SMITHFIELD, R.I. – After a second-place finish in last year's NEC Championships, the Bryant University women's swimming and diving team is back and ready to challenge for the title.
"We all believe this can be a special season," head coach Katie Cameron said. "We have high goals this season that we want to accomplish and we have shown in practices that we are willing to put in the necessary work to accomplish these goals."
Amongst the experience that the Bulldogs return is senior Nicole Salzano (Elmwood Park, N.J.) and junior Jillian Rice (Trumbull, Conn.), who return after taking home medals at the 2017 NEC Championships.
Both combined on the team's 800 free relay gold medal at the meet, while Rice added an individual bronze to her resume in the 200 free.
All in all, the two combined for 35 victories and 61 Top 3 finishes throughout the campaign.
Joining them is sophomore Alaina Scifo (Ipswich, Great Britain), who is fresh off of a stellar freshman campaign. She was a part of the relay team that won gold and also recorded 11 victories and 23 Top 3 finishes on the year.
In the pool, the Bulldogs are set to welcome five newcomers when they open their season on Friday against Boston College. Alexandra Heim (Middletown, N.J.), Alexa Rivera (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Elin Svärd (Falun, Dalarna, Sweden), Meghan Veenstra (Tyngsborough, Mass.) and Heather Wong (Ramsey, N.J.) all enter the season ready to make their mark as freshman in the Black and Gold.
On the diving circuit, Bryant is set to build on a historic 2016-17 season that had two divers, Kelci Abernethy (Chandler, Ariz.) and Stephanie Jennings (Elmont, N.Y.), qualify for the NCAA Zone "A" meet, the first two to do so in the team's history.
"We have all five of our women returning from last year," diving coach Chuck LoCurto said. "I am excited to see these seven women work together to further strengthen our team and to help each other excel."
He has added two freshmen to the already deep roster, with Elizabeth Cahill (Ashland, Mass.) and Gabrielle Ritzer (Sutton, Mass.), joining the Black and Gold this season. They will be taking on their opponents at Brown University when the Bulldogs have home meets this season.
Bryant's run to the conference championships begins with the Boston College Eagles on Friday at the Chace Athletic Center Pool. Check out this year's entire slate here.