Buffalo, NY -- The Kats will travel to Fort Pierce, Florida for the NJCAA National Championships with the events starting on Wednesday, March 7th.
For the women, the Kats are returning three All American athletes from last year, Allie DeBiase, Tabby Smith and Alexis Slimak.
DeBiase would finish in the top eight three times at last year's National Championship, a major accomplishment when Division I, II and III athletes all compete at the same National meet. Head Coach Phil Schneider likes DeBiase's odds of repeating her successes from last year. DeBiase will be competing in the 50m, 100m, 200m Freestyle events as well as the 400m Individual Medley.
Tabby Smith will also look to repeat her success from last season, cracking the top eight once at last year's Nationals. Smith will be competing in the 50m, 100m, 200m Freestyle events in addtion to the 50m Butterfly. Coach Schneider is confident that Tabby Smith will be able to build on her success from last year's Nationals.
Lastly, Alexis Slimak returns for the Kats, hoping to take the jump to the next level after battling through an injury to become an All American. Coach Schneider thinks a healthy Slimak has a chance to make a splash at Nationals.
"One relays haven't been this exciting in a long time." said Schneider. "We could potentially break four of five school records this year, with one already being broken at our Regional meet."
"The expectations are high for the women's team, they will be competing for a national championship in the non scholarship division."
As for the men, they will also have three returning All Americans returning to the National stage. Brad Zifra, Charlie May and Mike Oldman all return for the Kats this year after All American performances last year.
"Now with being stronger, bigger, and faster, I anticipate the boys having much better swims this year and getting more All American swims." said Schneider. "All three have a chance to crack top 8 in the nation."
"Our men's relays are much stronger and can crack the top eight, which would again make them All Americans on top of their individual success."
On top of returning swimmers, Coach Schneider expects a lot from his new swimmers.
"There are a few who can crack top 8 in their events. Jonathan Pilat, Haley Roblee, Casey Rosinski to name a few."
The NJCAA Swimming and Diving National Championships are held at Wilder Aquatic Complex in Fort Pierce, Florida on March 7th through the 10th.