Flames to Aim High During 2010-11 Swimming and Diving Season

Senior Sarma Zemjanis enters her senior season with Flames as she earned Most Improved honors along with Hannah Mikrut at last year's team banquet.
Senior Sarma Zemjanis enters her senior season with Flames as she earned Most Improved honors along with Hannah Mikrut at last year's team banquet.

Oct. 20, 2010

The UIC men's and women's swimming and diving teams will kick off the 2010-11 campaign at Wright State this Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. 

Paul Moniak enters his ninth season as head coach of the Flames and forecasts high potential for both teams this season.

"Expectations are actually pretty high this year with six male seniors and six female seniors," said Moniak.  "We are very happy where both teams are at in this point of the season and are excited to start competing."

The men's team looks to return to its 2009 status as league champions as they welcome back a plethora of talented seniors, including the 2010 Horizon League Swimmer of the Year, Brian Anderson.  Anderson is coming off a stellar junior season where he took home gold in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyles at the conference championship meet.  The St. Charles, Ill., native, also broke the school record in the 200 free with a time of 1:37.72. 

Steve Yemm returns as the Horizon League record holder in the 100 and 200 butterfly with times of 47.65 and 1:46.94, respectively.  Over the summer, Yemm just missed the Olympic Trial qualifying time in the 100-meter fly by one-hundredth of a second as he touched the wall at 55.30.  

Andrew Schmitt looks to challenge Yemm's 200-fly record as the senior placed first in the event at the league meet with a time of 1:47.34. 

Evan Dunn scored major points for the Flames at the 2010 conference meet as he earned top-three finishes in three separate races, including a school record time in the 200 individual medley with 1:50.11. 



Juniors Will Ikeda, Luke Martinez and Zach Van Swol look to be solid contributors this season as all three hold school records in their respective events. 

Last year the men posted nine NCAA `B' cut times which is six more than any other season in school history.

"We have an incredible group of seniors and combine that with a great incoming class and other good returnees, we hope to be in the mix for the Horizon League Championship," said Moniak. 

On the women's side, a 10-year streak of placing fourth at the conference meet looks to be broken as numerous school record holders return to help bolster UIC up the Horizon League standings. 

Sophomore Emily Gniatczyk hopes to ride the momentum from her freshman season as she set the 100 and 200 free school records and was named the league's top newcomer in 2010. 

Junior Clair Martin peppers the UIC record book as she holds three individual school marks and has involvement with three relay records.  The Waukesha, Wis., native, owns individual top times in the 100 and 200 backstroke events and the 200 IM. 

Sarah Walsh comes back as a junior and holds UIC records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events while senior McKinzie Jacobs rounds out the contingent as the top-times leader in the 400 IM.

"The leadership of the veterans will certainly guide this group, but I like what I see from everyone so far this season," said Moniak.

Captains for the 2010-11 season will be seniors Brooke Sawyer and Julia Shallcross and on the men's side Anderson and Dunn. 

"I feel very confident in all four captains to lead our team to where we need to go," said Moniak.

Starting this weekend, UIC will compete five straight weeks with the home opener on Oct. 30 at 2 p.m., against Eastern Illinois.  The Flames winter training trip will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico before finishing out the regular season.  The 2011 Horizon League Championship meet will be hosted by Cleveland State beginning on Feb. 23 and continuing through Feb. 26.