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Keene State Men Set for NEISDA Championship

KEENE, N.H., 02/20/08 - Now it’s the men’s turn.

After watching the Keene State women capture the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association (NEISDA) championships last weekend, the Owl men will now get their chance to bring a second swim title back to Keene.

Keene State will compete in the three-day 14-team NEISDA men’s meet this weekend at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I.

“We’re going to be underdogs, but the guys have a shot,” said KSC swim coach Jack Fabian. “They just have to do what the women did, swim like champions.”

Easier said then done for the Owls, who will face a stiff challenge from Bryant and an experienced Bentley College team, which has won the last three NEISDA titles.

A small KSC squad still managed to finish second to the Falcons (658-354.5) at last year’s meet.

“I knew I had to get more swimmers,” said Fabian. “You can’t win a championship meet with seven competitors.”

Fabian hit the recruiting pool, restocking his team with 15 freshmen. The young Owls took to the college water in fine fashion, posting a perfect 8-0 dual meet record, including a 180-118 win over Bentley. “You couldn’t ask more out of a group of young kids,” said Fabian. “They push each other and have made the team really fast in a short amount of time.”

Fabian isn’t concerned about the Owls not be championship-tested. Competing against some of the top teams in the Northeast at the ECAC Division III championships earlier this season, Keene State set 13 school records and finished fourth in the standings with 340 points.

The Owls will be led by several of those record-breakers, including sophomores Cody Larrimore (Trappe, Md.) and Mike Fedele (Sandwich, Mass.) and first-years Mike Gemane (Barrington, R.I.), Dan Theelen (Southbury, Conn.), and Karl Balinski (Waterford, Conn.). KSC’s top diver freshman Tim Thornton (Fairfield, Conn.) also put his name in the record book, setting a school mark in the three-meter event in his first college meet. Larrimore is the defending New England champion in the 50 and 100 free, and 100 I.M., and Fedele won the 200 I.M. last year.

Fabian feels his upstart Owls will rise to the occasion this weekend. “These young guys have no fear,” Fabian said. “They feel like they should go crazy fast at this meet, and I’m not going to be the one to tell them that they can’t.”

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