garrison, and John Wakefield who figure to contribute immediately.

The women enter the 1997 season led by senior All-American honorable mention Marisa Watts and junior standouts Erika Whyte and Tracy Storrier. Watts, the 1997 team MVP, holds Purdue records in the 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle and qualified for the NCAA Championships in both the 500 and 1650 free. Whyte holds the school record in the 50 and 100 freestyle and Storrier holds the school record in the 100 breastsroke. Joining this solid nucleus of returnees is a skilled freshmen class led by Sarah Dougall and Gyongyver Lakos. Dougall was the 1995 and 1996 Iowa Swimmer-of-the-Year and the Junior National Champion in the 400 individual medley and 200 backstroke. Lakos, a native of Hungary, was a Junior European Champion and a World Championships Qualifier before coming to Purdue.

Freshmen diver Kara Hajek has been referred to by coach Jim Mountjoy as the best diver ever recruited to Purdue. She was a 1997 Iowa state champion diver and will add needed depth in the diving events. On the men's side, sophomore Brandon Gustafson, who reached the finals of platform diving and placed sixth at the Big Ten championships, hopes to improve after a successful freshmen year.

Head coaches Dan Ross and Cathy Wright-Eger know the 1997-98 season will generate plenty of excitement, and it all begins Friday night.