The women’s swimming and diving team will bring a whole new look into their 2003-2004 winter campaign.An extremely strong freshman recruiting brings 11 new women to add to the depth of last year’s returning swimmers. The freshman class will make an immediate impact and greatly expand upon the talent pool for the Yellowjackets.This year’s squad will be captained by juniors Annie Podkaminer and Ann Richards two of the 14 members returning from last year’s team.The team is marked by a group of standout individual swimmers. Amongst them is an elite freshmen class consisting of Leah Burn, Karen Gromer, Michele Gruen, Kari Joyce and Kara Nash. Burn will have an impact in the butterfly. Gromer will be a huge addition in butterfly and the Individual Medley. Gruen will add talent to an already deep distance freestyle group. Joyce will make big contributions in the backstroke and freestyle. Nash will make her presence felt in the diving pool.Sophomore Patricia McHale will also add to the depth of the diving core. Another key addition to this year’s team will come in the form of Kathryn Monti a sophomore transfer from SUNY Fredonia. Monti will look to have an impact in the backstroke and freestyle. The women also have two seniors – backstroker and IM swimmer Liz Fowler and diver Rebecca Wilner – that will add depth to a strong roster.The Yellowjackets took the steps needed – with a strong recruiting class and continued hard work from the returning swimmers – to significantly improve on their standings within the UCAA and UAA.After a very encouraging preseason the women have begun with dominating wins over SUNY Brockport and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.”Their preseason has set them up for a great year,” Head Coach Eric Stefanski said. “The entire coaching staff is excited about the year ahead and opportunities we have ahead of us. It’s going to be fun to see how great we can be.”UR finished second in the UCAA and seventh in the UAA last year. The team will look to win the UCAA and finish in the top four in the UAA standings this year.In additions to the conference championship meets, the Yellowjackets will be gearing up for meets against Ithaca College and UCAA rival Union College.Fitzsimmons can be reached at

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